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Could you adopt a child?

PUBLISHED: 11:50 09 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:34 03 July 2010

WITH National Adoption Week underway people are being asked to consider adoption and the range of children needing new families.

In Norfolk today there are currently 16 single children and nine sibling pairs waiting to be adopted.

WITH National Adoption Week underway people are being asked to consider adoption and the range of children needing new families.

In Norfolk today there are currently 16 single children and nine sibling pairs waiting to be adopted.

These children are mostly toddlers or older children and many have some additional needs, meaning they will need extra time, patience and one to one attention to help them settle and reach their full potential in their new families.

Norfolk County Council's adoption team manager Mary Beek said: “Many people do not initially consider a child with additional needs.

However, after training, preparation and discussion, they come to feel that they have much to offer, perhaps to an older child, a child with some learning delays, health problems - or even two children rather than one.

“We offer extensive information and support to such families and, because of the hard work we put into matching children with the right family, the vast majority of Norfolk adoptions are highly successful.”

The council placed 56 children for adoption last year - most were older children, or those with additional needs.

In recent years the number of children under three waiting to be adopted has fallen, as increasing work is done to support families to stay together.

Cabinet member for Children's Services Shelagh Hutson said: “We would really encourage anyone thinking of adopting to consider what joy an older child or a child with additional needs could bring to their family.

“People can really surprise themselves by discovering the many rewards and pleasures of parenting children who need that bit more in terms of time, energy and understanding. Watching a child's achievements can be a cause for real celebration in adoptive family life.”

Adoptive families come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. Anyone who is keen to know more can contact Norfolk County Council and arrange to come to an information meeting.

Jen and Peter (whose names have been changed) adopted a nine-year-old girl and four-year-old boy last year and say their decision to adopt an older sibling group was definitely the right one.

Jen said: “We always wanted to adopt a child under three as we just thought that seemed like the natural order of things - to start with a baby and bring that baby up. I think a lot of people think that older children will already have been shaped and will find it really difficult to settle, but with our children it all seems natural and they adapted so quickly.

“The preparation work really helped. The children we adopted are lovely and they are really well behaved.”

Norfolk's Adoption and Family Finding Unit welcomes enquiries from people of any ethnic background, age, religion or sexual orientation and from people with disabilities. Adopters can be single, married or living with a partner and may, or may not, already have children.

Contact: 01603 617796, or email adoption.unit@norfolk.gov.uk, information can also be found at the website www.adoption.norfolk.gov.uk.

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