The majority of people considering adoption are couples who do not have children and would like a baby or very young child. This means that often the children placed with a family the quickest are individual young children. However, there are many children who fall outside this category waiting to find a family.
Every child is unique and will come with their own unique personalities, behaviours and traits. This page aims to inform you about some of the children who wait the longest. The children are divided into four broad groups to help you consider what could be right for you. This has been done to support you in your thinking and should not take away all the wonderful diverse attributes that are a part of every child.
Like all children looking for a family, children waiting the longest have had a tough start to life and are looking for a family to love them. If you feel that this might be you please contact us.
Older Children (Aged 4 and over)
Many children looking for families are not babies or toddlers but children aged four and over. These children may have lived for some years with their birth parents or family members, or they may have moved in and out of foster homes. As they get older, the sad reality is it becomes increasingly difficult to find an adoptive family.
Each of these children has experienced the trauma of being separated from their birth families. Some may have suffered neglect or abuse and are living with damage caused by the difficult or chaotic early experiences. They will have learnt behaviours from this time which can have a lasting impact, and they may feel they cannot rely on adults. This can mean they find it difficult to build new relationships and they may act out to gain attention or withdraw to avoid attention.
Adopting an older child may not be an easy task, but though the structures of Adopting Together you will have all the information possible to understand the child’s history, experiences and what this might means for them and their behaviours. We explore with you the tasks involved in parenting these children to ensure that through preparation, understanding and patience you can positively change their lives. A loving, secure, patient and understanding home will offer older children the opportunity to thrive and realise their potential.
Find out more about adopters’ experiences of adopting an older child by clicking here
Brother and sister groups
Finding families for brothers and sisters to grow up together can be a big challenge. These are brothers and sisters who want to stay together and have already lived through traumatic experiences, including being separated from their birth parents. The relationship between brothers and sisters can be the most enduring and separation can have a profound lifelong effect on them.
Taking the decision to adopt in itself is considerable, so taking the step to consider adopting more than one child is equally significant. Ask yourself, could you adopt more than one child? Could you adopt two? Three? Four? Five?
When considering adopting a sibling group, you need to think about your circumstances, your relationship with your partner, your family, your friends and your support networks. How will those relationships be impacted and how could they support you. It can be wonderful to think about welcoming a ‘ready-made’ family, but this decision should be measured and certain.
Do you have the time and space (practically and emotionally) to give to more than one child?
Do you have the energy and patience to commit to more than one child?
Do you have the capacity to nurture both your relationship with them and their relationship with each other?
What will be the impact of more than one child joining your family?
What support do you have from family and friends to enable you to manage more than one child?
Making the decision to adopt a sibling group can provide you with wonderful rewards and enjoyment, while challenging your patience, time and capacity. Adopting Together ensures that you have all the information possible to understand children’s histories and experiences, and what this might mean for them and their behaviours. This includes their relationship with each other. A loving and secure home which enjoys the energy of multiple children can offer brothers and sisters the opportunity to thrive.
Find out more about adopters’ experiences of adopting a sibling group by clicking here
Children with additional needs
Adopting a child with additional needs may be something you have considered and can offer wonderful rewards. However, it is important to reflect on how you would manage. A child with additional needs can experience challenges, including academic and social difficulties at school, or learnt behaviours resulting from early life experiences. They can also bring wonder qualities and dynamics into your home.
What comes to your mind when you think about a child with additional needs? Do you imagine difficulties and limitations? Do you see obstacles and issues? How you would communicate or engage? How would you build a relationship?
Thinking of adopting a child with additional or special needs can seem daunting and these questions are an important reality to consider. You may also want to consider if have the emotional, physical, financial resources and mental resilience to adopt a child with additional needs.
If you can envisage facing difficulties, while finding ways and means to navigate them, then adopting a child with additional needs could be the way for you to create your family. If you can acknowledge there will be times of challenge, but you have loved ones and professionals around you who will help you in exploring ways to cope, then this might be the right option.
For many, labels given to children with additional needs can mask their uniqueness. If you can see beyond labels, seek to understand a child’s behaviours and believe that you can parent them in a way that allows them to flourish then please contact us. Adopting Together will ensure that you gain full understanding of the child’s history and experiences, alongside health and educational information, to create a full picture of the parenting needed.
Children with medical needs or medical uncertainty
Adopting a child with known medical needs or with medical uncertainty is a difficult and challenging decision. You may be faced with the prospect of a known condition that will mean appointments and assessments. It could mean operations and stays in hospital, and it could mean long travel to specialist appointments – a situation filled with uncertainty. The same can be said for adopting a child without a known condition but with medical uncertainty.
There are important questions to consider if you’re thinking of adopting a child with medical needs or medical uncertainty. Do you have the emotional, physical and financial resources to manage? Do you have the emotional resilience to live with the prospect of medical uncertainty or supporting your child through procedures and operations? Is your lifestyle flexible enough to adapt to appointments and potential hospital stays? What impact could this have on your current family? What support do you have from family and friends when needed?
If you can envisage facing difficulties and uncertainties, and you have emotional and practical ways to manage, then adopting a child with medical needs or uncertainties could be right for you. If you can acknowledge there will be times of feeling overwhelmed, under-prepared, and anxious, but you can face this with the support and backing of a strong network of family and friends, then adopting a child facing these issues could create or complete your family.
Through Adopting Together, you will gain a full understanding of the child’s history and experiences, alongside full health and educational information, to create a full picture of the parenting needed to enable them to achieve their full potential.