I have long held an ambition to adopt a child. I have thought about it for a long time and it is something that I am determined to do when the time is right. This is why adoption is so important to me and I would encourage others to consider it.
That is why I am a proud supporter of National Adoption Week which seeks to address some of the challenges of adoption, to clarify and clear up the process for adoption, and to share individual stories to encourage others to consider adoption.
Many organisations and charities are doing fantastic, thankless and tireless work to place children into loving homes. However, we must also reflect on the many thousands of children still stuck in the care system. Statistics published by Coram have shown that in the year up to 31st March 2016 over 70,000 children were in the care of local authorities in England.
The issue which concerns me most is the number of children who are described as ‘harder to place’. According to the statistics last year 71% of children with a placement order waiting to be placed were considered harder to place.
This includes any child who is over 5 years, disabled, part of a sibling group or from a black or minority ethnic group. Indeed there is an urgent need for adopters for children of Black Caribbean and Black African heritage.
Only a small percentage of looked after children adopted last year were from ethnic minority groups, including children of Black or Black British background and from Asian or Asian British backgrounds.
It seems clear that many potential parents may not be coming forward or may have concerns about adopting a child from a different ethnicity or culture. These children have all been through tragic experiences and are just in need of someone to take care of them.
It’s time for positive action. It’s time to make progress on this as every child, regardless of their background, deserves the chance to join a loving home.
The process of adoption is ultimately rewarding for all involved. I know many people who have opened up their home and made a huge difference to the life of a child, giving them a chance in life that they otherwise may not have had.
It is important to be aware that anyone can adopt; whether you are single, married, have a disability, or if you are from a diverse background or the LGBT community. If you are able to provide a secure, stable and loving environment, then you may be able to adopt.
This is an important week to raise awareness for adoption and I hope that you will #SupportAdoption too.