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Shortage of families willing to adopt older children

Children over four are statistically less likely to be adopted Photo: ITV News

Are you someone who has ever considered adopting a child?

Well, according to Adoption South West most people who are considering adoption as a way of becoming a parent say they would prefer to adopt a baby, meaning that older children, who are desperately hoping for a parent to come forward, are often overlooked.

It is National Adoption Week and this year adoption services are asking us all to consider the question, 'Too Old at Four?' - as children aged four or older are the ones who often take longer to be adopted, if adopted at all.

Parents Belinda and Andrew Berwick from Devon, who adopted two biological brothers, said that when they began the adoption process, they chose not to discount any child just because of their age.

Belinda and Andrew Berwick Credit: ITV News

"We said to social services if you found a child that was 10, 11, 12 even 13 that you thought was right for us and us for them, don't not tell us about it because we would willingly have taken on an older child and as it happened we got a slightly younger children but I would say don't be choosy about sex or age."

– Belinda Berwick

At any one time in the UK, there are around 3000 children waiting to be adopted. Figures West Country News has obtained from Local Authorities show that here in the South West right now, there are 95 children on the adoption waiting list.

29
Number of children on the adoption waiting list in Devon - with 19 being aged four or more.
6
Number of children on the adoption waiting list in Somerset - all aged over four.
8
Number of children on the adoption waiting list in Cornwall - with 7 being aged four or more.
20
Number of children on the adoption waiting list in Dorset - with 12 being aged four or more.

Over the last few years Government legislation has changed making it easier for potential parents to adopt. There is still an assessment process but it no longer matters if you are married, religious, living with a partner, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, a home owner or if you have a disability.

Holly adopted her daughter about a year ago. She chose adoption because as someone who was born with an intersex body, meaning that when she was born her body didn't fit the typical definitions of male or female, she knew she couldn't have children naturally.

Holly says adoption is open to 'pretty much anyone who is capable of being a loving parent' Credit: ITV News

"Adoption is actually open to pretty much anyone who is capable of being an accepting, empathetic, loving parent and that's irrelevant of whether somebody has a religious stance, whether they have a certain financial position in life that's greater or lesser than others, whether they're LGBT or I for intersex, I don't think any of this matters. Families grow from your heart and they grow from a place of love."

– Holly

If you have ever considered adoption and want to find out more visit www.adoptsouthwest.org.uk or freephone 0800 0832227