Torbay Council and Adopt South West are supporting National Adoption Week (16 – 22 October) by highlighting local case studies as well as celebrating the national campaign which highlights different generations of people who have been adopted between the 1960s and 2010s.
National Adoption Week celebrates the good that adoption brings, not just for children who are adopted, but also for parents who adopt and their extended families.
Locally, Debbie from Torbay shares her story of adopting six-year-old daughter Bo with Adopt South West (see below). Meanwhile, the national campaign focuses on a group of adopted people – from baby boomers to Gen Z – have come together to share their story as part of a new photo series and short film which spotlights how adoption has changed through the decades and to encourage potential adopters to come forward to change the life of children who are still waiting for their forever home. You can view the National Adoption Week film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBe95UfXpOg
Over the last five years, nationally, there has been a 23% decrease in the number of children being adopted. Of the 2110 waiting to be adopted in the year 2022/2023, 60% came from groups that repeatedly face the longest delays. These children wait, on average, 7 months longer to find a permanent home. The You Can Adopt campaign is encouraging prospective adopters to come forward and highlights the impact adopting a child could have on their life.
Councillor Nick Bye, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We are pleased to be able to work with Adopt South West to promote National Adoption Week.
“The best possible gift you can give a child is a safe, happy and stable home. If you are thinking of adopting or just want to find out more about adoption you can call 0345 155 1076 or visit the Adopt South West website.”
More information on Adoption
If you live in Torbay and are thinking of adopting or want to find out more, contact Adopt South West on 0345 155 1076 or visit https://www.adoptsouthwest.org.uk/
National Adoption Week
To find out more about National Adoption Week or to seek information or support, visit www.youcanadopt.co.uk/NAW2023
In Torbay, Foster Carers and particularly short break / stay over Foster Carers are also required. This is managed by Torbay Council’s Fostering team, part of Children’s Services. If you are interested or want to find out more about the different types of Fostering that are available in Torbay, call 01803 207845 or visit www.torbay.gov.uk/fostering
Debbie’s Adoption story
Debbie adopted her six-year old daughter, Bo, with Adopt South West. Bo has a disability.
Children with disabilities and/or additional health needs tend to wait longer than others to be adopted. Other groups of children who can also wait an average seven months longer than others to be adopted include older children aged five or over; sibling groups; and children from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Bo’s disability is sometimes challenging, but the joy she brings means that Debbie simply wouldn’t have it any other way.
Debbie has developed new skills and strategies for coping with what life brings her and Bo, but one of the things so important to Debbie is the support network around her.
Debbie said: “My daughter has a severe disability that needs round-the-clock care, and while that’s sometimes challenging, I simply couldn’t imagine my life now without her.
“We take each day as it comes and acknowledge that even the smallest things take time. But together we celebrate every achievement regardless of what it may be.
“I’ve become very prepared! You need to be able to accept that organisation is a key part of your day and that routines are important for your child, while remaining flexible in your thinking.”
Debbie also has help around her as she encounters new challenges. Debbie’s mum, and Debbie’s adult daughters are a huge help in helping care for Bo.
And it’s so clear that Bo loves her new family, including spending time with Joanne, who Bo lived with while in foster care with Debbie. Joanne has since been adopted by another family, but Bo and Joanne still remain close friends, bonded as foster sisters.
Debbie’s support network extends further. She’s made links in local community and national Facebook groups that have members who have also adopted in similar situations, which Debbie finds very helpful.
There’s also a lot of support for Debbie from Adopt South West.
Amanda White is Operations Manager at Adopt South West. She says that while adopting a child is so rewarding, like all parenting, it can of course be a struggle sometimes.
“Being a parent of a young child with a disability is difficult sometimes, but with support around you, it’s absolutely achievable.
“I talk to adoptive parents a lot and they all tell me that their lives now feel fuller and more worthwhile as a family. Yes, it’s sometimes hard work, as any parent would tell you, but it’s so rewarding.
“There is ongoing support from our service, as well as support from other adopters, as well as your own support network of family members and friends.”
There’s always a need for more people willing to adopt children who have often been in local council care. Adopt South West is encouraging potential adoptive parents to come forward, especially those who could consider looking after slightly older children, or children with disabilities or additional needs, or siblings, or children from ethnic minority backgrounds.
“Bo is funny and loving,” says mum, Debbie. “She has the most infectious smile and the best belly laugh. We have not met anyone who didn’t fall in love with her. I couldn’t see life without her.”
“Children with additional health needs or disabilities do wait longer to be adopted,” says Amanda. “And yet all children long for the love and stability of being part of a family.”
You can read more about Debbie and Bo on the Adopt South West website.
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