Adopters in Harlow are encouraging other families

Communities / Mon 17th Oct 2016 am31 09:21am

national adoption weekADOPTERS in Harlow are encouraging other families to follow their lead during National Adoption Week.

Essex County Council helps find families for dozens of children every year and is currently looking for a loving home for more than 20 young children.

Many of the children are aged between four and eight years old, or are brothers and sisters that need to stay together.

National Adoption Week, which takes place from October 17 to October 23, is an ideal time to consider whether you could adopt.

Police officers Stella, 44, and Emma, 38, were inspired to adopt during National Adoption Week in 2014.

Their adoptive son, now three, was placed with them last November and the Chelmsford couple describe adopting a child as “the best thing we’ve ever done”.

Emma said: “We were actually planning on having a birth child through a donor and were quite far along in the process, and planning to start trying.

“It just happened to be National Adoption Week and we sat down and watched a programme about adoption, and we just said ‘Why are we bringing another child into the world when there are already lots out there who need a loving home?’

“We decided to find out more and about a month later we went to one of the Essex County Council information events.

“They were quite honest about the challenges you might face and the kind of personality you would likely need and we came away feeling we could do it. So we went through the process and it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”

Essex County Council has an excellent track record of finding loving homes for children.

In 2015/16, 63 families were approved to adopt, while adoptive families were found for 66 children, and those numbers are expected to be higher this year.

The council provides extensive support for adopters, not only during the adoption process but throughout the young person’s childhood.

This support includes:

Advice and guidance from social workers
Peer-to-peer support groups
Coffee mornings and adopter-led groups for both adoptive parents and children
Events for adoptive families, including a summer fun day and Christmas party
Therapeutic programmes, including music therapy, and sensory sessions
Membership of AdoptionUK and other support organisations
Cllr Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Children, said: “We are committed to ensuring all children in Essex get the best possible start in life and our adopters play a massive part in enabling us to do that.

“Many of the children who need adopting are not babies or toddlers but children of primary school age, and unfortunately they can often face a much longer wait to find a family to care for them.

“National Adoption Week is the ideal time to recognise the fantastic contribution adopters make to the lives of young people and to consider whether you could give a child a loving home yourself.”

Despite National Adoption Week and other awareness campaigns, there are still a number of myths and misconceptions about adoption.

To help combat the issue, Essex County Council is holding a special National Adoption Week live Twitter Q&A on Thursday, October 20.

Adopters Emma, Bridget and Heather, as well as Essex County Council social workers, will be available to respond to questions between 7.30pm and 8.30pm that evening.

To take part, tweet your questions to the council using its Twitter handle @Essex_CC or email them in advance to [email protected] using ‘Twitter adoption Q&A’ in the subject line.

Alternatively, visit http://www.essexadoptionandfostering.co.uk/adoption/ or call 0800 801 530.

There will also be adoption information events held in Chelmsford on Thursday, 27 October and Thursday, 10 November.


Heather and David (Harlow area)

Heather, 49, and husband David, 46 (not their real names), were encouraged to adopt by friends back in 2008.

Heather said: “We’d done three lots of IVF and that was a really emotional experience for us. I did conceive the first time but then had a miscarriage and the other two were unsuccessful.

“My friend started on the adoption road just before us and it was her who encouraged me to go for it.

“We said to ourselves ‘Do we want to be pregnant or do we want to be parents?’ and the answer for us was simple.

“It’s not all about getting pregnant and that’s what set us on our journey with adoption.”

The couple, who are from the Harlow area, have since given loving homes to two boys, now aged seven and nine, and have never looked back.

She said: “I’m a great believer in fate and think we were meant to go down this road.

“We wouldn’t be without our boys. They’ve become a massive part of us and are the most loving, affectionate children.

“There are sometimes reminders of their past and the impact that has had on them but most of the time we are just getting on as a normal family.”

Heather also spoke glowingly about the support Essex County Council provides to adopters.

She said: “There are loads of different courses you can go on and they’re brilliant.

“I’ve become more involved in that now and help at the information events and with some of the training.

“It’s a great help and really prepares you for the challenges you will face.”

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