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There are currently just over 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England, of those and just under half of these are part of a family group of two or more children. For over 500 of these children adoption agencies have been looking for families for more than 18 months. Some of these children are from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. The new You Can Adopt campaign aims to raise awareness about the needs of brothers and sisters to attract a more diverse range of families. Children often are not considered to be placed together when adopted from abroad either, as it is often assumed that most people want to adopt single children.
The bonds between brothers and sisters are important and are often the longest of relationships within families. For most children who are adopted it is very important that they are able to continue to be brought up together. The children have a shared history and adoptive parents have said that the bond can support children's emotional wellbeing and social skills, and also importantly also helps children settle into a new family.
There are some circumstances where children's individual needs means that they cannot live together but keeping that relationship alive and ongoing is important for the children through regular visits and catch ups.
A recent survey of the general public showed that the biggest concerns about adopting brothers and sisters are that it would be too challenging (30%), they would not have enough space at home (20%), and they would not have the time to devote to two or more children (20%).
Whilst challenges exist, there is a significant amount of support available to potential adopters – from financial to practical – and the vast majority (88%) of parents that adopted family groups say the positives far outweigh the challenges. Many (61%) go as far to say that adopting children with their brothers or sisters has been the most beneficial factor in their children’s adoption journey; with benefits including increased reassurance, companionship, comfort, and settling into family life more quickly.
Last year IAC placed three sets of brothers and sisters via our UK Special Programme and we know that we could support many more families to consider the same.
The national You Can Adopt campaign sees the release of a new film featuring three families who have adopted brothers and sisters together, and highlights the bonds with their children have and the benefits of adopting a ready-made family. A new podcast episode featuring singer Sinitta, who adopted a brother and sister in 2007, has also been launched as part of the campaign. The episode explores the unique family bond her children have and hears from another couple about the children they adopted together.
Satwinder Sandhu, CEO of IAC and a member of the National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group said, "It has been amazing to hear the stories about adopting brothers and sisters from the parents featured in this campaign. The film shows just how much all of the children have benefitted from staying together and what this means to them. Of course, adopting more than one child at once brings extra challenges, but it also brings more rewards. It cannot be right that children in family groups wait longer to find an adoptive family, so IAC will do all it can to encourage potential adopters for our UK Special Programme and our Intercountry Programmes to think about what it could mean for them and their future children to help keep brothers and sisters together."
The campaign runs to 9th May 2021 and a second phase will focus specifically on Black brothers and sisters waiting for adoption. Anyone thinking about adopting in the UK can find a local agency via You Can Adopt and anyone considering adopting from abroad can contact IAC if we cover your area, or your local adoption agency.