Regional Adoption Agency Adopt South West and independent adoption charity Families for Children, join the coalition of National, Regional and Voluntary adoption agencies across the country, supported by the Department for Education (DfE), to launch a nationwide recruitment campaign this week to raise awareness of adoption.
In the UK, there are almost 3,000 children that are in need of an adoptive family and the number of adoptions in England has fallen by a third in four years.
In response, the new #YouCanAdopt campaign will bust myths around who is eligible to adopt and explore what the adoption process involves. It will also highlight, especially during the COVID pandemic, there are still children out there who are looking for their new family.
Earlier this year, a new report revealed that 39 per cent of adults in the South West have considered adoption or would consider adoption in the future.
But, despite this, 71 per cent of adults do not feel they know much about the adoption process. This lack of knowledge may contribute to too many people not taking the important first step.
With 43 per cent of people in the South West admitting they do not know if they are eligible to adopt, and 32 per cent thinking they wouldn’t be able to, the new campaign aims to increase the number of people taking the first steps towards adopting a child.
Some of the biggest misconceptions around eligibility are that single people, older people, and those who are LGBTQ+ are not allowed to adopt, which is not the case.
The new data revealed that participants felt the following groups would be either ineligible to adopt or were unsure if they were eligible to adopt; over the age of 50 years old 61 per cent, single 42 per cent and LGBTQ+ 26 per cent.
The #YouCanAdopt campaign also aims to target potential parents from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, as these children traditionally wait longer to be matched with a new adoptive family.
The campaign aims to encourage potential adoptive parents to also consider adopting older children, sibling groups and those with complex health needs or a disability.
To help shine a light on the diverse range of families who have and can adopt, a new film has been released featuring singer Sinitta and TV vocal coaches Carrie and David Grant alongside other families who are joining in encouraging others to consider adoption.
In the film, the adoptive families recite a poem written by comedienne, writer and adoptee Joy Carter, which brings to life the stories of each of the families: the highs, lows and realities of adoption.
The film also dispels some key misconceptions about adoption using a recurrent theme – you can adopt.
It is being released online and across social media during the campaign. A podcast series is also being released, featuring famous voices such as Anna Richardson, Sinitta, Harry Derbidge and Annie Price, who talk to families about the adoption process and the journey they took to adopt their children.
A survey of adults who have already adopted showed that collectively, more than two thirds of people said the two most important things a person needs before adopting a child is a loving home and to be able to provide stability.
Almost half said their adopted child felt like part of the family within just a month and of the respondents that had biological children as well as an adopted child, three quarters reported a strong relationship between the siblings.
The adoption process has evolved over the last few years; it is simpler and quicker than it has been previously and there is a lot more support available with over three quarters of adoptive parents finding the support and resources helpful.
Latest figures suggest that there are 37 children Devon waiting for adoptive families, which include 14 sibling groups of two or more children.
Ruth Marriott, CEO at Families for Children says:
“There are still many myths surrounding adoption specifically around who can adopt, age and even accommodation worries.
“We are behind the campaign in helping to answer some of these questions that make people assume they can’t adopt.
“We want to raise awareness of the needs of harder to place children who wait the longest for their families.
“We are looking for people who have the motivation, commitment and love to be a great parent.”
Kath Drescher, Adopt South West Service Manager, says:
“There are children all across the South West looking for loving homes, from young children to older children, from single children to sibling groups, no matter their background, all they need is their forever family to change their life.
“We want children who haven’t had an equal start in life to have an equal chance in life.
“Love, time and commitment to a child are three of the most important attributes you can have to adopt a child.
“Adoption can be uniquely fulfilling; I talk to adoptive parents a lot and they will all tell me that their lives now feel all the more full and worthwhile as a family. There’s no doubt that it’s hard work – any parent will tell you that – but it’s so rewarding.”
All adoption agencies hold information events across the South West to inform and discuss the process of becoming an adopter, the services they provide and the vulnerable children who are currently waiting.
If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch with your Local Agency.