A Staffordshire based adoption agency is challenging prospective parents to consider adopting an older child.
Adoption Focus has been really successful in finding families for older children, finding families for 22 children aged four and above in the past 12 months.
As National Adoption Week 2015 begins on 19 October, Newcastle-under-Lyme based Adoption Focus is working with campaigners across the UK to ask the simple question: “Too old at 4?”
Anna Sharkey, Chief Executive of Adoption Focus, said: “We understand the natural desire that families have to adopt a baby, but it may surprise some people that the so-called ‘older children’ who struggle to find a family are as young as four.
“Adoption Focus is working hard to find families for these children and the last 12 months proved extremely successful with 22 older children being placed with 10 families.”
Adoption experts report that reasons why it can be harder to adopt older children include the fact that there may be two or more siblings involved.
But a survey, carried-out for Adoption Week, showed that people are twice as likely to say that children aged four and over are less demanding to live with.
And 43 per cent of under-40s say they would consider adoption.
At any one time there are around 3,000 children in the UK waiting to be adopted and around half of these are regarded as older children.
Adoption Focus has also marked Adoption Week by launching a new website and striking new brand. The Adoption Agency, which works throughout the Midlands region, won grant funding to develop a new website on a platform specifically built for charities.
The new logo represents a family about to be made complete by adoption. The outside dots fit into the holes of the jigsaw and differ in size to show that the ages of adopted children are different – and not all young – as people may think.
Benjamin James, Chair of Trustees, said “For a small charity rebranding and developing a new website is an enormous task. We have been incredibly lucky to have received a grant to allow us to work with Raising IT for which we are very grateful. Our staff team has worked very hard on this project along with our team of consultants and are to be commended on such a great result.”
Anyone who is considering adoption should call Adoption Focus on 0845 519 0539 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For media enquiries call Jo Lee on 0121 779 0891 or email email@example.com
A personal insight by Adoption Focus Chief Executive Anna Sharkey:
“A couple of years ago, one of our adopters contacted me after Christmas to say that she had cried during their local village pantomime when her two children, placed the summer before, had been invited up onto the stage with the other children to sing.
They were tears of pride – that they had the confidence to join the others – mingled with a real sense of sadness about how close their children had come to missing out on stable, ordinary, loving family life.
Aged four and five on placement, they were ‘hard to place’ because of their ages. The adopter said that she had realised when looking at them on the stage, just how little they are – ‘these children are my babies, needing us – new mum and dad – to fill the gaps, love them and help them grow’.
This was their first ever pantomime, their first ever Christmas with mum and dad (and grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins), and they were just beginning to understand that family life could be wonderful.
The adopter also noted with some irony that she and her husband had worried about being too old to adopt, little thinking that at four and five, children could be considered too old to be adopted.
Social workers are charged with making life-long life-changing decisions for children and their families. Keeping children safe is their first priority – and when adoption is the best way to achieve this, it is an option which must be considered for every child who cannot remain in their birth family, and age should not be a barrier.”
Notes to Editors:
Rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, Adoption Focus (www.adoption-focus.org.uk) is a voluntary adoption agency and charity which Adoption Focus finds children who need to be adopted and works with their social worker to make the placement.
It focuses on the preparation and support of adoptive parents and the placement of children. Adoption Focus’ specialist team use their expertise to ensure adopters feel valued and supported.
Local Authorities are responsible for all children who can’t live with their birth family. If a family, couple or individual is approved by Adoption Focus, Local Authorities can place children with them. Adoption Focus continues to support families after the adoption. Aftercare is a big part of the work carried out by the charity.