More than 110 people have asked about becoming adopters since Calderdale Council launched its recruitment campaign in July 2013. In January 2014 alone, 25 people registered their interest.
This is really pleasing, but we always need more people to come forward – there is a national shortage of adoptive families, and Calderdale is no exception. We are continuing to address this through a range of communications, including posters, adverts, events and social media marketing.
If you’re thinking about becoming an adopter and would like to find out more, come along to one of our information evenings – the next ones are on Thursday 27 February and Thursday 27 March 2014. You can learn about the adoption process, ask questions on a one-to-one basis and talk to experienced adopters. The sessions are held on the last Thursday of every month at Heath Training Centre, Halifax, from 5.15pm to 7pm. They are very popular, so please book a place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01422 266003.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Megan Swift, said:
“Over the last few years we have recognised the need for more adopters in Calderdale. So last summer we launched a new campaign to increase the number of people adopting children in the borough. So far this has been really successful – the amount of enquiries has increased to over 100, and we’re on target to more than double the number of approved carers compared to last year.
“We understood that people may have been put off by lengthy timescales in previous years, so we listened to feedback and worked hard to streamline the way we recruit and assess adoptive parents. Now it only takes an average of six months from starting the assessment process to becoming an approved adopter. During that time, people learn more about the rewards and challenges of adopting a child and receive continued support from our experienced adoption team. We also offer preparation training for all our adoptive families, and ongoing adoption support services.
“For many people adoption is a way of building their ‘hoped for’ family, or for parents to extend their family further. And we know that adoption can lead to great outcomes for children and young people.”
This has definitely been the case for 18-year-old Ashley from Calderdale, who was adopted from the age of three and is now preparing for a career in the military police and helps to promote adoption at the Council’s Preparation to Adopt sessions.
“The realisation that I was adopted first hit me when I was nine, when my adoptive parents decided to adopt again. As strange as it sounds, I forgot that I was adopted. I was in a loving family – that was just the norm. To me, my adoptive parents are my mum and dad.
“At that time I went through feelings of confusion and curiosity. I started thinking ‘What would my life be like if I wasn’t adopted?’ and Calderdale Council’s adoption team really supported me through it. They were amazing and gave me lots of advice. They’re always there for me.
“I’ve also got a great relationship with my adoptive parents; we’re really close. They raised me, gave me confidence and helped shape who I am today. They’re brilliant and so supportive. I would definitely consider adopting in the future. I want other people to have the opportunities that my parents have given me.
“I regularly help out at Calderdale Council’s Preparation to Adopt sessions for people considering becoming adopters. I tell them about my experiences, help to dispel myths and encourage them to adopt. One thing I’m keen to get across is that I’m determined not to be defined as being adopted. It’s just a little part of me. It’s like being anyone else but with two families. I’m me.
“My message to young people being adopted is ‘grab it with both hands, embrace it, accept it, make it work and don’t be ashamed’.
“To people thinking of adopting, I’d say ‘please adopt! Take that leap of faith, make the enquiry, go to an information session and find out what adopting is like. You could change someone’s life.’”
Interested in adoption?
Complete an enquiry form at www.calderdale.gov.uk/adoption or talk to the Council on 01422 266003.