National Adoption Week
By OnePlusOne, 07 November 2012 Parenting
The number of toddlers and young children being adopted in the UK has risen to its highest level for 35 years, but figures show that the number of older children and babies being adopted has hit a record low.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), over 4,700 children were formally adopted in England and Wales in 2011, up 6% on the previous year. Almost two thirds of them were between the ages of one and four.
Meanwhile, only 76 children below the age of one and just 164 children aged between 14 and 17 were adopted.
So why are numbers so low? The British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) believes that the myths and legends that surround adoption still play a huge part in putting off potential adoptive parents.
A UK-wide study conducted by ICM Research for the BAAF found that 32% of Brits thought that anyone over 40 was ruled out of adoption. Nearly 30% thought single men aren’t allowed to adopt and over 1 in 10 (11%) said that same sex partners can’t adopt either.
Dispelling these myths is one of the key goals of this year’s National Adoption Week. Organised by the BAAF, National Adoption Week seeks to get more Brits to rule themselves IN than OUT of the adoption process.
Being misinformed isn’t the only deterrent, the lengthy adoption process is also enough to put many potential adoptive parents off. Earlier this year the government unveiled its 2012 Adoption Action Plan in which the government pledged to reduce the number of adoptions delayed and introduce a ‘fast-track’ option for parents who have adopted before or who are foster carers seeking to adopt the child in their care.
While the British government is doing what it can to place children into loving homes –be they single parents, heterosexual or same-sex headed households – the same can’t be said for the rest of Europe.
“Gay and lesbian parents can often find themselves legally invisible in a large percentage of the continent, putting their entire family in a very vulnerable situation especially with regard to healthcare, holidays or family legal systems,” says Labour MEP for the West Midlands Michael Cashman.
To bring this issue into the public consciousness, independent film maker Mike Buonaiuto has created the short film Invisible Parents. The film, which was posted online to coincide with the launch of National Adoption Week 2012 shows a daughter’s happy memories of her two dads before asking the question: Why isn’t their family legally recognised in the majority of Europe?
If a couple is considering adoption, they need to make sure they have a shared view for the future. To find out more, visit the CoupleConnection.