North East parents back national campaign to encourage adoption

People in the region who have adopted children are backing a national campaign that aims to assure people they have what it takes to adopt a child.

It comes during National Adoption Week, which is raising awareness and understanding of the process of becoming a modern adoptive parent.

There are now fewer barriers to adoption and changes to the eligibility criteria mean it is simpler and quicker to adopt.

But Vicky Davidson, service manager at Adoption Tees Valley, says the pandemic has had a negative impact on adoption in the region.

"We believe the pandemic has had an impact on both increased numbers of children requiring a permanent loving family through adoption, and fewer adopters coming forward, and we want to turn that around," she says.

In the UK, there are currently over 2,000 children in need of an adoptive family, but the number of adoptions in England has fallen over the past five years.

And the need for adoptive parents in the North East has never been greater. In the Tees Valley, the number of potential parents coming forward has fallen by almost 10% during the pandemic.

Adoption Tees Valley finds adopters on behalf of the five Tees Valley local authorities, in supporting National Adoption Week to encourage other people to consider adopting a child.

While adoption activity has dropped nationally, the Tees Valley continues to see a rise in adoption orders granted.

The need for adopters in the North East remains high. During the past year, 300 legal adoptions have been recorded across the region.

As part of National Adoption Week, adoptive parents are sharing their stories to help encourage others to think about becoming an adoptive parents.

 "Adoption isn't put in place because it is the best option for a child. It is put in place because it is the only option for a child," adoptive father Pete Kirby-Bowstead explains.

Pete Kirby-Bowstead with his daughter

"And that really stuck with us about how important every single being made was, including the decisions we were making too.

Ellen and Simon Cross parent both a biological child and an adopted one.

They say the love you feel for an adopted child is no different.

Adoption Tees Valley say they offer support to adoptive parents not only during the adoption process but throughout the child's upbringing.