Our names are Andy and Kate Thomson, our story starts 11 years ago when a few months before we were due to get married we were told that having children may not be possible without the help of fertility treatment. We had both always wanted a large family and so this news was devastating. We immediately began having treatment after getting married in 2002, but with no success after 7 years we decided that adoption was the way forward in order for us to have a family. We went through the adoption process and in September 2009 we were asked to consider an 18 month old little girl called Poppy, we knew instantly that this beautiful little girl was our daughter. We met our Poppy on poppy day november 2009 and she came home for good a week later. We were ecstatic, we were no longer just Andy and Kate, we were the Thomson family. This bright, clever, beautiful girl had come into our lives and completed us as individuals and as a family, we were smitten. Through the middle months of 2010 we began to be concerned for Poppys walking, she was toddling but seemed more unsteady on her feet than others of her age. It was at this time that Poppys adoption became official. A month later to our surprise we discovered that Kate was pregnant, against all odds she had conceived naturally. Poppys walking continued to deteriorate and so after many trips to the doctors, physio, podiatrist and then the hospital, Poppy had an MRI scan in early december. On new years eve 2010 we were given the terrible news that Poppy had a rare form of leukodystrophy, a degenerative brain disorder that would rob her of all of her physical abilities. We were told to expect that Poppy would not reach her 4th birthday, and that the road ahead was going to be tough. We were obviously devastated, and it was true that the road ahead was indeed very tough. We decided that Poppy was too young to understand that she was going to die and that we would keep everything as normal as possible for her. No-one was to cry in front of her, all she would know would be smiles, fun, and playing as much as we could. We also decided that Poppy would not be spending time in hospital and that we would nurse her ourselves at home. Poppy first lost the ability to walk, then over the next few months struggled more and more with using her hands, her speech worsened. Her ability to eat and drink disappeared overnight and we fed her for several months through a feeding tube into her tummy. Poppy suffered from what the doctors described as neurological pain, she would scream endlessly, and often look terrified but was unable to tell us what was wrong. During this year our youngest daughter Rosie arrived, 7 weeks early. We both split ourselves between spending time with Poppy at home, and with Rosie who was in SCBU, for a month we barely saw each other, we were like passing ships in the night. By september things were unbearable, Poppy needed so many medicines at all hours of the day and night, was distressed, frustrated, in pain and we were in a very dark and lonely place. Helen and douglas house was to be our saving grace. We spent an initial week there in the september, where they managed Poppys symptoms and we were able to go home and continue nursing her ourselves for several weeks. But by the beginnning of november it was clear that we would need more support in order to care for Poppy. We returned to Helen house and that was where we stayed. We never left Poppys side even for a minute through the next 7 weeks. She would always have one of us in the room with her. The doctors and nurses worked tirelessly to make sure Poppy was pain free and that the whole family was looked after. These fantastic people took on a family who didnt trust anyone to look after their daughter, and instead of taking over, gently provided the support we really needed. This support obviously included medical help but went so much deeper than that, we were enabled to become mummy and daddy again, to spend time as a family, to talk to people who really understood what we were about and most importantly they made our Poppy comfortable. On 18th december 2011 Poppy passed away peacefully in our arms, as we sang her favourite song to her, her baby sister playing nearby in her cot. Our world has been turned upside down again, we have been through incredibly dark hours and have more dark hours ahead im sure. We dont think anyone can truly 'get over' losing a child, but someday we hope to be able to remember the good times, the laughter, the joy, the love that Poppy brought into our lives.