There are currently thousands of children in the UK in the care system of all ages, and from a variety of backgrounds who have had a difficult start in life which means that they can no longer be brought up by their birth families.
These children may have been abused, neglected or been exposed to a volatile home life that may have included drug and alcohol abuse or domestic violence. All will have experienced changes and uncertainty. Some children will have never lived with their birth parents and will have been in foster care since birth.
The purpose of adoption is to provide some of these children with a forever family, who can give them a safe, loving, stable home, where they can develop and thrive.
The children in need of adoption are of all ages, ethnicities and abilities. Adoption UK statistics released for National Adoption Week in October 2018 show how many children are waiting to be adopted. At that point last year, there were 1,135 children awaiting adoption, but just 407 families approved to adopt. Of these, 755 children were under the age of five, compared to 380 children over five. In addition, research showed that more than half of the children needing adoption were part of a sibling group who were in need of finding a family together.
All children waiting for adoption need unconditional love and support to help them flourish. Unfortunately, some of these children wait longer to be adopted and in the UK there is a particular need to find adopters for:
- babies and children with disabilities – there is often a lack of knowledge about different types of disability developmental uncertainty and what will be required to meet a child’s individual needs.
- brothers and sisters -there has been a lot of focus in recent years on keeping brothers and sisters together and the number of adopters coming forward for these children has increased but more adopters are still needed.
- black, asian and mixed heritage children – there are currently many more black and mixed heritage children waiting for adoption than there are adopters. Last year 15% of children awaiting adoption were black and mixed heritage but only 5% of adopters approved had the same ethnic background
- Older children (over four years) – More than one third of children waiting to be adopted are older children, which includes single and those who are part of a sibling group.
Adoption is one of the biggest and most important decisions of your life. The adoption process in the UK is straightforward but thorough and safe, resulting in well informed, skilled adopters.
How adoption works in the UK:
Adoption in the UK is set out by the Government’s two-stage assessment process, which can be completed within six months, but this can vary dependent on your individual circumstances. Having the time and availability to commit to the preparation training, carrying out required reading, scheduling assessment visits and preparing for adoption panel together with a dedicated social worker. All these factors will help to give a child or children a new beginning, and ensure that you can provide them with the permanent and secure home that they need.
People from all backgrounds and nationalities can adopt; single or married, male or female, a homeowner or renting, straight, lesbian, gay, trans or bisexual. However, you do need to be over 21, a non-smoker, and have a spare bedroom. If you wish to read more about what are the requirements for adopting a child in the UK, please read the ‘Can I Adopt’ page on this website.
Once you are approved by the agency as ‘suitable to adopt’ your social worker and family finder will support you through the next stage of looking for a child to adopt. Many people ask “Do you get to pick the child you adopt”? Together, you, your family finder and your social worker will work to think about what you can offer a child and what child will also be the right fit for your family.
To find out any more information about the adoption process with Adopters for Adoption, please contact us today.