Latest figures show there are currently 2,030 children waiting to be adopted in England and, of those, 44% are sibling groups.1 Groups of children wait an average of 17 months to be adopted, which is 36% longer (135 days more) than individual children. More than half of these groups (56%) even wait more than 18 months for their new family.2
To encourage more people to consider adopting brothers and sisters, national, voluntary, and regional adoption agencies across the country have come together to launch a new nationwide #YouCanAdopt campaign that highlights the benefits of adopting more than one child and celebrates the irreplaceable bond of brothers and sisters.
New research, commissioned by adoption agencies and released as part of the campaign, has found that in the North West, the majority (64%) say it’s important to grow up with brothers and sisters. In the regional survey of 220 people, 60% say having brothers or sisters has positively impacted their lives or their wellbeing.4
A further survey of those that have adopted, or are considering doing so, found that a key reason to adopt is to extend, or to start, a family (58%). Despite this, more than a third (34%) of adopters do not consider adopting brothers and sisters.3
Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, Child Psychologist and supporter of the campaign, said: “The brother and sister bond can offer incredible life-changing benefits throughout all aspects and stages of children’s lives. This is especially pertinent for adopted children, with the research from #YouCanAdopt showing the bond can support mental health, emotional wellbeing, social skills, and help children settle into a new family. Because of this, parents that adopt brothers and sisters together may find their experience benefitted by the support they can offer one another.”
According to adopters, the biggest challenges and concerns about adopting brothers and sisters are that it would be too challenging (30%), affordability (21%), and the worry about not having enough space at home (20%).3
While challenges exist, Adoption Matters offers a wealth of support and training for– and the vast majority (88%) of parents that adopted family groups say challenges are far outweighed by the positives. Many (61%) go as far to say that adopting children with their brothers or sisters has been the most beneficial factor in their children’s adoption journey; with benefits including increased reassurance, companionship, comfort, and settling into family life more quickly.3
Adoption Matters Chief Executive and member of the #YouCanAdopt steering group, Norman Goodwin, CBE, comments: “So often we hear parents say adopting children with their brothers and sisters has been one of the most beneficial factors for their family. We urge anyone thinking about adoption to consider the many brothers and sisters who need a loving home. We offer ongoing support and training to all of our families.”
Mike and his wife adopted a brother and sister with Adoption Matters, Mike said: “The best bit is absolutely without doubt the strong bond that they share with each other. Through everything they’ve ever gone through they’ve always had each other – that’s the one constant from day one and it’s lovely to see. Two of them coming at you at once can feel like the culture shock to end them all when you’re new to parenting like we were. It’s a shock to the system but if you weigh up the rewards and counter them with the difficulties it’s not even a contest. We’ve been lucky to be blessed a lot in our lives but this beats them all hands down”.
The national campaign sees the release of a new film featuring three families who have adopted brothers and sisters, including Chris and Phil from Merseyside, Cara and Gordon from West Sussex, and Chrissi and Dave from Bournemouth. The emotive film celebrates the unique personal bond their children have and highlights the benefits of adopting a ready-made family.
If you have thought about adoption, we ask you to consider this group of children and how they too deserve a stable and caring forever home through #adoption.
For more information visit: www.adoptionmatters.org/youcanadopt