- National Adoption Week kicks off on Monday 18th, through to Sunday 24thOctober
- 40,920 adoptions have taken place in England in the past 10 years
- The week will be dedicated to all those impacted by adoption whose stories are often less heard; adopted people, adopters, birth parents and the Children’s Services workforce
- An emotive animated short film, created by illustrator and adopter Garry Parsons has been released featuring real life stories of everyone involved in the adoption process – an adopted child, a single parent, an adopted person, a birth mother, social workers, and family members who watched loved ones go through the process
Monday 18th October 2021 marks the launch of National Adoption Week 2021, which aims to educate and inform people on the process of modern adoption today, with a rounded, honest, and inclusive portrayal of the journey – showcasing the highs and lows and champion all the voices involved in the process that are often less heard. These include adopted children, adopted adults, adoptive parents, birth parents, and the adoption and social care workforce that work tirelessly to get children into loving permanent homes.
To mark the week, the National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group (NARSG) has released two new surveys looking at the nation’s understanding of modern adoption and exploring experiences of those personally or professionally involved. The research shows the reality of adoption in 2021 – the many benefits, the challenges, and the perception gaps still to be addressed. In the South East, half of the people (50.76%) believe adoption is more socially acceptable than it was 10 years ago, yet still more than a third (%) admit they find adoption a difficult topic to speak about.1
Despite the need for more to be done for the public to have a better understanding of adoption, % adults say they would consider adopting in the future and 85% believe that adopting a child would be rewarding.1 In the past 10 years, 40,920 adoptions have taken place in England, the vast majority of which have been incredibly beneficial and positive to the children and families involved.2
A survey of those from within the adoption community, that have either adopted or work as an agency or social worker, reveals 94% think adoption today still has challenges to overcome. According to those from the workforce, the main challenge is how best to acknowledge a child’s birth family, heritage, and culture, and eight in 10 (82%) also believe the birth mother’s experience can be overlooked.
National Adoption Week this year aims to shine a light on the real-life stories of those working directly to help provide safe and loving homes for children and acknowledge others impacted by adoption. Over two thirds (69%) of the adoption community believe the children’s social care workforce don’t receive enough respect for their work. A further nine in 10 (88%) working in the sector admit to feeling undervalued in their role, though 80% would still recommend their job to others.3
National Adoption Week brings some of these issues and voices to the forefront in an emotive short film by illustrator and adoptive parent, Garry Parsons. The four-minute animated film features the life stories and real voices of six people that have had their lives changed by adoption – birth mother Anna*, single mum and adopter Sarah*, social worker Paula, 11-year-old Roman who was adopted age five, 19-year-old Tiegan who was adopted age four, and Sue who supported her daughter through the adoption process.
Tiegan, age 19, who features in the short film said: “Being adopted has been an incredibly positive experience for me. I love my adoptive mums and I have good relationships with many birth relatives, but it is important people don’t look at adoption with rose tinted glasses. Growing up would have been much easier for me if people had a better understanding of adoption and how this shaped me as a person.”
Sarah Johal, member of the National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group and National Adoption Strategic lead, said: “Over the past 50 years, more than 400,000 children have been adopted, each with their own unique stories to tell. While adoption has been an incredibly rewarding experience for many of these children, we cannot underestimate the complexities of adoption and its historical difficulties. National Adoption Week is a chance for every single person touched by adoption to feel seen, heard, valued and understood.”
With 2,100 children currently waiting to be adopted, National Adoption Week sets out to educate people about how to adopt4. Despite the fact most people are likely to be able to adopt and 36% in the South East know something about eligibility, applications, and the support available to adopters, 87% of adults in the South East say they don’t have a good understanding of how to start the process.
Further showing the need to continue educating people about adoption today, in the South East over half (60%) were not aware that adoption should only be considered as a last resort for children after all other options are explored.1
Sarah Skinner, Head of Adoption Partnership South East said: “I am delighted to support National Adoption Week and help to raise awareness of the whole experience from the different perspectives of all those concerned. These varied stories and knowledge will help to build a better understanding of the processes and real-life experience and provide answers to many of the questions those considering adoption may have.”
Sue Chandler, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services said: “I am extremely proud of the work and commitment of all those involved in providing children with their forever homes.
“Every child in Kent deserves to have a safe and loving home and I hope these experiences help to encourage those thinking about adoption to get in touch.”
Visit the Adoption Partnership South East website to find out more about adoption in Kent https://www.adoptionpartnershipsoutheast.org.uk/ or call 03000 420508
A series of events offering insight, advice, and support to adopted adults, adopters, birth families and adoption professionals will be taking place from 18th October. To find out more about National Adoption Week or to seek information or support, visit www.youcanadopt.co.uk/NAW
Please use the following link to download additional material and film content for the National Adoption Week campaign: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ms1zrfrk97xxyq0/AACD0KSt5uvmUG7TnkSzh6Yua?dl=0
NOTES TO EDITORS
For more information, any interview requests, or questions, please contact the #YouCanAdopt press team on: email@example.com
* Name changed to protect identity
1 Censuswide surveyed 2,001 adults in the UK (24-28 September 2021)
2 Department for Education, 2021 https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-looked-after-children
3 Survey Monkey survey of 419 people from adoption community; 413 adopters and 71 adoption agency social workers or local authority child’s social workers (28 September – 4 October 2021)
4 ASGLB data (April 2020 – March 2021 https://coram-i.org.uk/asglb/data/
About National Adoption Week
To view the series of events taking place during National Adoption Week, visit: www.youcanadopt.co.uk/NAW
- Let’s Talk Adoption (18 – 24 October) – Adoption UK is holding a series of events during the week including webinars and 1-1 advice surgeries for adoptive parents and a behind the scenes look at adoption for prospective adopters. The Let’s Talk Adoption activities will provide support and information for parents at all stages of the adoption journey. For more information and to book, visit: National Adoption Week 2021 | Adoption UK Charity
- Family Building Event(20 October, 7 – 8:30pm) – A special event for approved adopters waiting to be matched with children. Hear inspiring stories, meet adopters and adopted people. Click here for more details and to register your attendance: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/family-building-event-tickets-177830163807
- National ‘Adoption Friday’(22 October) – Sermon on Adoption delivered at Mosques across the country.
