County drive to shatter adoption misconceptions
A NEW drive has been launched to find homes for some of Norfolk’s most vulnerable children – by appealing for more people to become adoptive parents.
Through a new campaign, to mark Adoption Week, county council bosses want to shatter the misconception that adoption is only for married couples who have been unable to have their own children.
They want to show that single people, unmarried couples and same sex couples have all successfully adopted children and transformed their lives and those of the young people who desperately need parents.
Alison Thomas, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children’s services, sits on one of the county’s Adoption Panels and knows the huge difference adoption can make to children and their future parents.
She said: “People from any background or family make-up can be fantastic parents and can feel the joy of nurturing a child and seeing them grow up.
“Being a parent is one of life’s most rewarding experiences and I am sure there are many people out there that have thought about adopting, but are not sure they meet any pre-conceived criteria. I would urge these people to contact our adoption service, giving us a call could be the best decision you ever make.”
Parents who have made the decision to adopt said it was a wonderful experience. They asked for their surnames not to be given to protect the identity of the children they have adopted.
Sarah and Simon, who live near Norwich, are currently going through the process for the second time after adopting their daughter at the age of 18 months.
Sarah said: “Being a parent is brilliant. It’s everything we hoped it would be and more. I don’t know if it was all the preparation we had, or if we were just very lucky, but we bonded with our daughter very quickly and she did the same with us. She is an absolute delight and everyone loves her.”
Now 36, Sarah said she and her husband were some of the youngest adopters among those going through the preparation process two-and-a-half years ago.
Back then, she says, most adopters were married couples, but she has noticed a change as her and her husband prepare to go through the process for the second time.
Robert and Neil, at 38 and 42, are parents to a brother and sister, aged one and two. The brother and sister were adopted by the couple a year ago and Robert said they are already seeing the rewards of being parents.
He said: “Society accepts that women have an innate need to be parents, but it often doesn’t acknowledge that this can be the same for men.
“As two men, we can be equally good parents and we wouldn’t have got through the adoption process if we weren’t going to be.
“We have had some amazing moments like seeing our daughter take her first steps – all in all being a parent is pretty special.”
Robert said the couple received fantastic support from their social worker and are enjoying the many highs and lows of family life.
Robert and civil partner Neil are among hundreds of adopters who have been matched with children through Norfolk County Council’s Adoption and Family Finding Unit.
The unit, which has been judged outstanding by Ofsted, placed about 65 children for adoption in the last year and 37 of these children were under three.
When inspectors visited the agency earlier in the year, they said it was outstanding across the board, praising the support for adopters and their families and the work of social workers to match children with their new parent or parents.
As reported last month, the number of children in care in Norfolk has surged to a record high of 936 looked-after children – with the predicted £50m annual budget for looked-after children running at a £5.73m overspend.
The adoption service, which is run by the county council, could yet be privatised or passed out of public control as part of far-reaching plans to make £155m of savings at County Hall over the next three years.
Anyone interested in adopting a child should call 01603 617796, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/adoption or email firstname.lastname@example.org