HSC NI Adoption and Adoption UK celebrate Adoptive Families
Quote by siblings who were adopted
HSC NI Adoption and Adoption UK are celebrating the diversity of adoptive families during Northern Ireland Adoption Week’s ‘Adoption Changes Lives’ campaign (18-24 October).
HSC NI Adoption is the largest adoption agency in Northern Ireland. Adoptive families are made up of couples and single people with or without birth children and include members of the LGBTQIA community.
A large gathering of adoptive families and professionals came together today for a virtual launch where guest speaker Shelagh Beckett, Childcare Consultant and author of ‘Beyond Together or Apart’ shared her insights on the importance of siblings being placed together in adoption.
Catherine Cassidy, Deputy Director of Social Care and Children at the HSC Board said:
“I cannot over emphasise the importance of adoptive families to our Looked After Children, to their stability, security and their future”.
Julia and Hugh, who are adoptive parents to a sibling group said:
“Adopting siblings was an easy choice for us. We always knew we wanted more than one child in our family. It makes sense to go through the process once and adopt two children. There are challenges but it is very rewarding to see our children who were so delayed in many areas due to their early life experiences, now flourishing in everything they do, and see their personalities shine. They have a shared experience and already at such a young age are helping each other to make sense of their past.”
HSC NI Adoption make every effort to keep brothers and sisters together to ensure their relationships are nurtured and maintained throughout their lives and to enable them to grow up and thrive together.
Pictured L-R: EJ Havlin, NI Director of Adoption UK; Health Minister Robin Swann and Catherine Cassidy, Deputy Director of Social Care & Children, HSC Board launch Northern Ireland Adoption Week 2021.
Sibling groups, children aged 4 years and over, and those with specific needs continue to wait the longest for adoptive families.
Supporting the campaign, Health Minister Robin Swann said:
“As we celebrate Adoption Week, I am delighted that the long awaited Adoption and Children Bill is finally being considered by the Northern Ireland Assembly. We are seeing more children in care than ever before in Northern Ireland and for some of those children who are unable to return home, adoption will provide them with the safety and stability that they need.
“I am in no doubt that the provision within the Bill will improve outcomes for those children – keep them safer, improve their life opportunities and, importantly, a new permanent family with the comfort of knowing that everything possible that can be done will be done to make it work.
“It will also give adoptive parents the confidence that their commitment will be matched by a commitment to properly support them. The Bill will also deliver some of the key commitments in the Strategy for Looked After Children, aimed at providing earlier permanence and stability for children and young people in care.
“Now more than ever, we need prospective adopters to offer a safe, stable and caring home for children who cannot live with their family. Adoptive parents have the ability to transform the life of a child or young person. It is also important to acknowledge the vital role that foster carers play in providing vulnerable children and young people with a positive experience of family life.
“I encourage anyone who thinks they could offer a child a loving home through fostering or adoption to take that step and find out the difference they can make.”
Picture drawn by siblings who were adopted
Adoption UK is a leading charity providing support and advocacy for adopters. NI Director of Adoption UK EJ Havlin added:
“We are delighted to celebrate NI Adoption Week and highlight the adoption community across Northern Ireland.
“We have a strong, vibrant local adoption community with some children who are adopted as siblings groups. To support all local adoptive families, Adoption UK provides peer support to fellow adopters, organises family events, specialist training opportunities, and advocacy services.
“Adoption can change lives and we want to encourage anyone considering offering a child a safe and loving home to come forward.”
If you would like to find out more about becoming an adoptive parent HSC NI Adoption are hosting a virtual adoption information session on Monday 25 October.
To register for this event Call 0800 0720 137 or email contact details to:
Visit adoptionandfostercare.hscni.net. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
During 2020/21, 57 children were adopted in Northern Ireland.
Who Can Adopt?
•Married and unmarried couples
•Heterosexual or LGBTQ+ people
•People with or without their own children
•People with disabilities
•People from any religious or ethnic background
•Anyone over the age of 21 (most adopters aged 35 – 45 years)
How Do You Adopt?
Call 0800 0720 137
or fill out an online enquiry form https://adoptionandfostercare.hscni.net/getintouch/
and you will be referred to the adoption team in your local area.