This year's National Adoption Week runs from 15 to 22 October; during the week Essex County Council will be running an 'introduce the adopters' campaign, showcasing the variety of people who have adopted. This not only busts any myths about the “perfect adopter" but also tells the stories behind the adoptions.
Essex Adoption Service is currently looking for homes for 22 children and welcomes interest from individuals, same sex couples, heterosexual couples, any religious background and ethnicity and applicants old or young (over 21).
Julia, 45, adopted a girl through Essex Adoption and she wants to share the message that a variety of people can adopt; “It can be for everyone and it will change your life for the better". When she attended the adoption information evening there were people from all kinds of backgrounds and in various types of relationship – they were all welcomed as potential new adoptive parents.
Last year 84 children were placed in loving, permanent homes across Essex and although the types of families varied immensely the adopters all had the same qualities and attributes that make a great adopter.
Jenny, 53, adopted two boys through Essex Adoption, and talks about the process to approval with praise: “You need to go into it realising you won't be perfect and you don't have to be perfect but you do need to have life skills and good parenting skills. You need to be willing to learn and to grow."
The adoption process can be an emotional one and needs to be a joint decision from all family members, including children already living in the family. On average it takes just under a year from application to placement but can happen quicker than this.
“I would 100% recommend adoption" says Samantha, 35, who adopted a baby girl, “Usually around her birthday or Christmas we get all emotional and I look at her and think what would have happened if we hadn't got her. The emotional side makes it worth it a million times over."
The training and support provided by Essex Adoption is aimed at supporting all adoptive parents through the process and on their parenting journey. Ian, 36 adopted a baby and speaks incredibly positively about the process. “It is absolutely worth it; if all parents went through the training that adoptive parents went through, the world would be a better place."
Essex County Councillor Cllr Dick Madden, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “I have nothing but praise and admiration for our Essex Adopters past and present. They have helped change hundreds of children's lives for the better. This National Adoption Week I would like to say a huge thank you to them all for improving the lives of Essex children."
If you want to consider being part of Essex's adoption community then Essex Adoption Service runs monthly information events for interested people to find out more. Visit the website or call 0800 801 530 for more information or to book on to an event.