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Adoption: Recognising the challenges

FAMILY LIFE: Sibling pairs are awaiting homes

THERE ARE are over 2000 children in England who need to be adopted. According to new information released to mark National Adoption Week (starting today, October 16, until 22), 61% of these children are brothers and sisters.

Figures from national adoption information service, First4Adoption, based on the latest government information, show that sibling groups of two or more significantly outnumber single children awaiting a 'forever family'.

The new research, by Adoption Match and based on data from the Adoption Register for England also reveals that:

58% of those sibling groups awaiting adoption are children aged four and over

55% of these groups awaiting adoption are made-up of boys

24% of the siblings groups awaiting adoption are black and minority ethnic (BAME) children.

Gemma Gordon-Johnson, Head of Service for First4Adoption explains, “It is often in the best interests of the children that a sibling group finds a family together rather than experience further trauma by being separated. This presents an extra challenge for social workers and these factors account for the high proportion of siblings across England waiting for an adoptive family”.

TWO'S COMPANY: Adopted siblings benefit from staying together

Gordon-Johnson also stresses the importance of recognising the challenges that can come with adopting children who have had a difficult start to their lives:

“Most children who need adoptive families have been removed from their birth families by the courts because their parents and wider families were unable to provide the care they need. The children will have suffered loss and separation in their young lives, even when adopted shortly after birth. Many have lived through more damaging experiences of neglect and abuse and subsequently develop coping mechanisms and behaviour that means they find it more difficult to form relationships.

"Adoption can be the most rewarding experience you’ll ever have. But, it takes a very special kind of person to meet the challenge”.


Birmingham-based couple, Nina and Eddie began to explore adoption after a string of failed attempts to conceive naturally. They eventually adopted Jayden and Daniel, aged five and seven respectively.

“We always wanted to be parents” says Nina.

“We were both approaching 40 and felt we couldn’t wait any longer, so we decided to look into adoption and create the family we so desperately wanted. Because we both come from big families, we always knew we’d like more than one child. Adopting was the best decision we’ve ever made”.

“There are lots of misconceptions about the process” adds Eddie.

“If you’re interested in adopting, go into it with an open mind. We found it to be a very positive experience and much quicker than we first thought. It took less than a year before we welcomed the boys into our home and family. It’s been wonderful to watch them grow-up and enjoy so many memorable moments together”.

Completing their family with siblings worked for Nina and Eddie but the decision to adopt more than one child very much depends on the individual and their circumstances. The idea of a ready-made family, only going through the adoption process once and enabling children to stay with their brothers and sisters may be very appealing.

Gordon-Johnson is keen to hear from anyone who would like to find out more:

“There’s no denying that having more than one child comes with real challenges but it also has advantages and brings great rewards. If you think adoption could be right for you and your family, we’d love to hear from you”.

First4Adoption – the national adoption information service – welcomes enquiries from anyone who could potentially offer children awaiting adoption a safe and loving home.

Did you know that single people, those who already have children, people in rented accommodation, members of the lesbian, gay or transgender communities and those over 40 are all able to adopt? In 2017 it’s also quicker and easier to adopt than ever before. The process to approve adopters only takes six months.

The First4Adoption telephone informational line offers free and confidential advice on 0300 222 0022 (10am-6pm Monday-Friday), or via:

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