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Winning article for the week ending 28 February

Adoption. What do you know about it?

England’s adoption rates are falling. With the number of children adopted during the year, ending 31st March 2019, plummeting by 7% since 2018, there is concern about how far this may fall in the future years. The question to ask is how we can combat this, and this may be through the education of the adoption process.

What is adoption?

Fundamentally, adoption is the legal process of transferring parental responsibility from a child’s birth parents to their adoptive parents. Through this, children are able to gain love and security from a new family who will help support them through life. The problem with this process is that the amount of people adopting is falling which means more children are waiting in care.

I spoke to a representative from Adoption UK, Joe Lumley, about the process of adoption, requirements and other tips concerning adoption. Adoption UK is a charity ‘established by adopters, for adopters’ which provides peer to peer and professional support and training. They also produce research and reports and actively seek to influence governments on issues that affect the lives of adoptive families.

One of the things that stood out was the fact that this process is not easy. From the Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer, the biggest ever stock take into the realities of modern day adoption in the UK, 50% of prospective adopters found the process so difficult that they wondered if they could continue. The process of adoption is not unchallenging and can seem daunting, nevertheless, adoption allows adopted children to have committed parents and a stable home as well as opportunities and resources they may have not been able to get before.

When asked how you know if you are ready to adopt, Lumley responded with four key questions that you can ask yourself. These were:

Can you provide love, time and commitment to a child?

Can you empathise with a child who may never have experienced the security of feeling safe and loved?

Can you be patient and flexible, to supportively adapt to whatever unique challenges may come from the child’s circumstances?

Do you have the energy and health to provide a long-term family for a child?

Nonetheless, for younger people it can be important to understand adoption and not react negatively. It can be tempting to often dismiss a person's adoptive family as not being their ‘real’ family, however when speaking to a teenager who was adopted, who wishes to remain anonymous for the sake of the article, she claims ‘I sometimes felt as if my friends didn’t view my Mum as my real Mum and brushed off my own feelings about it.” Her advice for young people, who may be friends with adopted children is to “be sensitive and take the time to listen and understand what adoption is and how your friend personally feels about it.”

Yes, England’s adoption rates are falling, but with education and conversation, hopefully, we as a country can embrace adoption more.

Many thanks to Adoption UK and Joe Lumley, the link to their website which holds many resources is below:

Article written by Jaynelle Osei. Click here to read it on our online newspapers.

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