Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, in partnership with Adoption UK, is urgently seeking new adopters as the numbers of enquiries and applications continue to fall.
The decrease in applications has led to a current shortage of available adopters who can meet the needs of the many children requiring placement.
This year’s ‘Adoption Changes Lives’ campaign, which coincides with Adoption Week NI (14-20th October), will focus on siblings. Each year around 85-90 children are adopted in NI, however, last year, 73 children were adopted from care of which 42 per cent, were adopted as part of a sibling group.
Launching the campaign Marie Roulston, Director of Social Care and Children with the Health and Social Care Board said; “This campaign is ultimately about encouraging more people to come forward and consider becoming an adoptive parent.
“The children who wait the longest for adoption are brothers and sisters who need to be adopted together, children aged 4 and over and children with disabilities or developmental delay.
“We are urgently seeking adoptive parents for many children but in particular to help keep brothers and sisters together. There are currently 21 children on the adoption register actively seeking an adoptive placement with 13 needing to be placed alongside a brother or sister.”
Supporting the campaign, adoptive parents Lynne and Brian commented:
“We were like most adoptive parents initially seeking a younger child then we realised that we are slightly older and perhaps older children would be good for us. We were informed that if adopting siblings we would only be required to go through the process once and that was very encouraging. We knew we wanted a busy house as we both came from large families and adopting siblings was the right decision.
“We adopted a brother and sister aged 4 and 5 years and they were placed with us shortly after we had our application approved. They were great support for each other when they came to live with us.
“They just wanted to be loved and feel part of a home. We always say to them our house is the heart with great big arms around it no matter what happens.”
EJ Havlin from Adoption UK added; “Adoption UK provides support for every adoptive family. Adopting siblings is common in Northern Ireland and many of the children waiting are part of a family group of two or three.
“While each adoption is unique, the decisions to keep brothers and sisters together are not simply based on their blood bond, but on the benefits for the children – their ability to relate, play, grow and thrive together. Every effort is made to make sure their relationships are nurtured and maintained.
“Adoptive families who take on sibling placements are giving their children the extraordinary, acknowledged benefit of maintaining family ties and a deep sense of belonging. Giving brothers and sisters a permanent, loving home could be the best thing you’ll ever do, and Adoption Week is an ideal time to consider whether you could give children the love and care they need plus the chance to grow up together.”
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 call for an information pack on 0800 0720 137 or click here.
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