‘A Life Less Ordinary’ has been launched to find families for children aged five or over, children with additional and/or complex needs, brother and sister groups, and those from an ethnic minority background.
Adoption South East (ASE), which brings together services for East Sussex, Brighton & Hove, West Sussex and Surrey councils, is supporting the national campaign.
Suzanne Chambers of Adoption South East says, “ASE believes that support is key to a successful adoption and works with families to identify the right support plan for them and their adopted child.
“Support can come in lots of different forms – whether that is financial, support with identifying a therapist, help to answer a child’s questions about their adoption or linking in with peer support from other adoptive families.”
As part of the ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ campaign, a new film has been released featuring children from these groups forming an ‘expert’ interview panel, asking real adoptive parents questions about what it takes to give these children a permanent home.
Malcolm and Shelley, who feature in the film, are parents to brothers Kieron and Tyler (who they adopted aged 4 and 5), and Courtney, who they adopted aged 3. They said: “When we adopted siblings, we always say it brought twice the fun into our lives. They need each other and love each other, and we wouldn’t have wanted to split them up.
“Then when we adopted Courtney a few years later, it definitely got a bit noisier in our house! We are so honoured to be able to look after our daughter, who has additional physical needs, and see how she has gone above and beyond what might have been expected of her.
“For anybody adopting a child with special needs, there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t lead a fulfilling and wonderful life. You’re giving them a future they might otherwise not have had.”
The campaign showcases the many life-changing benefits of adopting these children, explores the traits parents need to be resilient adopters, and highlights the support available to adopters and adopted children.
It also offers additional support and information around adopting children from an ethnic minority background, as the reasons why children from this group typically wait longer are complex and different to those from other groups.
New data shows that 32 per cent of people in the south east would consider adopting. While the majority of these people said they would be open to adopting a child aged 1-4 (90 per cent), nearly 40 per cent said that they would not adopt a child with additional needs and 16 per cent would not adopt a sibling group.
However, over 52 per cent said that they would be more likely to consider adopting one of these groups if they knew about the range of support available.
Cllr Bob Bowdler, lead member for children and families at East Sussex County Council, said: “Adoption really can help change the lives of children for the better, giving them a stable and loving family environment in which to thrive.
“The ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ campaign is a great way to highlight the range of adoption support services available to adoptive parents and show that while some children may be harder to place, they are not harder to love.”
The range of adoption support services available starts with preparation to adopt, and includes support groups, training, workshops, family days and specialised therapy tailored to families’ needs.
There is also an Adoption Support Fund to pay for therapeutic services for adoptive children and their parents, as well as specific support for children with disabilities. Adoption agencies provide ongoing support and advice to all their adoptive families.
To find out more about adopting, and the children who wait the longest, visit https://www.youcanadopt.co.uk/alifelessordinary/