FAMILY support charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is appealing for people from caring professions to consider adoption.
PACT offers outstanding adoption services to families across the South East. Last year it placed 87 children with 62 families through its adoption services. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England.
PACT is particularly looking for couples or single people, including those from the LGBT community, who can consider adopting children over four years old, sibling groups of two or more children, children with a black or minority ethnic background and children who may have physical or learning disabilities.
The agency would really like to hear from anyone from the caring professions such as nurses, teachers, police officers, childminders and those in the care sector, as given their professional experience and skills they typically make strong adopters, and they are particularly valued by local authorities looking to place a child.
Nicola* and her husband Mike* adopted Amelia*, who has cerebal palsy, when she was 18 months old through PACT.
Nicola, who is a teacher, said she definitely felt that her professional experience had helped her become an adoptive parent.
“Having worked with children for many years, from a variety of backgrounds, I had a good understanding of children’s needs and child development. I had also seen so many children change in such a positive way when they get the right teacher. I felt I could relate this to parenting.
“I had a good understanding of the need to have firm, fair boundaries for children and I understood children thrive with clear routine that is based on love and respect. Working in a school helped me develop the patience I needed to help our child through the tough times, and to understand all children can change for the better when they know you believe in them.”
Nicola added that her understanding and awareness of the systems that surround children, especially children with additional needs, had also really helped when they needed to get support for Amelia.
Neil and his partner, Matt, adopted three-year-old Joe, who has autism, through PACT in 2016.
Neil, who has worked in social care for 17 years and currently works for a charity, said: “I think throughout the adoption process itself and then once your child is placed with you, you do need to draw on all your life experiences – both personally and professionally – to help relate and empathise with your child. Working in a social care setting for so long has really helped me become a parent, particularly to a child who has additional needs. Many of the skills I have gained in my career I am now using to support my son as he develops, and to ensure he continues to feels confident and secure with us.”
Claire and her husband Harry adopted three siblings, all under four years old, through PACT in 2016.
Claire has been a police officer for 13 years, specialising as a detective, and before adopting her children worked on a major crime team dealing with historic child sexual exploitation. In this role she worked alongside adult and child social services to support vulnerable young ladies, many who had been in care themselves and who had had a very traumatic childhood, including some whose own children had been removed from their care.
She said this role, and other cases she dealt with as an officer, had given her a real insight into family life when things go wrong, and how children can be at risk.
“I dealt with many situations that would open your eyes to the world and understand how adoption has become the only option for a child.”
Claire said her professional experience and training had really helped her deal with the initial stages of the adoption process, but also in understanding how important it was for children to have a stable and secure start to their life.
She urged anyone considering adoption to find out more, adding: “It is not for everyone but might actually be for you and the results will surprise you. Children deserve to have a safe, loving home and can give you and your family so much.
“We have had our lives enriched by three fabulous babies and our entire network of friends and family have learnt and embraced adoption through our journey. Parenting is tricky for everyone, don’t be scared, enjoy it!”
PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “While there is no such thing as a typical adopter we know from our many years’ experience of matching children with forever families that people who work in a caring profession very often have the experience, skills and qualities to make excellent adopters.
“Having said that we are always very happy to hear from anyone, whatever their profession, who can offer love, stability and security to a child who needs this – this is always what matters most. At PACT we work with adopters who are single and married, people who have birth or step-children, or don’t have children, as well as those of different sexualities and religions.”
PACT holds regular information events where anyone considering adoption can find out more about what’s involved. Events coming up include sessions in London on Thursday 15th June, in Reading on Tuesday 20th June and Brighton on Tuesday 27th June, all starting at 6.30pm. These events are free to attend but please do book a place in advance by calling 0300 456 4800.
You can also find out more about PACT and its adoption services at www.pactcharity.org