Find out more about adoption during National Adoption Week

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Categoriesnews Children and young people

Image captionMany children who are waiting for adoption come from a black or minority ethnic background and form part of a sibling group

This National Adoption Week let us know if you think you could adopt some of our most vulnerable and hard to place children, including sibling groups.

You can find out more about what is involved in adopting a child at two upcoming information events:

Thursday 24 November
10am-noon and 6pm-8pm
Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX

Many children who are waiting for adoption come from a black or minority ethnic background and form part of a sibling group. They are often over four-years-old and may also have a disability.

The bond between siblings is unique and in many cases is the most consistent relationship they have had. Wherever possible the council aim to place siblings together. Unfortunately, sibling groups often wait the longest to be placed.

We would like to encourage people who have thought about adoption to consider adopting a sibling group.  Our dedicated Adoption Service can provide prospective adopters with support and advice.

There is a wide range of people who are eligible to adopt. You can adopt if you are single, married or in a relationship, including a civil partnership or same-sex relationship and are at least 21 years old.

To find out more about adoption or the events call the adoption team on 0800 781 2332 or 020 8753 2303. #supportadoption

What adopters have to say

Learn more about what it takes to adopt and the experiences that a single adopter, Linda, and a same-sex couple, Andy and Kieran, have shared below.


Image caption: Linda's son

Linda's Story

I lived in west London and used to be a foster carer. When one of the children (with a disability) in my care could not find a permanent family I decided to adopt him. At this time, I refrained from fostering as I no longer had a spare room and stayed at home to look after my children.

Adoption

In dealing with the first adoption I found the process intrusive, emotional and draining but I do believe that it was because I was so fond of him as I had fostered him since birth.

The very idea of no one wanting him because he had a disability was very upsetting for me and I just knew I had to be there for him in the future. He is a great little boy – funny, adorable and he often has us in fits of laughter and it made the intrusive assessment worth it. I could not imagine life without him.

What’s more, to anyone else going through the adoption process: remember the process is daunting because these children are in care for a reason and its essential that the right family is found for the child to prevent them from having to go through another difficult situation in their young lives.

I went through the process and talked about all the issues in my past which I had not dealt with for some time like family bereavements and things that I found difficult. I am an open and honest person and I worked through the process of becoming a first-time adopter. With the support of the social worker I was approved about six months later and I was relieved.

Making a family

I have three children of my own. And as a single parent I had no intention of having any more children especially after having adopted a child who didn’t sleep for a year (or that is how it felt!). Little did I realise I would end up having five children.

My adopted son’s sibling came up for adoption shortly after birth and I could not think about them not growing up together. They were lucky to have contact and develop a relationship and when she joined us she slept through the night with no problem. It was as if she had come home!

So, with a total of five children – three boys and two girls – life is by no means a walk in the park but they have guaranteed me a lifetime of happiness. I have learnt to do my shopping online and gain the support of my family – in particular my mum, my sister and my brother help manage the needs of my family. I have learned the key to raising children is having a good support network and ensuring everyone gets some special one to one time with me.

As a second-time adopter, preparing for the approval process was less intrusive although the need to be approved was far more important than ever. I struggled every day for those six months (prior to becoming approved) with how I would deal with the situation if I was not approved as her adopter.

The older children are very protective of the younger ones and while they know they are adopted they are my son and daughter now.  In life we have learned to work with what we have and make the best of it. It includes lots of laughter and tears and I would not swap it for anything.

I have enabled this sibling group to grow up together and develop their own bond. This was particularly important as one of the children is partially blind and, as such, has special needs.

Training

As a foster carer I had undertaken training and then as a two-time adopter I undertook the preparation training. After the adoption process we continued to attend support groups after adoption meetings and the Christmas party.

At these events two of my adopted children have made friends with children that have had the same journey as themselves. This will follow them through life. Thankfully the journey they make as adoptive children is one that they do together rather than apart and that means the world to me.

Be assured, parenting is the hardest job in the world and I stand firm with that view! But I do know that I was meant to foster to meet them and that is how I know they were meant to become part of our family.

