Today's figures reveal that only 60 babies were adopted in the UK last year, which means many are unnecessarily languishing in care. News reports and articles are siting all sorts of reasons.
Reading all the articles today about the drop in adoptions of the UK's children in care, there are a couple of issues that are mentioned - the economic climate and a reduced effort on behalf of local authorities to recruit adopters.
My experiences are different. I talk every day to people about their adoption plans and the experiences that they have had. And to me there is only one reason so few children in this country are adopted and that is because....
......the United Kingdom does not believe in adoption.
They do not believe that an adoptive family is good for 'the child' and they do not believe that 'the child' will ever outgrow their unfortunate beginnings. Adopted children are damaged goods and every where in the process this idea is rampant. There is not a believe that children need the love, care and security of a permanent family and with love and correct intervention they will blossom and reach their true potential.
No, children in care will always remain defective. Perhaps they have this idea because they have created this reality. How is it possible that on average it takes two years and seven months for a child to be adopted?? This is criminal, when all the evidence and academic research points to the fact that the sooner children are placed in permanent homes, the better the outcome. On average a five-year old child in the UK has been in 5 foster homes. This has ramifications that go on into adulthood.
One of my relatives is a foster carer. She has looked after 105 children in 20 years. None of them have succeeded in school, except the one child that she fostered from 5 months old until she has just left home at 25 years. This child is now a lecturer at a tertiary education facility.
It is imperative that children are adopted as soon as possible. And there are adoptive families waiting. There just is not the belief that adoption is a positive option. Even from the big daddies of adoption in the UK this is apparent. According to BAAFs annual report of 2009/10 - There were 181,788 unique visits to Be My Parent online magazine. That is over 180 thousand people who are so interested in adopting, that they look at photo-listings of the 200 children that are featured each month. And yet only 516 children 'were linked' with families that year. See they cannot even use the word 'adoption'. They spent £5.47 million to achieve this lofty ideal. Only 14% of this budget was spent in child placement - that I think speaks for itself.
In the last week I have spoken to people who have not been allowed to adopt because of:
an only going financial dispute with wife divorced 16 years ago; elderly parents live too far away; 'your birth son might get upset with an adopted child when he is a teenager'; 'your house has too many stairs'.
A reason to keep a child in foster care forever? I don’t think so.
If you want to know why only 60 babies were adopted last year...I think one has to dig a little deeper. There are the children who need families, there are the families who need children. Who and what comes in-between the uniting of these two entities?
Whenever there is a powerful emotion involved, there is also something else. Dig a little deeper.