Think Adoption, Think ‘life changing experience’ : Nottingham City Council

Nottingham City Council is encouraging people thinking of starting a family or expanding their existing family to ‘think adoption’.

Their latest campaign ‘the first step to creating your forever family’ aims to place adoption at the forefront of people’s minds.

Of those Nottingham children in the adoption process* around 50 are waiting for prospective parents to come forward – half of these are in sibling groups of two or more**.

Being placed with a brother or sister can help a child settle into a new family and gives them a positive sense of who they are. It keeps the unique bond that they can never have with anyone else. Siblings who are separated may find it hard to cope with adoption on their own.

Julie and Peter*** have seen for themselves the real benefits of keeping siblings together. They became adopted parents to a sibling group of three in July 2013 – two twin boys aged three and a girl aged four.

Julie admits it is hard work and the sudden impact of having three children come all at once was a shock. “But we can’t imagine life without them. They share a common bond and have supported each other by being adopted together. It’s brought us closer as a couple too.”

Julie and Peter’s decision to adopt came after a few years of trying to conceive during their early forties and considering the IVF route.

A TV programme on adoption which spurred them into action. “Living on the border of Derbyshire, we made enquiries with all of their neighbouring authorities. “We were turned away by most because of our location,” Julie explains. “We attended an open day held by Nottingham City Council after seeing an advert and came away feeling inspired by “a brilliant presentation” and meeting so many people from all walks of life.”

Like many people wanting a family Julie felt the biological and emotional desire to parent their ‘own’ children. “But we were in our forties,” Julie explains “And

knowing we wanted more than one child narrowed down our options.” Knowing what impact they could make to the lives of children was a big motivation for Julie and Peter. “It’s been life changing,” says Julie.

Julie and Peter say they are fortunate to be in a good position financially and have the time, space and love to give. Whilst working full time can be an additional pressure, they access help when they need it and say a support network is important.

“But we can’t imagine life without them. It is a privilege to be given the gift of three lovely children.”

Recent changes to the adoption process are helping to reduce delay in finding loving homes for children in care. The application process is now in two stages and those who meet the criteria could be approved within six months of applying****. Second time adopters are fast tracked to the second stage.

The latest adoption figures support this; showing a 26% in the number of children adopted from 2013 to 14. Adoptions in Nottingham also increased during the same period but greater success has been achieved more recently from April to September 2014 – with 36 adoptions compared to 13 in the same period last year, a 177% increase.

Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services said: “I’m really pleased to see our efforts to reduce delay is having a positive impact both in terms of children and prospective parents waiting less time to start a new family life.

It’s often harder to find suitable families for sibling groups and we are very keen to encourage people to consider sharing their home with brothers and sisters who want to stay together.”

“I would like to encourage anyone who’s thinking about adopting a child or siblings to come along to one of our monthly information evenings to meet the team and hear real life stories from our adopters. Adoption is a life changing experience and these events really help people to gain a better understanding of what’s involved to help them decide if adoption is the right option for them.”

The city council’s campaign features images of different family scenarios to help demystify people’s views on who can adopt. “Being single, a same sex couple, married or divorced should not be a barrier to adoption and we welcome enquiries from all sections of the community,” says Cllr Mellen.