Adoption Changes Lives

15/10/2018

With falling numbers of applications for adoption, a new campaign was launched on Monday 15th October 2018 to encourage more people to become adoptive parents.

There are currently around 3000 children in care in Northern Ireland. Almost 700 of these children are under 5 years old. Most of these children, who come into care return to their birth families, some will live with relatives, others in foster or residential care. Around 90 children are adopted here every year with over one third of these children needing to be placed alongside a brother or sister. Until quite recently there has not been any shortage of prospective adopters in Northern Ireland, but over the last couple of years there has been falling numbers of adoption enquiries and lower numbers of applications in some Health and Social Care Trust areas.

The ‘Adoption Changes Lives’ campaign was launched during the first ever Adoption Week in Northern Ireland,  Lisa Hine, Head of Adoption Services, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said  Adoption Week NI (15 – 21 October 2018)  “Is about celebrating adoption and sharing inspirational real-life stories from local families. It is aimed at encouraging more people to think about becoming an adoptive parent and consider whether they can provide a forever home to a child or children. “We are urgently seeking adoptive parents for many children but in particular to help keep brothers and sisters together; for children aged 4 and over; and for children with disabilities or more complex health and care needs.” Mrs Hine continued: “There are a lot of myths about who can and can’t adopt children.  You can adopt if you are over 21, whether you are single or in a couple, whatever your sexual orientation, religious or ethnic background.   If you are interested, I would encourage you to make the call and ask for an information pack to find out more about the process.”

Explaining how adoption changed their lives Sarah and John, adoptive parents from the Downpatrick area commented: “We attended a SEHCT information evening and everything kept coming back to adoption as being the right choice for us and so we began our adoption journey. Whilst the assessment was extensive and at times emotionally challenging, we didn’t find it too intrusive or over-whelming. We were approved and matched with a little girl of 2 ½. She has grown and blossomed into a confident, caring, and delightful nine year old. We then went through a second-time assessment to extend our family and were approved and matched with a 16 month old, who has also grown and thrived in the time he has been with us. We would urge anyone who has the capacity to be a parent to a vulnerable child to go and learn more about adoption. There are a lot of children who through no fault of their own need stability, reassurance and unconditional love to thrive. Don’t be put off by the assessment process, the end result of a good match and a forever family makes it pale into insignificance.”

Phil and Joan, adoptive parents from Newtownards commented: “we adopted our son in 2007 and honestly despite the early challenges we faced as a family, our adoption journey has been the most rewarding experience of our lives and by far the best and most important thing we ever did.”

Johnny and Ali, adoptive parents from Lisburn area commented: “We were placed with a gorgeous little girl through the concurrent care when she was only a few days old. We have two birth children as well. The process was challenging and lengthy and we all had our ups and downs. Our daughter continues to have face-to-face and letterbox contact with her birth family and will for the rest of her life, which we believe maintains a really important part of her identity. Concurrent care isn’t for the faint of heart but when we look at our amazing little girl, and know she has had us from the very start, we can’t imagine life without her.”

NI Chief Social Worker Sean Holland said he fully supports the ‘Adoption Changes Lives’ campaign. “Adoption Week is an important time in our annual calendar. It provides us with the opportunity to both recognise the incredibly important role that adoptive families play in Northern Ireland and also to promote adoption here. We cannot underestimate the value of providing children in care with loving, stable, permanent homes and I would like to personally thank those families who have done just that over the years.  I would also strongly encourage other families to think about making the same journey and urge you to make the initial call for more information.”

EJ from Adoption UK added; “‘Adoption UK is delighted to be involved in this campaign to promote Adoption Week NI which enables us to celebrate the adoption community and to encourage more adoptive parents to come forward and meet the needs of children who are unable to live with their birth family.”

The campaign has been led by the Health and Social Care Board in partnership with Health and Social Care Trusts, the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service and Adoption UK.

If you would like to find out more about adoption please come along to our Information Evening on Monday 22nd October 2018, 7.00pm-9.00pm, Trinity Conference Centre, Ballymacoss Avenue, Knockmore Road, Lisburn BT28 2GU or call for an information pack on 028 9260 7528 or log onto www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net .

Start your Adoption Journey today!