I come from a large family and my Dad came from a family of 10 and so, for me, having five children is hardly unusual. I remember my childhood memories included fun times, naughty times and a bond that has lasted through my life. I am pleased to say that being siblings together they will make memories, have fun (and argue) and undertake their adoption journey together as siblings.

One might say with five children I can’t get out much but I do! We all have our times out doing what we like with friends but I know in my heart I am happiest at home with my children and my family.

Andy and Kieran


Image caption: Andy and Kieran are a same-sex couple of 13 years and always knew they would like to have children

If we had known we would have ended up with three boys we would not have believed it! We are a same-sex couple and we have been together now for 13 years. We always knew we would like to have children so, for us, adoption was the only option available.

We have now been through the process three times and have successfully adopted three boys. They are not siblings but they share the same ethnicity. They are active boys and they share the same interests such as running, cycling, playing with their cars or train set.

For us they are a perfect together and I could not imagine a better match. Two of the children were found from outside our assessing agency and the other child in-house. However, to us it did not matter where the children came from as long as it was the right match. We were fully supported during the whole process so it did not really matter that the children were from a different borough.

First adoption

Our first adoption was unfamiliar territory and I am not sure what we expected from the assessment. The process was intrusive as it ought to be given that the children had already experienced difficulties in their lives.  In some cases we did not understand the relevance of some questions but we decided to go with it and see where it led.

It turned out to be a good opportunity to be reflective about adoption and our background. It was only during the panel stages that we felt really nervous as the outcome rested with panel members who we had not met even though they would have read our report.

We also felt this same nervousness when we went to both matching panels. However, at all the panels we got the outcome we were looking for and the social workers had expected.

We will forever be grateful to the adoption team who helped us create our family.

Support from the team

Over the 10 years that we have been involved in the adoption process we have met many people within the team. They were always supportive and easy to approach, so much so that when we decided to adopt for the second time there was never any doubt about going with the same agency.

In 2011 we decided that we really enjoyed being parents and felt that we would like to expand our family. We had the space and the experience to take on another child and so we progressed our interest.

For us, the second adoption was an easier journey than the first and we found it more like a reflection of how things have changed over the previous two-and-a-half years since our first child joined us.

I think it helped that we were familiar with the process this time. This time around the match happened quicker than our first adoption. We then decided that we both had the energy to adopt again.

Thinking back, what changed for the third adoption was that we were given the opportunity to meet with the medical advisor to gain an independent view of the child’s development now and for the future. We found this reassuring and wished we had been able to do this with our earlier adoptions. We would recommend this to anyone considering adoption in the future.

Making the family fit

It was December 2015 when we commenced our third adoption journey.

By now we were very relaxed and comfortable with the adoption assessment and had a great social worker from the council who took us through the process. We were informed about a possible match in April 2016 and were successfully matched to the child in July. He has been with us around two months, so it is still early days but we are looking forward to finalising the adoption order in the future. We are now learning the logistics of having three children and managing the school run!

The eldest child already has a young brother; the middle child has been the baby of the family for four or five year years, so he now has to learn to share his parents with another child.

There are those moment when everything is just how we envisaged it – we are all sitting side by side on the sofa and everyone is comfortable and content. This is the picture we had hoped for.

We did not plan to adopt three children when we embarked on our initial adoption and so when people ask why we didn’t adopt a sibling group of three I guess we did not realise that was our plan at the time. I guess it was a case of ‘Let’s see how each new addition pans out before doing it again’.

“Did we plan on having three boys?” is the other question we are often asked and the answer is no. When we progressed our third adoption we could easily have said we wanted a girl but instead we decided it was more important for us to find the child that fitted into our family.

We had to take the needs of the other two children into account especially as they are now 10 and five-years-old and they are established members of our family.

We are finding our feet with all three children but we are adjusting well to having another addition to our family. They do keep us busy but I would not wish it any other way. I know how lucky we are that they are our sons.

We have been asked if three is our limit? Who knows? Let’s see how we go!

Are you inspired by these stories? Think you could adopt register your interest in adoption? If so, please call the adoption team on 0800 781 2332 or 020 8753 2303. #supportadoption