National Adoption Week from 5-11 Nov is so important in reminding people about the backgrounds of the children waiting for adoption and the difference adoption can make to a child’s life. Existing adoptive families report that it can be hard work, but the rewards are huge. This is a chance to transform a child’s life for ever.
10 Facts About Adoption
1). There were 65,520 children in local authority care in England on 31 March 2011, 56% of which were boys and 44% of which were girls.
2). During the year ending 31 March 2011, 3,050 looked-after children were adopted. 2% were under one; 71% were aged between 1 – 4; 24% were aged between 5 – 9; 3% were aged between 10 – 15.
3). The average age at adoption was 3 years 10 months.
4). 72% were placed for adoption due to abuse or neglect, 12% due to family dysfunction, 8% because the birth family was in ‘acute stress’.
5). Unmarried and same sex couples were granted the right to adopt by The Adoption and Children Act 2002, the first piece of adoption legislation in over a quarter of a century.
6). The rules for potential adopters are NOT strict! You have to be over 21, happy to make space in your life and home for a child, patient, flexible and energetic, and determined to make a real difference to a child’s life, for a lifetime. There is no upper age limit.
7). Indirect contact between the adopted child and their birth families is encouraged, most commonly through an exchange of written information, perhaps once or twice a year, via the adoption agency. There may be direct contact for some children with various members of their birth family, including grandparents and brothers and sisters who may be placed elsewhere.
8). Since 1975 adopted people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have had the right to see their original birth certificate when they reach the age of 18 (in Scotland the age is 16 and this right has existed since legal adoption was first introduced).
9). The Adoption Action Plan published in March 2012 sets out a range of proposals to help more children for whom adoption is in their best interests to find homes far quicker than they do currently.
10). Adoption changes lives. Children in the care of local authorities are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and statistics show that difficulties can be life-long. Adoption offers a vulnerable child the chance to reach their potential in a stable, loving and permanent home.