The importance of the wider family, together with strong professional support, is being highlighted this year as part of National Adoption Week 2017.
The support and stability that can be provided by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins is a vital part of the whole adoption process.
The family unit, and the role that extended family can play, is being celebrated by Nottingham City Council ahead of National Adoption Week, which starts on Monday 16 October.
The Adoption Service found homes for 47 Nottingham children during 2016 but there are many more who are in need of the love and support that a stable and committed family life can provide.
Adoptive parents receive high-quality, on-going support from the Council to help them to carefully prepare and train for a new addition to their family. This commitment will remain in place throughout and will continue after adoption.
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Years and Early Intervention at Nottingham City Council, said: “We’re very proud of our diverse and dedicated foster carers and adoptive parents. These people look after the city’s most vulnerable children and we are hugely grateful for their continued efforts.
“Many youngsters who find themselves in care have never experienced the comfort and routine which many of us take for granted. Family units provide fostered and adopted children with an incredible sense of belonging and support.
“While we rightly praise foster and adoptive parents, it’s also really important to recognise the influence that wider members of the family can have, and the wonderful experiences they can provide. This includes the siblings from their new family, as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
“Family is hugely important and that is why we must help to keep brothers and sisters together when it comes to fostering and adopting. There is also a need to provide loving homes for older children.”
While prospective parents do need to be over the age of 21, someone’s age and health does not exclude them from fostering or adopting as long as they are fit enough to cope with the demands of parenting.
Being disabled is not a barrier either – in fact experience of disability can sometimes be an advantage.
Adoptive parents can be single, married or unmarried and from any ethnic or religious background. It doesn’t matter if they are employed or on benefits, a homeowner or living in rented accommodation.
People from heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender communities are also encouraged to think about becoming adoptive parents.
Councillor Mellen added: “Helpful and experienced staff from the Council are on hand to offer guidance at every step of the process and this professional support will continue for those adoptive parents who provide a loving home for a local children or sibling group.
“We understand that taking the decision to become an adoptive or foster parent is a life-changing one for both parents and children, and we will be there alongside you throughout.”
National Adoption Week 2017 runs from 16 to 22 October.
There is an adoption information evening taking place at Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, on Wednesday 1 November from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Anyone interested in finding out more about adoption should come along.