The team at Tyne and Wear based voluntary adoption agency, ARC Adoption North East, is celebrating 10 years of creating and supporting adoptive families. 

Opening their doors in April 2014, ARC Adoption North East was created to reinforce the existing adoption services available within the North East region, and has since supported over 230 families to become parents, finding loving homes for over 300 children.

Director, Terry Fitzpatrick OBE, founded the not-for-profit agency, with Assistant Director Lorraine Jefferson, (both pictured left), with a shared vision of providing a holistic service to adoptive families with meaningful ongoing support, following almost 30 years of managing a local authority adoption service.

Looking back over the last 10 years, Terry commented:

“It has been an incredible journey, and one that I feel privileged to have undertaken. In creating a new adoption agency, I always hoped we would make a real difference rather than just exist for existing sake, and for ARC Adoption to have helped to create adoptive homes for over 300 children is quite an achievement and proof that we really were needed.”

ARC Adoption has grown from a modest team of nine in 2014, into a team of 24 people today, expanding its service offering to meet the ongoing and evolving needs of adoptive families.

One of the key services developed, contributing to successful family lives post-adoption, is ARC Adoption’s dedicated Therapeutic Adoption Support Service. This skilled in-house team works to build confidence within the ARC Adoption family network through a range of proactive and informal support activities and events, as well as more formal and therapeutic support interventions when needed. This support is available to all of ARC Adoption families for life.

Kate and Tim* were the first people to complete a ‘Registration of Interest’ to adopt with ARC Adoption back in 2014, and after completing the training and assessment process they became parents to three children (a brother and two sisters), back in 2015.

Reflecting on adopting and their family life since, Kate said:

“We adopted 9 years ago now and today we’re a very happy family of five made stronger by the ongoing support we receive from ARC. As our children have grown, ARC has grown with us, helping us as parents to navigate new challenges – most recently in school, with ARC workers being great advocates for our children.

It is of great comfort to know that the ARC team understand our family and can provide support when it is needed. The stability and continuity of this support over the years has made a positive difference to all of our lives.”

The ARC Adoption team recently held an event for adoptive parents and children on Roker Beach to celebrate the 10th birthday of the organisation. Families came together and built sandcastles, played games, ate birthday cake and ice creams and were invited to take part in a commemorative piece of art adding thumb and finger prints to a tree, signifying the ARC Adoption family.

Talking about the ARC Adoption team, Terry said:

“The success we have enjoyed at ARC Adoption would not have been achievable without our exceptional team, who are proud of the work they do and appreciate the part played by every member of the organisation. We also would not have achieved what we have if the 289 adoptive families we approved during this time had not come forward. With the commitment of our Trustees, Adoption Panel members, staff team, sessional workers, consultants and our wonderful adoptive families, we have been able to create a real sense of family and for that I will be eternally grateful.

We look forward to realising further achievements together over the next 10 years and to taking even more children and families on the journey with us.”

Take a look at our infographic - highlighting 10 years of ARC Adoption

The team at ARC Adoption have created an infographic to celebrate the achievements of the agency over the last 10 years, highlighting key services and celebrated innovations such as ARCBOX, our digital life story tool and communications app. Download the infographic here.

Sam and Paul (pictured below with their daughters) were the first people ARC Adoption approved to adopt in 2014, and their children, who are now teenage girls, were the first to be matched with an ARC Adoption approved family.

Talking about their family journey, Sam said:

“ARC have been at our side every step of the way from our very first enquiry. Our adoption process took longer than usual because of legalities surrounding the children, but it was made easier by the ARC team who kept us positive and gave us advice, often going the extra mile when we needed their support.

10 years later, our girls are a credit to themselves as well as the people that have surrounded them with love, care and advice. My husband and I certainly wouldn’t be the people we are today without ARC and our girls in our lives. Now we have teenagers, they are giving us a whole new set of challenges, but as always, ARC is just on the end of the phone or an email away.

We love seeing all of the other families at the Christmas Party and instead of being one of the little tots, last year our youngest teenage daughter was a princess, entertaining a new group of younger children coming through. Our adoption journey has truly been life-changing and we thank ARC and their 10 years of commitment for always being there for us.”

ARC Adoption continues to highlight the need for adoptive families within the North East and Cumbria. The team is encouraging people to come forward and consider whether they could provide a permanent loving home to individual children or brothers and sisters. There are close to 100 children currently waiting for an adoptive family within the North East and Cumbria regions, and over 2000 nationally.**

ARC Adoption hosts regular adoption information events, online and in-person, which people can attend to find out more about adopting, meet some of the team and hear from an experienced adoptive parent.

If you are interested in finding out more about adopting we'd be delighted to help you. You are welcome to register for an upcoming information event or alternatively request an informal chat with a friendly social worker at any time by completing our enquiry form.

* Names changed to protect privacy 

** Figures taken from ASG (Adoption and Special Guardianship) data collection