Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 16th October 2023

Children’s Charity, Adoption Matters, Supports National Adoption Week

Leading children’s charity and voluntary adoption agency, Adoption Matters, support this year's National Adoption Week (16-22 October).

The new campaign celebrates different generations of adopted people – from baby boomers to Gen Z – to show how adoption has changed through the decades and to encourage potential adopters to come forward to change the life of children who are still waiting for their forever home.

A powerful set of portraits captured by royal, fashion and portrait photographer Philip Sinden - who was adopted himself in the 1970s - have been released. The portraits show striking imagery of eight different people who were adopted between the 1960s-2010s. Each individual portrait features a backdrop of emotive and poignant words that bring to life how adoption has shaped, and continues to shape, their live and highlights how adoption has changed over the years.

The portraits have been released alongside a new short film captured during the photoshoot and hears firsthand the group’s different experiences – challenging misconceptions about what adoption looks like today.

Adoption Matters is joining adoption agencies across the country to shine a spotlight the positive impact adoption has had on individuals’ lives, and the strides made in the sector to put children and their sense of identity at the heart of the adoption journey. Whilst recognising the challenges they have faced along the way, the new campaign brings to life the transformational power of a permanent family home.

There is still a huge need for more people to come forward to adopt, with a 23% decline in the proportion of children leaving care via adoption over the last five years - last year (2022), 2,950 children left care via adoption, 900 less than in 2018.

The stories of different people captured on the day highlight how adoption has changed. Historically, adoption was often seen as secretive and hidden, with little information and support provided to help adopted people understand their history and maintain connections with their birth family. However, it is now considered vital that adopted people have a good understanding of their history and reason why they were adopted to help form a positive sense of identity.

Isabelle (adopted in the 1980s), who features in the film alongside her adopted son Nathanial (adopted in the 2010s), said:
“Having been adopted myself, and then going on to adopt my two children, I know the importance of having an open dialogue around adoption. I want my kids to grow up knowing where they came from, and where possible, maintaining contact with their birth families. I didn’t know about my birth mother until I was much older, meaning I always had questions about my identity and history. Adoption is not a line in the sand between one life and another. It is something that should be open and celebrated – and I’m passionate about doing that with both my children”.

The You Can Adopt campaign also acknowledges that identity, especially for adopted people, can be a life-long journey and is always evolving. While not all adopted people will have stories or items from their early life or the opportunity to have contact with people from their life before they were adopted, modern adoption encourages access to a range of quality information.

The latest data shows in 2022/2023, there were 2110 children waiting to be adopted from care. The majority of children waiting for adoption (60%) come from specific groups repeatedly facing the longest delays in finding a home. These groups include children aged five or over, children with additional and/or complex needs, brother and sister groups, and those from an Ethnic Minority background (excludes White minorities). Compared to children without these characteristics, children from these groups wait an average of 7 months longer than other children.

Children over five wait 17 months longer than children under five
Children in sibling groups wait 13 months longer than children not in a sibling group
Children with a disability wait 10 months longer than children without a disability
Ethnic minority children wait 1 month longer than the average for all children and white children
Black children wait 6 months longer than the average for all children

The campaign shows the positive impact adoption can have on a child’s life through those who have themselves been adopted. By sharing the learning from research and the lived experiences of adopted people we know that it’s better for adopted children to understand why they were adopted, embrace their identity and maintain connections to their past.

Susy White, Chief Executive of Adoption Matters, said:
“As one of the largest voluntary agencies in the country, we are very proud to support this latest campaign. We know the importance of identity to adopted adults and offer ongoing support to all our families and adopted adults to support them throughout the adoption process and beyond.”

The charity is hosting an online adoption information event during the week:

Saturday 21st October – online adoption event – 10:00am - hear from members of the team and adopters about the adoption process and our ongoing support.

For more information click here