Newcastle Dad says adoption has brought joy, love and fun to his family
Report by Julia Barthram
A father has been speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees about the joy, love and fun adoption has brought to his family.
Adam Rathbone and his partner Daniyal Daud adopted Sam when he was a baby.
Sam is from a minority ethnic background which means he is one of the children who is harder to place with a family.
Speaking of adopting his son, Adam said: "It's just amazing. He makes us laugh all the time, he's really cheeky, he always makes us smile.
"Keeps us awake at night but in a good way. He's just really fun."
Adam, from Middlesbrough, and Daniyal, originally from India and who grew up in the United Arab Emirates, decided to adopt after marrying five years ago.
Adam said the couple did not have an image of the child they might adopt, believing they would be matched with whichever child most needed a home at that time.
Working with Adoption Tees Valley, they learned that adoption agencies work hard to match prospective parents with children.
Adam said: "We didn't realise we would have so much choice. But we were really surprised when the social worker told us that most adopters want white children.
"My husband and I have friends and family members from a really diverse community, so we were really shocked that some people would say no to having a child that was a different ethnicity to them."
The couple are backing a campaign to encourage people to think differently about adoption and consider the children waiting the longest to find a suitable home.
A total of 65% of children waiting to be adopted nationally are from minority ethnic groups, sibling groups, are older children or have additional needs.
All groups which are harder to place with adoptive parents wait longer than average in care.
Children over five wait 13 months longer
Children with a disability wait 11 months longer
Children in a sibling group wait 11 months longer
Children from an ethnic minority (excluding white minorities) wait three months longer
Adoption Tees Valley places around 80 children for adoption every year.
Team manager, Louise Addison, said: "Statistically in our region adopters come forwards usually from white backgrounds and typically want one child as young as possible, so that doesn't fit with the demand that we have."
The 'A Life Less Ordinary' campaign aims to highlight that while some children may be seen as harder to find families for, they are not harder to love.
And while it may not always be easy, there is a range of support available for all adoptive parents, in particular for those who adopt children who typically wait longest.
Adam and Daniyal brought Sam home to Newcastle when he was nine months old.
Adam admits there were challenges to adopting a baby, especially in the first months but none of those were to do with their differing ethnicities.
He said: "I know some people do look at us in the street and try and work out things but most of the time because they can see us having fun, having a really loving bond, they smile and they're happy for us. So most people don't bat an eyelid."
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...