Official figures have shown a dramatic slowing in the matching of vulnerable children to adoptive parents.
The number of children given the first step to being adopted has fallen by 24 per cent in the year to March. And the number being matched with an adoptive family, the second stage, fell by 15 per cent.
These staggering figures issued by the Department for Education, for England, show something needs to be done to maintain or increase the number of adoptions made each year.
The thought of there being a drop of a quarter of children waiting to be adopted is sickening. It breaks my heart to read of the growing number of children being placed for adoption or fostering.
I sit here and ponder whether the number of children living in care will decrease or grow. The younger the child the more likely they are to be adopted by families.
I understand there is a higher demand to adopt someone under four because they are less likely to have been affected by the whole process compared to someone who is 12, for example.
Inevitably you would expect to have more opportunity to mould the personality of a younger child. Whereas the older they are, the more challenging it is expected to be.
Nevertheless, I find it incredibly upsetting to accept that these statistics are the reality. But they are. I have never, and now will never, experience what it is like to be in care.
However, I have friends who were adopted and others who have been fostered. One friend who was fostered, says it was the best thing that ever happened to them.
They have nothing but praise for their non-biological parents and are comfortable and happy in the environment in which they live.
Everyone deserves to be brought up in an atmosphere which is safe, warm and homely. Nobody should be in a position of fear when growing up, especially in their early years.
However, many do and others will continue to have no choice but to hope things will improve.
Young people who are surrounded by a strong family often don’t appreciate the importance of siblings around them.
I frequently get caught up in work commitments and other responsibilities which cuts the time I have with my family. But this shouldn’t be the way; we never know when someone will no longer be with us to enjoy time together.
Let’s support those who are waiting to be adopted and show them there are people who can offer support.