Too old at four? Local adopters urgently needed for older children
Over 4,000 children across England are looking for a caring home, and during National Adoption Week that starts today (Monday 19 October – Sunday 25 October 2015), Shropshire & Telford & Wrekin’s joint adoption service is seeking families and individuals who can give their time, love and attention to sibling groups and older children needing adoption in the area.
The theme of this year’s campaign is “Too Old at Four?” – because it becomes so much harder to find homes for children as they get older.
Melanie Steele of the joint adoption service said:-
“Adopting a baby or young child can seem daunting, but for those who adopt older children, siblings, children with disabilities or those from a different ethnic background, the challenges can seem even greater.
“However, these are the very children most in need of a loving, supportive home – something every child deserves and needs to make the very best start in life.”
Moreover, said Melanie, with great challenges can come great rewards:
“Adoption can be one of the most life-enhancing decisions you make, and giving an older child that start is a hugely enriching experience.”
This year’s campaign will also be focusing on the message that there is no ‘identikit’ profile for the perfect adopter.
“The ‘right home’ for a child can be with older couples, single people, those of different sexual orientations and ethnic backgrounds… and from any walk of life. The factors we look for are caring, patience and commitment. If you think adoption might be right for you, just get in touch. If you do go ahead and adopt, there is support and advice available every step of the way.”
Like many single people, Simon assumed that he would not be eligible – but was accepted. Why did he apply and how has he found the experience?
“Most of my friends have children, and I simply wanted to have a young person in my life to love and care for. Adoption seemed the obvious answer. Being self-employed, it wouldn’t have worked out to have a baby; and yes, there are perhaps more challenges with an older child, but it has really worked out for us both.
“You need to be open and not restrict yourselves to the sort of child you think you could provide a loving home for. If I had known it was possible, I would have adopted years ago.”
Andrew and Margaret’s story
Andrew and Margaret had been married for 20 years before they decided – after years of not wanting children – that they now really would like a family.
“We realised that we had a massive gap in our lives. We decided that we’d really like to have more than one child, and didn’t want to disrupt a young life if we later adopted another child. And we both had siblings ourselves, so we knew the benefits of having another brother or sister alongside you as you grow up.
“We had also set our sights on adopting older children – around the age of five – rather than a baby or very young child. Being in our early 40s, we were a little concerned about our age, and felt that we could offer more to children in this age range.
“Meeting the children for the first time was just life-changing – as it is for any parent. In fact, it was love at first sight… and before long we were a good, strong, happy family unit.
“Our advice? Don’t overthink it. There are plenty of opportunities so don’t assume you won’t qualify. And there’s no harm in just finding out about it.”