Many children who need adoptive families have experienced some degree of neglect, and/or physical, emotional or sexual abuse from within their birth families. Members of their birth family may have been misusing drugs or spent time in prison. All of these children will have experienced the loss and grief of being separated from their birth families.
Their past experiences will affect their behaviour and development in different ways. Some children will express their feelings through challenging behaviour such as tantrums, and aggression, others may show quite the opposite and be very quiet and withdrawn.
The children we who are more difficult to place are mostly over the age of 5 (school age), can be of dual heritage or be in sibling groups, and some of the children may also have severe disabilities.
Could you adopt more than one child?
Being able to adopt a sibling group will very much depend on individual circumstances, relationship and support networks and whilst the idea of a ready-made family, can be appealing you may want to consider if you have the space, time and energy to devote to more than one child and what the impact of two or more children will be on your family
Nearly half of the children awaiting adoption are sibling groups and are looking for a family who could offer a loving home to a brother or sister as well. Most of these are groups of two children who want to stay together Research indicates that it is often in the best interests of the children that a sibling group stays together as separation could result in further traumatic experiences and anxiety for the child(ren).
The majority of people considering adoption are childless couples who tend to be looking for one baby or very young child and these children who are placed the quickest.
The reality is that many children who are looking for an adoptive family are not babies or toddlers, but school-age children (5 years and up) who may have lived for some years with their birth family , or they may have had to move in and out of Local Authority foster homes. The sad fact is that as children get older it becomes increasingly difficult to find adoptive families for them.
Some of these children will have suffered neglect or abuse and all have experienced the trauma of being separated from their birth families. The damage caused by chaotic or difficult early experiences can impact on a child. Children learn not to rely on adults who are going to disappear from their lives, so they may find it difficult to become attached to a new family and act up in an effort to get the love and attention they need.
However, in a loving, secure home most of these children can thrive when they realise that they really are part of a family.
Adopting an older child is no easy task but with preparation, training and patience you can change their world forever and will be a deeply rewarding experience.
Children with Disabilities
If you think about a child with a disability, what comes to mind? Is it a picture of difficulties and obstacles? Do you imagine that you will not be able to cope if caring for a disabled child, that it will be too difficult, too much of a commitment? You might envisage frequent medical appointments, complicated care arrangements, or a child unable to play or communicate with you.
All of these things can seem quite daunting and may perhaps frighten people off from considering caring for a disabled child. For many people, disability can carry an overwhelming label, which obscures the actual child within.
However the reality of life with a disabled child can be very rewarding. Around 40% of children waiting for an adoptive family have an impairment or some form of special need or disability.
Many parents of a child with a disability would agree that the special bond that develops really makes you appreciate together each personal achievement and amazing milestone.
We can offer support to enhance parenting to meet a child’s individual needs. We work closely with other professionals to help assess the social, emotional and physical needs of each child, ensuring that our families are aware of their entitlements and services available to them to meet their child’s needs.