A coalition of national, regional and voluntary adoption agencies across the country, supported by the Department for Education (DfE), have joined forces to launch a nationwide recruitment campaign to raise awareness of adoption, highlight the number of children looking for a new, caring family and dispel myths.
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 4 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 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are still children out there who are looking for their new family.
Earlier this year, a new report revealed that 37% of adults in the North West have considered adoption or would consider adoption in the future. But, despite this, 69% of 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% of people admitting they do not know if they are eligible to adopt and 35% 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 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT+) 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 65%, single 45% and LGBT+ 34%.
'The future of many children depends on adults exploring adoption and taking the first step towards becoming an adoptive parent'
Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children's services, 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 We need to address misunderstandings and outdated views to ensure that nobody is discouraged from taking the first important step towards adopting a child.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."
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.
'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'
Sinitta, singer and mum of 2, 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."
A survey of adults who have already adopted showed that collectively, more than 2 thirds (66%) of people said a loving home and to be able to provide stability are the 2 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, 3 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 3 quarters (76%) of adoptive parents finding the support and resources helpful.