- My Adoption Family online community event(22 October, 3-4pm) – Experience of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Muslim Adopters.
- Could you Adopt?(20 October, 2pm) New Family Social two-hour interactive online session for LGBT+ prospective adopters, giving all in the inside information about what adoption is really like and top tips for surviving the assessment process and parenthood itself. Hear from LGBT+ adopters and have the opportunity to ask absolutely anything about adoption. To book visit: https://newfamilysocial.org.uk/ event-4518575
- Lived Experience: voices and art of birth parents – Loss, hope and change (20 October, 11am-2pm) – PAC-UK is holding a 3-hour online event, which will feature speakers and short films specifically focussing on birth parents. Click here for more details and to register your attendance: https://www.pac-uk.org/training/national-adoption-week-2021/
- Lived Experience: voices of adopted people – Messages for Change (18 October, 10am-3pm) – PAC-UK is holding an all-day online event with a range of adopted people speaking about their varied experiences and their priorities for the adoption sector. Click here for more details and to register your attendance: https://www.pac-uk.org/training/national-adoption-week-2021/
- Remembrance and reflection day (19 October) This is a poignant time to come together to think and reflect about the loss of relationships, which is the downside of adoption for so many. Click here for more details and to register your attendance: https://www.pac-uk.org/training/national-adoption-week-2021/
Advanced Notice – Free webinars that explore the contribution of the adoption social workers to the adoption process
THE ROLE AND CONTRIBUTION OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN ADOPTION – Coram BAAF
During this year’s National Adoption Week we also want to acknowledge the key role that social workers play in adoption at every stage and the significance of the profession. Three on-line webinars will be available to reflect on that contribution:
- Ethnicity, Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity in the context of matching children with prospective adopters: 17th November 2021
The placement of children from a minority ethnic background has been a long-standing issue for the child placement sector. This includes the broader issues of racism and discriminatory policy and practice, the conflict between the timely placement of children and contested issues of the placement of children from minority ethnic backgrounds with white adopters.
The webinar will explore the issues facing adoption social workers and the sector in recognising and addressing these issues in a positive and meaningful way.
- VIDEO-FEEDBACK INTERVENTION TO PROMOTE POSITIVE PARENTING (VIPP): 18th November 2021 (TBC)
This webinar will provide an opportunity to explore an evidence based early intervention for adoptive parents and their children. The intervention was created in the Netherlands with a strong evidence base for its impact and effectiveness. The Department for Education financed the development and delivery of the model by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. This includes both the delivery of the intervention and the training of social workers to deliver the intervention.
- THE ADOPTER ASSESSMENT PROCESS: 25 November 2021 (TBC)
This webinar will provide an opportunity to explore some of the evidence about this process. There is significant international evidence, and this will be reviewed. Key questions will then be explored about the role of the social worker and what works well and what needs further development.
Specialist 90min Q&A Webinars for social workers delivered by New Family Social:
- Q&A on diverse sexual orientations (18thOctober, 11am) to book, visit: https://newfamilysocial.org.uk/event-4523026
- Q&A on gender variance (20thOctober, 11am) to book, visit: https://newfamilysocial.org.uk/event-4523039
- Q&A on ethical non-monogamy and different relationship structures (22ndOctober, 11am) to book, visit: https://newfamilysocial.org.uk/event-4523052
Please note you do need to be a member of New Family Social either personally or as an agency
National Adoption Week Podcast:
For the National Adoption Week episode of the #YouCanAdopt podcast, campaign supporter Matt Barbet sits down with Mark Owers, expert in the field, and Chair of the National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group, to answer questions received from the community on adoption. Mark has two adopted children of his own, so knows both professionally and personally the ins and outs and ups and downs of the adoption journey.
In the episode, Mark talks about the adoption process, eligibility, matching and contact with birth families as well as how adoption has changed and improved over the last decade, and why it is so important that all voices of those impacted by adoption are heard.
To listen to the latest #YouCanAdopt podcast visit: www.youcanadopt.co.uk/podcasts
National Adoption Week can be very difficult for birth parents and extended family members who have experienced separation from a child by adoption. If you need help or support organisations like PAC-UK PAC-UK | Adoption & Permanency: Advice, Support, Counselling & Training (Tel: 020 7284 5879) or Family Rights Group Home – Family Rights Group (frg.org.uk) (Tel: 0808 801 0366) may be able to assist, or help you find a local service or support group.
An adopted child grows up and may need advice and support at certain key stages through childhood and adulthood about issues arising from their adoption. PAC-UK | Adoption & Permanency: Advice, Support, Counselling & Training (Tel: 020 7284 5879) may provide support in your region; if not, your regional adoption agency or voluntary adoption agency may be able signpost to suitable support.
About the research
Independent survey providers Censuswide surveyed 2,001 people across the UK, between 24th – 28 September 2021.
NARSG surveyed 419 people via Survey Monkey between 28th September and 4th October 2021. Of these 413 have adopted and 71 work as adoption agency social workers or local authority children’s social workers.