Northamptonshire County Council and parents who have adopted children are backing a national campaign calling for more potential adoptive parents to come forward.
National Adoption Week takes place this week to raise awareness of the need for more adoptive parents for children who can no longer live with their own families.
Across the UK 4,000 children are waiting to find an adoptive family, and in Northamptonshire there are 74 children and young people waiting to be adopted.
What is adoption?
Adoption is a way of giving children who cannot be brought up by their own parents or wider family a secure permanent family. Adoption is a legal procedure permanently transferring all parental rights and responsibilities for the child to their new family.
Councillor Catherine Boardman, cabinet member for children and education said: “The majority of children in care are fostered but for a small proportion of children and young people, returning to their own family is not an option.
“There are many reasons why they can no longer live with their birth families. They come from a range of backgrounds and circumstances but all share the need for a secure and stable family to grow up in. Above all, they need the care and support of a loving home to see them through life’s milestones.
“Unlike fostering, adoption means you legally become that child’s family forever. We need to find families to care for these children on a permanent basis and provide secure and stable family lives.
“We’re particularly keen to hear from people who could offer a home to older children and those with disabilities.”
Natasha McDevitt from Brackley has five children, three of whom were adopted by Natasha and her husband Andy. The couple first adopted 12 years ago having also fostered. Natasha said: "I would encourage anyone who is considering adoption to make contact with the council and find out more about what it involves.
“There’s no doubt that it can be a challenge at times especially with older children, but it is wonderful and rewarding and there’s a lot of support from the council’s post adoption team.”
Who can adopt?
Adopters have to be over the age of 21 to adopt. There is no legal upper age limit although adopters need to be able to provide a stable home for a child until adulthood and beyond, so a prospective adopter’s age may affect the age range of children for whom they can be considered.
Adopters may be single, married or living in a permanent same sex or heterosexual relationship. Medical problems or conditions are not a bar to adoption as long as adopters are well enough to care for a child throughout their childhood.
Adoptive parents have access to a range of support, including peer support groups, a dedicated phone line, social and development opportunities for adoptive families and support for adopted children.
Once a child or young person has been adopted, the child and adoptive family can access a variety of services provided by the post adoption specialist support team.
To find out more, visit our website or come along to an informal open evening on Wednesday 6 November between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at our John Dryden House offices.