St Albans mum of six backs new #YOUCANADOPT campaign
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A St Albans mum of six has revealed what led her to consider adoption as part of a new campaign.
A coalition of national, regional and voluntary adoption agencies have joined forces to launch #YOUCANADOPT to dispel myths about who is eligible for adoption, and highlight how there are still children out there looking for a new family.
In Herts alone there are 22 children who are in need of an adoptive family, but many people freely admit to being ignorant about the adoption process and what steps to take to adopt a child.
The #YOUCANADOPT campaign wants to break down the barriers and misconceptions about who is eligible to adopt, including the myth that single people, older people, and those who are LGBTQ+ are not allowed to adopt.
The campaign also hopes to encourage potential adoptive parents to consider adopting children who wait longer, such as older children, sibling groups and those with complex health needs or a disability.
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St Albans mother Nadine, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, wanted to tell her story to encourage more people to adopt.
“Our adoption journey began six years ago when we first met our daughter. We already had five biological children, but we had room in our hearts and knew we had the opportunity to offer another child a loving home.
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“Our adopted daughter was born with a chromosome deletion and had complex medical needs. We initially cared for her as foster parents but it felt quite different as soon as we met her. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just knew we were the right match for her.
“We were told that she may never walk or talk but she has managed both. We knew that on paper her needs could possibly discourage potential adoptive families, but when you meet her everyone finds her so endearing and an engaging little girl. People should not be put off adopting a child with additional needs. You need to meet the child because paperwork can never fully represent them.
“Initially we were unsure if we would be eligible to become her adoptive parents because we are a white British family and she is British Bangladeshi. However, you can adopt across ethnic backgrounds if you are a good match on everything else. In our case the most important matching criteria was that we were able to meet her medical needs.”
Nadine added: “Adoption has completely enriched our family’s life. There are so many special memories but one that stands out for us all is when we were on a family holiday playing in the swimming pool. She couldn’t speak at the time but had begun to learn to sign. As we were playing she turned to us and signed family, a sign she had never used before, and we all just burst into tears.
“I don’t think you need any particular skills to adopt, you just need energy, patience and be open-minded to what the possibilities are.”
Cllr Teresa Heritage, deputy leader of Herts county council and cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “The future of many children depends on adults exploring adoption and taking the first step towards becoming an adoptive parent.
“We need to address misunderstandings and outdated views to ensure that nobody is discouraged from taking the first important step towards adopting a child. Some people assume that because of their age or marital status they won’t be able to adopt, but that is simply not true, adoption is a choice for people who want to become a parent.”
If you are interested in finding out more about adoption visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/adoption. The #YOUCANADOPT campaign is running until December 8.