School librarian Ali Sanders and husband Michael, from Staffordshire, had given up on having their own children.
The couple had been told that they were infertile in the infancy of their marriage, with issues on both sides.
Abandoning all the processes to get pregnant, the two threw all their efforts into the adoption procedure and that came to pass in 2014.
They were approved to adopt lovely eight-month-old identical twin boys who, apparently looked like Michael, chunky and squidgy, with huge brown eyes.
The couple spent the getting to know ‘their’ babies, visiting them at the foster home where they had been placed, decorating their nursery and preparing for the big ‘take-home day’.
They were, in the true sense of the term, their bundle of joy.
Despite the excitement, Sanders felt it was not real, it was just a play while almost immediately, Michael bonded with the boys.
Sanders recalled the pretension to be a mother and even hoped the twins would not wake up, she felt detached from the boys.
A day after they brought the twins home, Michael begged her to go to the doctor knowing they could have been something wrong with her.
She had felt ‘out of sorts’ for weeks.
Then, a “miracle” happened, the Doctor asked for a urine sample, left the room and returned with the news.
Sanders was pregnant.
From news of infertility, adopting twins and suddenly pregnant, Sanders could have not been more confused.
Stunned and silent, the couple drove home.
A doubting Sanders sent her husband out to buy another pregnancy test , and yes, she was indeed pregnant.
By end of the day, the adoption process had been stopped, no more twins in the house, Sanders had no reason to adopt, she was pregnant.
The babies went back to their foster parents that very evening.
Sanders says she felt heartbroken and overcome by emotion when the twins were taken from her.
She said she felt guilty and that the guilt will never go.
Her move was met with mixed feelings.
Others asked how a woman on the verge of adopting will have a change of heart. Others thought it was evil, others sympathised.
Sanders now thinks the failure to bond with the twins was all because of the pregnancy.
“I think it was a physical thing. The way I couldn’t connect with the twins was completely out of character. I would always been really maternal and desperately wanted those babies.”
The twins had been born prematurely, and while there were no major health issues, there were developmental delays and they would need more care than most babies of their age.
It emerged that during her very first meeting with the babies, at the foster carer’s house, Ali was suffering morning sickness.
“I was feeling so sick. All I wanted to do was lie down,” she said.
She says when the day came to part with the twins, there was weeping in the room as the social workers took them.
Her baby, named Jacob, came in October 2015, after bouts of depression and other issues.
She is comforted by the fact the twins found a forever home, and she remains convinced she made the only decision possible.
But now, she says, every time she sees twins of that age, she wonders if they could be “her twins”.
Her biggest wish is that one day the boys will come knocking on her door. She has drafted a letter which the adoption agency says can be put on their file. What does it say?
“That it wasn’t their fault, that they did nothing wrong, and that I’m sorry we let them down.”