‘ADOPTING a school-age child has enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined’.
That’s the message from a woman who says people should not be put off adopting older children.
If you’re considering adoption, being open to the idea of a child a couple of years older than you were initially focussing on can be one of the most rewarding things you can doCouncillor Neill Young
According to a survey carried out by an adoption information service, four to eight-year-olds are often the ages who wait the longest to be adopted.
Today is the start of National Adoption Week and Portsmouth City Council is encouraging potential adopters to look at children in this age bracket.
The Portsmouth Adoption Service recruits from within 50 miles of the city and potentially further afield, and is looking for adopters of children of all ages.
While many look to adopt children from as young an age as possible, one parent who wishes to remain anonymous adopted a five-year-old.
Karen, from Hampshire, said: ‘I was initially fearful that a child older than three would not attach to me, and I was very cautious as I am on my own.
‘But, when I saw my child at an activity day I felt immediately that they were the one.
‘I think that it is the match between you that matters, rather than the age.’
Karen also found benefits to adopting a child at school age. She added: ‘As they are at school you can network straight away, and you have more time to yourself or for work.
‘They are great fun at five, and just as childish and as charming as you need.
‘Older children really need help, and as you know a lot about their history you have a much better idea of their physical and emotional prospects.
‘My life now is fulsome in a way that I could not have fully imagined. I feel connected, not only to my child, but to other people in the place I live.
‘Generally life is busy and fun and I find myself very content.’
First4Adoption, which is supported and funded by the Department for Education, commissioned a survey through the Future Foundation, examining people’s attitudes to adoption, families and children.
The survey found that people who live with children are twice as likely to say that children of four and over are less demanding.
Last year, 34 children were adopted though Portsmouth City Council, and there are a number of children in the council’s care aged four and above, along with a number of sibling groups, who wait longer for adoptive families to come forward.
The council said it would support prospective adopters throughout the entire approval process. And a programme of post-adoption training and support is also available.
Councillor Neill Young, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for children and education, said: ‘No child is too old at four, however we find that potential adopters often see themselves parenting younger children or babies.
‘If you’re considering adoption, being open to the idea of a child a couple of years older than you were initially focussing on can be one of the most rewarding things you can do.
‘It is nothing short of life changing for a child, and we need more families to adopt.
‘National Adoption Week is the ideal time to think about whether you, or someone you know, could help a child to find their forever family.’
For more information, call the Portsmouth Adoption Service on (023) 9287 5294, visit adoption.portsmouth.gov.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org