Adopters in Essex are encouraging other families to follow their lead during National Adoption Week.
Essex County Council helps find families for dozens of children every year and is currently looking for a loving home for more than 20 young children.
Many of the children are aged between four and eight years old, or are brothers and sisters that need to stay together.
National Adoption Week, which takes place from 17 October to 23 October, is an ideal time to consider whether you could adopt.
Police officers Stella, 44, and Emma, 38, were inspired to adopt during National Adoption Week in 2014.
Their adoptive son, now three, was placed with them last November and the Chelmsford couple describe adopting a child as “the best thing we’ve ever done”.
Emma said: “We were actually planning on having a birth child through a donor and were quite far along in the process, and planning to start trying.
“It just happened to be National Adoption Week and we sat down and watched a programme about adoption, and we just said ‘Why are we bringing another child into the world when there are already lots out there who need a loving home?’
“We decided to find out more and about a month later we went to one of the Essex County Council information events.
“They were quite honest about the challenges you might face and the kind of personality you would likely need and we came away feeling we could do it. So we went through the process and it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”
Essex County Council has an excellent track record of finding loving homes for children.
In 2015/16, 63 families were approved to adopt, while adoptive families were found for 66 children, and those numbers are expected to be higher this year.
The council provides extensive support for adopters, not only during the adoption process but throughout the young person’s childhood.
This support includes:
- Advice and guidance from social workers
- Peer-to-peer support groups
- Coffee mornings and adopter-led groups for both adoptive parents and children
- Events for adoptive families, including a summer fun day and Christmas party
- Therapeutic programmes, including music therapy, and sensory sessions
- Membership of AdoptionUK and other support organisations
Cllr Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Children, said: “We are committed to ensuring all children in Essex get the best possible start in life and our adopters play a massive part in enabling us to do that.
“Many of the children who need adopting are not babies or toddlers but children of primary school age, and unfortunately they can often face a much longer wait to find a family to care for them.
“National Adoption Week is the ideal time to recognise the fantastic contribution adopters make to the lives of young people and to consider whether you could give a child a loving home yourself.”
Despite National Adoption Week and other awareness campaigns, there are still a number of myths and misconceptions about adoption.
To help combat the issue, Essex County Council is holding a special National Adoption Week live Twitter Q&A on Thursday, October 20.
Adopters Emma, Bridget and Heather, as well as Essex County Council social workers, will be available to respond to questions between 7.30pm and 8.30pm that evening.
To take part, tweet your questions to the council using its Twitter handle @Essex_CC or email them in advance email@example.com using ‘Twitter adoption Q&A’ in the subject line.
Read more about adoption or call 0800 801 530 for further information.
There will also be adoption information events held in Chelmsford on Thursday 27 October and Thursday 10 November.