National Adoption Week - Monday 18th to Sunday 24th October 2021

  • 40,920 adoptions have taken place in England in the past 10 years
  • The week will be dedicated to all those impacted by adoption whose stories are often less heard; adopted people, adopters, birth parents and the Children’s Services workforce

ARC Adoption is proud to show it's support for National Adoption Week 2021, which aims to educate and inform people on the process of modern adoption today, with a rounded, honest, and inclusive portrayal of the journey – showcasing the highs and lows and champion all the voices involved in the process that are often less heard. These include adopted children, adopted adults, adoptive parents, birth parents, and the adoption and social care workforce that work tirelessly to get children into loving permanent homes. 

To mark the week, the National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group (NARSG) has released two new surveys looking at the nation’s understanding of modern adoption and exploring experiences of those personally or professionally involved. The research shows the reality of adoption in 2021 – the many benefits, the challenges, and the perception gaps still to be addressed. In the North East, over half (56%) believe adoption is more socially acceptable than it was 10 years ago, yet still almost a third (32%) admit they find adoption a difficult topic to speak about.1 

Despite the need for more to be done for the public to have a better understanding of adoption, in the North East almost one in five (17%) adults say they would consider adopting in the future and nearly nine in 10 (89%) believe that adopting a child would be rewarding.1 In the past 10 years, 40,920 adoptions have taken place in England, the vast majority of which have been incredibly beneficial and positive to the children and families involved.2 

Terry Fitzpatrick, Director at ARC Adoption North East said:

It is a privilege to work in the field of adoption, and as an independent, not for profit, adoption agency, we are fortunate to be able to share in extremely rewarding and tremendously happy moments with our adopters and children – but of course the work we do can also be challenging. Due to their past experiences, children have a diverse range of needs and some, along with their adoptive families, can need extensive support long after an adoptive placement has been made. At ARC Adoption, we are passionate about providing the ongoing therapeutic support that our growing number of adopters need for their family to thrive. We want those thinking about adoption to know that if they come forward, they will be fully supported throughout their journey.

A survey of those from within the adoption community, that have either adopted or work as an adoption social worker, reveals 94% think adoption today still has challenges to overcome. According to those from the workforce, one of the main challenges is how best to acknowledge a child’s birth family, heritage, and culture, and eight in 10 (82%) also believe the birth mother’s experience can be overlooked.

National Adoption Week this year aims to shine a light on the real-life stories of those working directly to help provide safe and loving homes for children and acknowledge others impacted by adoption. Over two thirds (69%) of the adoption community believe the children’s social care workforce don’t receive enough respect for their work. A further nine in 10 (88%) working in the sector admit to feeling undervalued in their role, though 80% would still recommend their job to others.3  

National Adoption Week brings some of these issues and voices to the forefront in an emotive short film by illustrator and adoptive parent, Garry Parsons. The four-minute animated film features the life stories and real voices of six people that have had their lives changed by adoption – birth mother Anna*, single mum and adopter Sarah*, social worker Paula, 11-year-old Roman who was adopted age five, 19-year-old Tiegan who was adopted age four, and Sue who supported her daughter through the adoption process.  

Tiegan, age 19, who features in the short film said: 

Being adopted has been an incredibly positive experience for me. I love my adoptive mums and I have good relationships with many birth relatives, but it is important people don’t look at adoption with rose tinted glasses. Growing up would have been much easier for me if people had a better understanding of adoption and how this shaped me as a person.

With 2,100 children currently waiting to be adopted, National Adoption Week sets out to educate people about how to adopt.4  Despite the fact most people are likely to be able to adopt and 54% in the North East know something about eligibility, applications, and the support available to adopters, 80% of adults in the region say they don’t have a good understanding of how to start the process.

Further showing the need to continue educating people about adoption today, in the North East over half (67%) were not aware that adoption should only be considered as a last resort for children after all other options are explored.1

Sarah Johal, member of the National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group and National Adoption Strategic lead, said: 

Over the past 50 years, more than 400,000 children have been adopted, each with their own unique stories to tell. While adoption has been an incredibly rewarding experience for many of these children, we cannot underestimate the complexities of adoption and its historical difficulties. National Adoption Week is a chance for every single person touched by adoption to feel seen, heard, valued and understood.

A series of events offering insight, advice, and support to adopted adults, adopters, birth families and adoption professionals will be taking place during National Adoption Week.  To find out more, please visit the You Can Adopt website here.  

If you would like to find out more about the adoption process, the children waiting for families and how we can support you on your journey, we would love to talk to you. Please get in touch with us here

* Name changed to protect identity 

1 Censuswide surveyed 2,001 adults in the UK (24-28 September 2021) 

2 Department for Education, 2021 https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-looked-after-children 

3 Survey Monkey survey of 419 people from adoption community; 413 adopters and 71 adoption agency social workers or local authority child's social workers (28 September - 4 October 2021) 

4 ASGLB data (April 2020 – March 2021 https://coram-i.org.uk/asglb/data/