A Life Less Ordinary

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Adoption Matters is delighted to support the latest campaign from YouCanAdopt – A Life Less Ordinary highlighting the need for more adopters for children who wait the longest.


You Can Adopt has launched ‘A Life Less Ordinary’, a new campaign to find parents for children waiting longest to be adopted. With latest data revealing there are enough prospective adopters for most children waiting to be adopted, the campaign is focused on finding the right adopters for specific groups of children that face the greatest delays in finding a home. These include children aged five or over, children with additional and/or complex needs, brother and sister groups, and those from an ethnic minority background.

These groups represent 65% (1,220) of the 1,890 children currently waiting to be adopted in England, according to the most recent data from the ASGLB (Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board, 2021/22). Further, 760 children in these groups have been waiting for 18 months or longer to be placed.

Compared to children without these characteristics:

  • Children over 5 wait 13 months longer to be adopted from care
  • Children with a disability wait11 months longer
  • Children in brother and sister groups wait 11 months longer
  • Children from an ethnic minority (excluding white minorities) wait 3 months longer

Adam and Daniyal

Adam and Daniyal from Newcastle, who also feature in the film, are adoptive parents to 2-year old Samad, who is from a South Asian background. They said:

“With regards to adopting a child from an ethnic minority background, we see it as a definite positive because you’re bringing something extra into your family that you might not have otherwise been able to experience. It just enhances our relationship with our son – to learn and understand his heritage. It means we don’t just get to celebrate Christmas and Easter, we get Eid too, and that really enriches our family life.”


Malcom and Shelley

Malcolm and Shelley, from County Durham, who feature in the film, are parents to brothers Kieron and Tyler (who they adopted aged 4 and 5), and Courtney, who they adopted aged 3. They said:

“When we adopted siblings, we always say it brought twice the fun into our lives. They need each other and love each other, and we wouldn’t have wanted to split them up. Then when we adopted Courtney a few years later, it definitely got a bit noisier in our house! We are so honoured to be able to look after our daughter, who has additional physical needs, and see how she has gone above and beyond what might have been expected of her. For anybody adopting a child with special needs, there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t lead a fulfilling and wonderful life. You’re giving them a future they might otherwise not have had. It can be challenging, but we just get on with it and adapt as a family!”

As part of the ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ campaign, new data from You Can Adopt shows that nearly a third (31%) of people in England would consider adopting a child. However, showing the need for adopters to come forward specifically for groups waiting longest, the majority are most open to adopting a child aged between 1 and 4 (88%); nearly four in ten (39%) wouldn’t adopt a child with additional needs, and one in four (26%) wouldn’t adopt a brother and sister group.

The survey also reveals perceptions, practical challenges, and barriers around adopting these groups. 42% didn’t feel they had the skills to adopt a child with additional needs and 1 in 6 (17%) would feel overwhelmed by adopting a brother and sister group. Cost and lack of space at home were also concerns around adopting children from across all groups.

While at first people may not feel confident to adopt brothers and sisters, older children, or those with additional needs, parents of adopted children have emphasised they have many of the same everyday needs and qualities as any other child.

However, over half (51%) said they would be more likely to consider adopting a child from one of these groups if they knew about the range of support available. The survey also showed that respondents believed the most important criteria were to be ‘patient’, ‘loving’ and ‘kind’ to give these children who wait longest a home.

Do you want a Life Less Ordinary?

If you’ve ever considered adopting and want to find out more about the children who wait the longest - download an information pack now to start your journey to a Life Less Ordinary!

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Statistics / Sources:

  1. ASGLB Data: ASGLB Quarterly Data Collection, Q3 2021/22. Produced by the Children’s and Social Care Secretariat, delivered by Coram-I.
  2. Survey conducted by Opinion Matters with 2,015 adults aged 16 and over in England between 13-17 May 2022.
  3. Adoption Network Survey: Conducted with 516 respondents on SurveyMonkey: adopters, potential adopters and those who work in adoption services between 19-25 May