Durham based Adoption Matters support the latest national drive to find adopters

Jun 20, 2023 | Local News

Today, Adoption Matters joins all regional and voluntary adoption agencies across the country to launch a new ‘You Can Adopt’ campaign highlighting the circle of support important to adopters.

This new campaign comes as new research reveals that over a third (39%) of parents found support from other parents invaluable when raising their child.

The campaign aims to reach potential parents for children from certain groups that repeatedly wait longest to be adopted (approximately eight months longer*) and sees a series of new films released featuring real life stories from those who have adopted and fostered children, and others who have been adopted themselves. The films spotlight the various means of support available throughout the adoption journey from regional and voluntary adoption agencies, social care workers, charities, employers, friends, relatives, peers, and more.

As part of the campaign, You Can Adopt has united a number of organisations, including John Lewis and Family Fund, to show their support for adopters. A new podcast episode featuring Love Island winner and former children’s social worker Sanam Harrinanan in conversation with an adopter about their adoption journey also goes live today.

Latest available data shows there are 1,980 children waiting for adoption in England, with 990 of these (50%) waiting longer than 18 months since entering care. The majority of children waiting for adoption (59%, 1,170 children) come from specific groups repeatedly facing the longest delays in finding a home. These groups include children aged five or over, children with additional and/or complex needs, brother and sister groups, and those from a Black and mixed heritage. Compared to children without these characteristics, children from these groups wait an average of eight months longer from entry into care to adoption, a total of 32 months.

Children over five wait 16 months longer to be adopted from care than children under five
Children with a disability wait nine months longer to be adopted from care than children without a disability
Children in sibling groups wait seven months longer to be adopted from care than single children
Adoption Matters adopters Ash and Graham, from Durham share their story about adopting their son Bill as part of the campaign. Ash says

“We are an interabled married couple. I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. Quite rightly I had to jump through extra hoops to adopt Bill. It meant that as part of our assessment our adoption social worker had to understand from my consultant how I manage my condition.

Bill has a rare chromosome condition called Jansen de Vries Syndrome. When we adopted him, we were told that his condition was uncertain, he would need to go to special education and he probably wouldn’t be able to read and write. Professionals were unsure if he would even be able to talk to us or not.

Bill has defied the odds and exceeded everyone’s expectations of him and he delights us every day. He is now going to attend a mainstream school in September and is starting to read three letter words and can write his name.

It is our network of people that have helped us achieve this with Bill – support in adoption is vital. Bill’s consultants are amazed by his progress and say we have parented him really well.

The truth is we are first-time parents and it is the training and ongoing support provided by Adoption Matters that has prepared us to parent Bill. We often get comments from people saying to us if we could guarantee that our adoption journey would be as good as yours they would adopt tomorrow”.

Also supporting the campaign is Jamie, a passionate advocate for tailored birth family tracing support for adopted people. As an adopted person himself, he understands the importance of maintaining a sense of identity and personal history through building these connections. Jamie is on the Board of Trustees for Adoption Matters, raising awareness of the many types of support available for both adoptive and birth parents, and adopted children.

Adoption Matters Centre for Adoption Support offer ongoing support to their adoptive families from their first phone call to their first grandchild. They also offer a tracing service and support for adopted adults and birth families, they have been offering this service to any families connected with their agency for over 50 years.

Adoption Matters Chief Executive, Susy White, comments: “We are proud to support this campaign which highlights the importance of support to families, something Adoption Matters prides itself on and which we have been recognised for by Ofsted. We offer ongoing support and training to families, adopted adults and birth parents.

“Our Centre for Adoption Support and Therapy Service offers a variety of therapeutic training including a rolling programme of webinars. A huge thank you to our Trustee Jamie and family Ash, Graham and of course Bill, for supporting this campaign and Adoption Matters.”

If you’ve ever considered adopting and want to find out more about the children and the support available to you, visit www.adoptionmatters.org