Is adoption the right option?
After watching a programme on the BBC on adoption, ‘The truth about adoption’, it made me question how the lives of 65,000 children in care would change. The issue that arose from the programme was the feeling of ‘loss’ when children are moved from one place to another. I kept wondering is adoption the right way? Is it correct to think that the care system is failing children? I know from my personal experiences that the lack of stability left me feeling isolated. In some ways I feel that as a society we have settled for the care system and we have stopped looking for a better solution.
People often underestimate the importance of stability, especially to a child. When a child is stable they are able to love, to feel safe, to connect, to have an emotional connection. Can we honestly guarantee stability to a child whilst in care? As a child in care I never truly felt like I belonged, I lived on the edge because this family wasn’t my family and I could move at any point. Adoption gives this back to children. It allows them to feel normal again. It gives them hope.
Martin Narey, ministerial advisor on adoption, states that ‘Adoption is by far and away the most effective intervention we can make for a child.’ Narey argues that adoption works but it is often not encouraged, which might explain why in 2010, there were 70 successful adoptions for children under the age of one compared to 4,000 in 1976. It seems that for many children the journey ends in care; however statistics show that children in care are more likely to have mental health issues, be a teenage parent, or end up homeless. Is that the best that we can do? Would you wish that for your own child?
The problem with adoption is the length of time it takes to get children adopted. It may be off putting for potential adoptive parents, but also by that time a child has grown up, and they might be too old to be considered by the prospective parents. There are also other wounds that might come with adoption such as the separation of siblings. I don’t think adoption is for every child but it should be an option that should be explored with children in care, and in some cases the bond with the birth family is important to the child and they might not want to lose it.
I was adopted as a baby; this is whilst I lived in Kenya. My adoption saved my life, without it I am not sure where I would have ended. My adoption gave me a place I can call home and people I can refer to as my family. I believe that not all children born in this world are lucky enough to have a ready made family, but sometimes it’s enough to know that I have someone by my side.
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