Adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) has joined a coalition of national, regional and voluntary adoption agencies across the country, supported by the Department for Education (DfE), to launch a nationwide recruitment campaign 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 as well as highlight that 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 40% of adults in the south east have considered adoption or would consider adoption in future. But, despite this, 67% adults do not feel they know much about the adoption process and this lack of knowledge may contribute to many people not taking the important first step.
With 43% people admitting they do not know if they are eligible to adopt and 32% 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 67% single 46% and LGBTQ+ 34%
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 emotive 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 (66%) of people said a loving home and to be able to provide stability are the two most important things a person needs before adopting a child. Almost half (44%) of people 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 (75%) 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 (76%) of adoptive parents finding the support and resources helpful.
Jan Fishwick, CEO of PACT, an adoption charity covering London and South East England, said:
“The future of many children depends on adults exploring adoption and taking the first step towards becoming an adoptive parent. We need to address misunderstandings and outdated views to ensure that nobody is discouraged from taking the first important step towards adopting a child. Some people assume that because of their age or marital status they won’t be able to adopt, but that is simply not true, adoption is a choice for people who want to become a parent.
”Its also important that prospective adopters are aware that they have a choice. They can choose to adopt through a local authority or a voluntary adoption agency such as PACT and we would encourage anyone thinking about adoption to explore all the options open to them.”
Sinitta, singer and mum of two, said:
“I would definitely encourage others to consider adoption. I always knew I wanted children and I tried everything from IVF to surrogacy to have them. All of those journeys led to heartbreak, except adoption. The feeling of finally becoming a mother was almost indescribable; it’s just everything. It was everything I wanted and more. I love my children more than anything and I always say that love is thicker than blood.”
Carrie Grant, vocal coach, TV presenter and mum of four, said:
“Our adoption journey began over eight years ago when we adopted our son, Nathan. We already had three biological children, but we had room in our hearts and knew we had the opportunity to offer another child a loving home. Adopting our son wasn’t an easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do and a fantastic thing to do. He’s a Grant now, every bit as much as his sisters. I’d encourage anyone thinking about adoption to take the first step and find out more. It’s been such an incredible journey for our family.”
Joy Carter, writer, comedienne and adoptee, said:
“It was a pleasure meeting all the different families and collaborating with them on this project. I was adopted when I was a baby, so the stories they shared with me really resonated. Every child needing adoption has a story and I hope by bringing some of those stories to life, people realise the difference they can make if they choose to adopt. I hope the poem and video will help encourage people to register their interest in adopting and help a child find a forever home. I’m really lucky that my parents gave me mine.”
#YouCanAdopt. To find out more visitwww.youcanadopt.co.uk and begin your journey towards growing your family.
To find out more about adopting with PACT, to download a free information guide or to book a place at an adoption information event visit www.pactcharity.org or call 0300 456 4800.
*Of children waiting to be adopted 27% were over 5 years old, 5% have a disability, 17% were of a BAME background and 40% are in sibling groups.