I have a brother called Steven. We were born 18 months apart. I can’t imagine not having my brother around. Now we’re older and he lives overseas I don’t see him as much as I’d like. However our shared childhood means we share a bond that only brothers and sisters have.
I’m also grateful to have a gorgeous niece and nephew who have bought lots of happiness into the lives of our family. It’s wonderful to see in them the closeness that me and my brother shared. To see the eldest reading to the younger and to see the sharing of toys and cuddles.
…My niece and nephew are adopted…
Although they didn’t experience the best start to their lives they are now in a happy, secure family environment where they are flourishing. They are some of the fortunate ones…
Nearly half of all children needing adoption at the moment are part of a sibling group. Sometimes children are split up to make them more ‘adoptable’ younger children might be split from their older brothers and sisters as long term fostering might be deemed a more suitable plan for them, or they might be reduced down into smaller sibling groups to make an adoption more manageable. For the children the implications of being split from their birth siblings in this way can have far-reaching consequences.
Unfortunately recent statistics from the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies show that there was a 10% decrease in adoption of sibling groups 2012/2013. The National Adoption Register also reported that of people registered with them only 36% are prepared to adopt 2 children and only 3% would consider 3 or more children.
Statistics are always hard when the reality is there are children behind these figures. The facts though aren’t surprising. Fewer local authorities are now providing adoption allowances for harder to place children and with people across the country still facing uncertain times and increased financial burdens the cost of raising children is daunting. The patchiness in post adoption support which can vary greatly between local authorities and voluntary agencies can also be a deterrent for people considering adopting more than one child.
I feel very lucky that I can try to help these children. As Family Recruitment Coordinator for a small voluntary adoption agency, my job is to help find adopters for the 4,600 children needing adoption. Recently we secured a small amount of funding to launch an awareness campaign in our region specifically to highlight the importance of children being kept together.
As with all adoption campaigns though, there’s no magic wand. We didn’t have a rush of people knocking on our door, but we do hope that it’s made people look at adoption slightly differently by putting the children as the focus.
The important thing is that we’re talking about it. We need to keep the conversation going.
Laura Mynett is Publicity and Family Recruitment Coordinator at Family Care, Nottingham