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Local families speak out to encourage people to come forward to adopt children who wait the longest.

As National Adoption week kicks off (12th- 18th October), local adoption agency and charity, Families for Children, is turning its attention to finding loving, adoptive families for those children who wait the longest.

Last month saw the launch of the National Adoption Campaign, #YouCanAdopt, which aims to bust some of the myths around those who are eligible to adopt. Families for Children are going one step beyond that to highlight the need for adopters to consider adopting children who wait the longest for families. This includes sibling groups, children over 5 years old, children with complex needs, Black and Asian children and children of mixed ethnicity (BAME); with a commitment from the charity to help support them when and if their help is needed.

Latest figures out this month show that 27% of children waiting for families are over 5 years old, 5% have complex needs and over 26% are Black and Asian and children of mixed ethnicity. BAME children can wait nearly two years to find families.

Charity Patron and Celebrity Chef, Michael Caines MBE, himself an adoptee of a transracial adoption placement, supports the work of the charity and says of his own adoption, “I grew up with a sense of knowing I was different but was adopted into an amazing family and never wanted for any love or felt that I was somehow missing out on something.”

Michael was adopted (the youngest of his adopted family’s six children) when he was 6 weeks old and his adoption story was always transparent.

Local families are supporting the charity’s campaign and speaking out about their own experience of adopting children who wait the longest.

Liza has adopted twice through Families for Children. Her first daughter was mixed heritage and her second dual heritage. Liza says, “Initially I was open to adopting a child of any ethnicity as my family members are quite unique (in terms of ethnicities) and I am fortunate to have a diverse social network: My eldest daughter was adopted aged 2.5yrs, she is mixed heritage. She was completely the right match for me, and her ethnicity was something that I felt that I could help her with, and most importantly, she wouldn’t be isolated and would be one of many diverse people. With my second daughter, I actively sought a child who was dual/mixed heritage as I felt this would be a better match for my eldest and me.

“I think children who are BAME, do wait longer for adopters, largely as there are more white adopters than any other ethnicity, plus some white couples/individuals want a child who’ll ‘blend’ with them, or the adopter/s feel they can’t meet the needs of a BAME child in terms of their identity and cultural needs . And while I think it’s right to be cautious, white people can be supported to be actively anti-racist and adopt BAME children.”

Local mum Joy, has adopted 4 children, all with complex needs, through the charity and says,
“Through no fault of their own these children wait far too long to be adopted. People get hooked up on their additional needs but when you tuck them up at night and all they want is a good night kiss you realise that actually EVERY child deserves that. Making a positive change to their lives only changes yours for the positive.”

Families for Children has spent a lot of time dispelling the usual myths and barriers that surround adoption. This new challenge hopes to highlight the plight of these children as well as recruit adopters specifically for them.

Same sex couple Joe and Reece adopted a group of 3 siblings and say, “When we met our social worker and we heard about the agency, they were so welcoming that’s what made it feel amazing. We felt like any other couple considering adoption, there were no barriers to us adopting or negativity towards us being a same sex couple applying – it felt amazing.

“We do know as we get older there will be different challenges that will come up and certain situations, especially adopting a sibling group, but the main thing is we have the support from our adoption agency, our families and friends and other adoptive families. You know you’re not alone.”

Families for Children’s work is centred on supporting those families they bring together. They understand the difficulties that can arise – maybe not immediately and maybe not until children are in their teens or early adulthood – but when, and if they do, Families for Children’s Right Support, Right Time services will provide support and guidance. They can advise, offer therapy and counselling, or simply be at the end of the phone to ensure successful outcomes for children and their families.

The charity is particularly keen to hear from people who would consider adopting children who wait the longest. Families for Children is urging people to take a look at the services they provide and how they can prepare and support you if you choose to adopt.

Please call today on 01364 645480. www.familiesforchildren.org.uk