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Social Justice

The number of children awaiting adoption is double the number of adopters

New figures for England were released to coincide with National Adoption Week, which kicks off today

There are 4,140 children in England awaiting adoption, according to new figures, which is double the number of parents approved to take them on.

As National Adoption Week kicks off today, charities have issued a heartfelt plea for more willing parents to step forward and join the 1,700 who can to adopt children.

New figures from the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (ASGB) reveal that, of the 4,140 children, 28 per cent are aged over five years, 20 per cent are from a BAME background and 57 per cent are in sibling groups wile four per cent have a disability.

With family relationship breakdown one of the leading causes of homelessness and a significant number of care leavers also ending up on the streets, adoption can play a pivotal role in offering a vital parental figure that can help a young person find their path in life.

That’s why Sue Armstrong Brown, chief executive of Adoption UK, places so much emphasis on the “transformative effect” that adoption can have on young lives.

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“Adopted children are among the most complex and vulnerable in society as they have often suffered serious neglect or abuse in their early lives,” she said.

“But adoption can have a transformative effect on these children and the testimony of adoptive parents is proof that you can successfully parent children who are deemed harder to place, if the right support is in place.”

Fellow charity Coram are also calling for more potential parents to step up to plug the gap.

Today, they shared the story of London couple Adrian and Catherine* to show the incredible impact that adoption can have.

The pair, who have two biological daughters, adopted two sons through Coram, their first in 2001 and their second in 2017.

Adrian, a church pastor from an African-Caribbean background, has had such a positive experience that he is now encouraging his friends from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds to also consider adoption.

He said: “As adoptive parents, the knowledge that we have provided our two sons with a loving home and family makes many of the challenges we’ve experienced enriching,”

In the two decades in which they have been involved with the adoption system, the couple have proudly seen their sons grow up, guiding both through their GCSEs while the eldest is now heading to university.

Catherine, who is originally from Scotland, said: “Your children aren’t yours to possess, you have them on loan to you, and that’s true whether your children are adopted or biologically yours. You just want to help them get through everything you can.

“I’m really proud of them both. I feel really privileged to be their mum.”

*names have been changed

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