For many children in care, their brother or sister may have been the one constant presence in their lives.
They may be the only person who truly understands and shares their experiences and can help them make sense of their new lives.
That’s why in National Adoption Week 2017 Kent County Council will be focussing its efforts on finding the right people to adopt sibling groups.
Siblings placed together often feel more secure and are able to help each other adjust to their new family and community.
Keeping them together can also prevent a lifetime of longing and searching for lost brothers and sisters.
The need to find families for some of the most vulnerable children in Kent, including single children, remains at the heart of this year’s event which runs from 16th to 22nd October.
Kent adopters Kevin and Chris are a same-sex couple who adopted two brothers a year ago.
The boys are now three and four years old and, one year on, the couple say they cannot imagine the boys not being together.
“Watching them grow up together is so fulfilling and amazing and the thought of them not being together, growing up together, is unimaginable,” says Chris.
“We didn’t set out on our adoption journey thinking we may adopt two children, but now we are just so pleased that we did.”
“It actually makes them easier to parent as brothers. They play together and do special little things like cuddle each other and hold hands when they walk down the road.
“They just support each other. They should be together forever and we believe that bond will stay with them for the rest of their, and our, lives.”
“Our home feels so busy and lively,” says Kevin. “The last year has been like a whirlwind but it has been an incredible journey and now we can’t imagine life without the boys.
“That moment when you know you love them, and they tell you that they love you, it means you are a family and that is the most amazing thing in the world.”
In 2015/16 more than 500 adoptions in the UK were to adopters either in same-sex relationships, a civil partnership, or a same-sex marriage.
This is the highest proportion of adoptions by LGBT people in a year since records began.
KCC promotes equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, age, religious beliefs, disability or marital status.
The only restrictions are that you must be:
• over 21 years old to adopt. Although we have no upper age limit it is expected that you should be healthy and well enough to parent a child through to adulthood.
• clear of certain criminal convictions or cautions.
• a resident in the United Kingdom
Roger Gough, KCC Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, says “Finding an adult who can love a child and provide a stable environment in which to live is so incredibly important.
“Sibling relationships are usually strong for all of us, but when you come from a challenging background as so many of these young children do, you can have a bond with your sibling that is even deeper than most of can imagine.
“I feel that we owe it to the children in our care to try to keep siblings together wherever we can in order to ensure their emotional wellbeing and future happiness.”
Following a glowing OFSTED report earlier this year, KCC has recently been nominated for a national award for its post-adoption support service.
We recognise that adoption can have a lifelong impact on both children and adult and our dedicated team understands the complex issues which can arise in families formed through adoption.
The team consists of clinicians from a variety of clinical and social work backgrounds.
“I am incredibly proud that the post-adoptive support we offer at KCC has been praised so highly and is so valued by adopters in the county,” says Naintara Khosla, KCC’s Assistant Director for Corporate Parenting.
“We do everything we can to give adopters the tools to manage and understand how a child’s history might affect behaviours post-adoption.
“All parents seeking support can access universal services such as parenting programmes, therapeutic support groups and drop-in problem-solving sessions with a therapist.
“I want prospective adopters to rest assured that this ongoing support is always there for them.”
Kent still needs more people to come forward to provide children with a permanent home.
If you are interested in offering a loving home, and are ready to support a child overcome their troubled background, as well as encourage them to understand their identity, then parenting an adopted child can be an extremely rewarding experience for you.
Information events are perhaps the best way to learn more about adoption and the children who need adoptive families in Kent and anyone is welcome to attend. Here are the latest details of our upcoming events:
Date: Saturday 21st October 2017, 10.15am – noon
Location: Thanington Neighbourhood Resource Centre
Date: Tuesday 14th November 2017, 6pm
Location: Oakwood House Hotel, Maidstone
Date: Tuesday 12th December 2017, 6pm
Location: Oakwood House Hotel, Maidstone