Adoption Central England (ACE) is supporting initiatives taking place during Midlands Adoption Week from 12 February 2024, to highlight the need for more people to come forward to consider adoption.
Coinciding with the sixth-year anniversary of ACE, this regional adoption service covering Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire is successfully finding families for more than 100 children every year.
Adoption is about offering love, support and a lifelong commitment to children of all ages who cannot stay living with their birth families for a variety of reasons.
However, birth families continue to play an important part in the lives of adopted children and adoption is far more open these days. It is no longer shrouded in secrecy and people coming forward to adopt invariably will be required to maintain some level of ongoing relationship with birth family members either through letters, video calls and/or occasional get togethers.
Brenda Vincent, Head of ACE commented:
“ACE has a good reputation as an adoption agency for the way it prepares and supports people coming forward to adopt. We have a comprehensive training programme and are always at the end of phone to answer any queries or to offer advice. We keep in touch with over 950 adoptive families through our Newsletter and we take time to listen to what families have to say. Adopting is a privilege; however, it is not without some challenges along the way and our services are tailored to respond when help is needed.’
Councillor Pat Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:
“Regional campaigns such as this are always important as they keep the issue of adoption and how it can play a huge role in changing children’s lives in the public eye.
“In reality, there continues to be a pressing need for many cities and towns, including Coventry, to reinforce the message that children of all ages are looking for families to step forward to provide that loving care and support.
“Everybody has different life skills and experiences, and we know that these skills can bring a different perspective and skill set to aid in the development of a child or children who need support to develop and grow.
“Although we have many people locally who do adopt and we see first-hand the difference it makes, we would really encourage people out there in the local community to consider adoption as it can play a massive and important role in improving many children’s lives.”
At the present time there are approximately 150 children who may need adoptive families in the ACE region and with 90 – 100 families being approved as suitable to adopt each year there is a shortfall that urgently needs to be addressed so that these children can enjoy and benefit from the security that adoption offers.
To be considered for adoption you need to be aged over 21 years and you can be single, married, or unmarried, or in a same sex relationship. You can be from any ethnicity or religious background and ACE is particularly keen to receive enquiries about adoption from Black African and Black Caribbean households as these families are currently underrepresented. You can already have children, be a homeowner or live in rented accommodation. However, you must be prepared to commit to the thorough preparation and assessment process, have an awareness and appreciation of the needs of children who require adoption, be flexible and willing to accept the ongoing responsibilities involved in being an adoptive parent, and have people around you who are supportive.
ACE approved adopters Sam and Dan report on their experience of becoming an adoptive family:
‘Our experience of the training and assessment process with ACE was positive – we actually quite enjoyed it! Although you can never really be ready for parenthood, the training courses were all really helpful and tailored to our specific situation of wanting to adopt siblings, including a new-born through FFA. We have a brilliant social worker who is very easy to talk to, and made the process feel more like free therapy than an assessment of our parenting capabilities.’
They go on to say:
‘For anyone wanting to adopt our advice would be to go for it. The process is quite long, but it needs to be, and you will be far more prepared for parenthood at the end of it. Make sure you are honest. If you can cope with it then go for siblings. Keeping brothers and sisters together is an amazing thing to do, but also incredibly rewarding and lots of fun. Plus, you only have to go through the whole process once. Just brace yourself for the sleep deprivation and weight gain!’
To find out more about adopting through ACE, visit the ACE website www.aceadoption.com or call to speak to one of the team on 0300 369 0556.