This National Adoption Week (Oct 14-20), Kent County Council (KCC) is highlighting the urgent need to find adoptive families to ensure children get the love and care they need.
This year, KCC is focusing on children who due to their needs are more difficult to find families for.
The council is seeking to find adoptive parents for brothers and sisters who need to be placed together and young children who have medical needs.
Sarah Skinner, Head of KCC’s Adoption Service, said: “All children need a loving home and in Kent, we are lucky to have bucked the national trend and have seen a steady stream of people coming forward to enquire about adoption.
“However, we cannot become complacent, as every child is important and even one child waiting for a suitable adoptive family is one too many.”
During the last two years, over 170 Kent children who were unable to live with their birth families have been adopted.
The adoption service welcomes hearing from people from all walks of life, including:
- Single adopters
- LGBT adopters
- Adopters who are married, cohabiting or in civil partnerships.
In return, adopters receive full support throughout the process and after adoption, access to KCC’s award-winning post-adoption support service.
There are several routes into adoption, including the foster to adopt scheme, which aims to give a permanent placement as early as possible to children in care who are likely to be adopted.
Donna and her husband Peter went through the foster to adopt scheme and began fostering a baby girl -then aged two weeks and two days- in February 2018.
In October 2018 the adoption was finalised, and the baby was officially welcomed into the family alongside the Kent couple’s birth children, Joey, 13 and Amy, who is ten.
Donna, 41, said: “We had been thinking about adoption for more than five years. Our 10-year-old was born with a disability and so we decided to wait before having more children. We ultimately decided adoption was the best route to continue to grow our family and when we heard about foster to adopt, we felt this was the right path for us as a family.”
“The adoption assessment and training is very thorough, for good reason, but we were really well supported all the way through the process by the social workers that we worked with.
“I am extremely supportive of fostering to adopt. I tell everyone about it because I think it is the best way to ensure a small child, who is entering the care system, doesn’t have to repeatedly change placements. For us, it has been fantastic.
“One of the most challenging things about foster to adopt was the uncertainty of not knowing whether the baby would stay with us. I spent a great deal of time with our other children explaining this and said to them that even if she leaves, it is wonderful we have been able to love her and give her a secure start to life.
“It not an easy process but completely worthwhile, we wouldn’t change a thing. We now get to watch our three children, playing and laughing together and that’s the best feeling in the world!”
As of March 31, 2019, there had been 50 Foster to Adopt placements made in respect of Kent children to Kent carers.
Kent Adoption will be hosting several information events in the next few weeks for anyone who would like to find out more about adoption and speak to adopters who have gone through the application process.
These will be held at the Oakwood House Hotel, Oakwood Park, Maidstone, Kent ME16 8AE on the following dates:
Saturday 19 October 2019, 10am
Tuesday 12 November 2019, 6pm
Wednesday 11 December 2019, 6pm
KCC is looking to build on its successes by joining Medway and the London Borough of Bexley in establishing a Regional Adoption Agency. By pooling resources, the three authorities aim to become more efficient, increase the total number of children adopted and reduce the time children wait to be matched with a family.
For more information about adoption in Kent, visit: http://www.kentadoption.co.uk or call our initial enquiries team on 03000 422 373.