This National Adoption Week (October 14-20), National Adoption Service (NAS) celebrates its first five years with the launch of a new campaign, The Parent You Could Be. Featuring real adopters, the campaign sets out to encourage people from all walks of life to become a parent through adoption.
Since 2014, NAS has supported more than 1,630 children in Wales to find the right family for them. The Parent You Could Be is a national campaign led by adopters of different ages, backgrounds, abilities and sexual orientations to help the service continue to successfully match families.
Real people who have been through adoption are sharing their experiences – what they thought before they started and what they’ve learnt about themselves through the process – to dispel some of the myths that are putting people off adopting.
Chris, who adopted his daughter through Mid and West Wales Adoption Service with his wife in 2015, is one of the adopters supporting the campaign. The couple had been trying for a child but weren’t successful and took a number of years to come the decision to adopt.
Chris said: “When we first started thinking about adoption, we had this idea that in order to give a child what it needed to adapt to a new family, you’d have to have special qualities and couldn’t be in full time work. After doing research, speaking to others and then, going on courses, we realised that we did in fact have those special qualities.
“I did wonder what bond I would have with our daughter and how it would compare with if we’d given birth to her. But as soon as we saw her picture and had a little more about information about her, we knew she would fit in to our family and it didn’t take long for a bond to form.
“We adopted our daughter when she was a little older, so she has some memory of her childhood. We’ve had good days and bad days, but there has always been the support there for us to help her cope with her emotions.
“A child doesn’t want material things; they want to be loved and nurtured. Adoption has been so rewarding for me and I would like to encourage others to just find out more before saying ‘it’s not for me’.”
Five years of the National Adoption Service in Wales
Since 2014, NAS has:
- Accessed more than £2.3 million in additional funding to invest in services and adoption support.
- Reduced the waiting time for approving adopters and family finding for children and improved reporting and evaluation.
- Increased the availability of life journey materials to help children better understand their family history.
- Created five regional adoption collaboratives and developed a strong partnership with Voluntary Adoption Agencies. Adding different expertise, additional services and more choice to the service, resulting in exciting new initiatives such as Adopting Together, TESSA and a new Children and Young People’s service.
- Brought the Adoption Register for Wales into the service, providing greater breadth and depth of choice for prospective parents and children.
Suzanne Griffiths, Director of Operations for the National Adoption Service, said: “We’ve achieved so much in five years and are grateful to all of the regional and voluntary adoption services as well as partner agencies which have already made a huge difference to people that are affected by adoption in Wales. Most importantly, however, we are grateful to the hundreds of adoptive parents who have come forward from all walks of life.
“Our goal is to draw on the expertise and knowledge we have built over the past five years to reach even more potential adopters in Wales and ensure that we can continue to find families for children to will help them thrive.
“There are some misconceptions about who can adopt but there really isn’t a one size fits all approach. It’s all dependent on the individual. The main things they can offer a child are time, patience, and security, as well as love.
“We hope that by showcasing our adopters who come from all walks of life, we can help others to realise the potential in themselves to be a great parent and make that call to their local adoption agency to find out more.”
NAS is looking for more people like Chris who are ready to fulfill their potential of becoming a parent to come forward and talk to their local agency about adoption.
If you are interested in adoption and would like more information, visit adoptcymru.com