Adopt Coast to Coast – the Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) for Cumbria County Council, Durham County Council and Together for Children (Sunderland City Council) – is urgently calling for people to consider adopting brothers and sisters in a bid to combat the shortage in the number of prospective adopters looking to provide homes for more than one child.
Echoing national statistics*, 43% of the children with an Adoption Placement Order under the care of Cumbria, Durham and Together for Children, in the last reported year were part of a sibling group. On the opposite end of the scale, only 23% of prospective adopters were looking to adopt brothers and sisters.
In its latest campaign, Adopt Coast to Coast aims to tackle any misconceptions over who is eligible to adopt siblings, raise awareness of the support available to those looking for more than one child and to highlight the benefits of adopting two or more children to those people who may not have previously considered it as an option.
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Paula Gibbons, Head of Service for Adopt Coast to Coast said: “We understand that bringing home more than one child at once is a daunting prospect and we know that adopters have to consider the challenges, immediate and longer-term costs, available space, and their own time. But we also know there are also some huge, immeasurable benefits of keeping siblings together. The bond between brothers and sisters is unique and one that lasts a lifetime, and children who are adopted with siblings find companionship and reassurance as they have a shared understanding of their experiences. Many adopters say adopting brother and sister groups has helped children settle into their new homes quickly and it has also enabled them to complete their family at once.
“It also means prospective adopters only have to go through the application process once, so they could be matched with two or more children in 6-12 months. We would encourage anyone considering adoption to speak to us about caring brothers and sisters – we are currently looking for homes for more than 10 sibling groups across our geographical area and we need people to come forward now. There may be financial and practical ways we can support you that you are unaware of, and we can also help you decide if it’s right for you, at a pace you’re comfortable with.”
The appeal comes as recent figures from a recent #YouCanAdopt sibling campaign shows that 44% of the 2,020 children waiting to be adopted in England are in family groups of two or more.1 Groups of children wait an average of 17 months to be adopted, which is 36% longer (135 days more) than individual children; and more than half of these groups (56%) wait more than 18 months for their new family.2
Andy and Steve always knew they wanted a family and for them, adoption was the only route to parenthood they were comfortable with. Within a year of making their first enquiry their family of two grew to a family of four when they adopted brothers, then aged 1 and 2.
Andy said: “Our adoption experience was a very positive one and it all ran very smoothly. Within just three months of being approved our sons were living with us and it completely changed our lives. The best thing about adopting siblings is that we have our family now. This is what we pictured our family to be.”
“They’ve got their brotherly bond, they play together, they laugh together – it keeps the house lively – it’s just fabulous,” added Steve.
The brothers are now aged 3 and 4, and Andy and Steve can’t imagine their lives without them and would encourage anyone who is thinking about adopting siblings to come forward, with Andy saying: “Anyone thinking about adopting siblings needs to have an open mind, go forward, find out what you can, and keep talking about it.”
Adopt Coast to Coast is hosting a special online sibling focused information event on Monday 6th September at 7pm for those looking to find out more about adopting brothers and sisters. As well as giving an overview of adoption, the event will feature a guest speaker who will talk about their experiences of adopting two brothers and there will be plenty of opportunity for people to ask questions.