National Adoption Week 2023

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To celebrate National Adoption Week (16-22 October 2023) a group of adopted people have come together to share their story as part of a new photo series and short film (below) which spotlights how adoption has changed over the years.

Adoption Matters is proud to support this important campaign to highlight the importance of how adoption has changed, and raise awareness that there are still so many children currently waiting for their own forever home.

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Through these powerful stories of adopted people across age groups, this National Adoption Week, Adoption Matters joins adoption agencies across the country, to shine a spotlight the positive impact adoption has had on the individuals’ lives, and the strides made in the sector to put children and their sense of identity at the heart of the adoption journey.

Whilst recognising the challenges they have faced along the way, the new campaign brings to life the transformational power of a permanent family home.

There is still a huge need for more people to come forward to adopt, with a 23% decline in the proportion of children leaving care via adoption over the last five years – last year (2022), 2,950 children left care via adoption, 900 less than in 2018. 

The latest data shows in 2022/2023, there were 2110 children waiting to be adopted from care. The majority of children waiting for adoption (60%) come from specific groups repeatedly facing the longest delays in finding a home. These groups include children aged five or over, children with additional and/or complex needs, brother and sister groups, and those from an Ethnic Minority background (excludes White minorities). Compared to children without these characteristics, children from these groups wait an average of 7 months longer than other children.

The stories of different people captured on the day highlight how adoption has changed. Historically, adoption was often seen as secretive and hidden, with little information and support provided to help adopted people understand their history and maintain connections with their birth family. Today, we know it is vital that adopted people have a good understanding of their history and reason why they were adopted to help form a positive sense of identity.

The adoption process looks very different today from 50 years ago. This includes staying in touch with birth relatives, friends  and other important people in a child’s life (when safe and appropriate), and maintaining these connections through life work, books, later life letters, and memory boxes, which all help adopted people stay connected to their past. This contrasts with previous generations, where many people may not have even known they were adopted.

Past. Present. Future.

Launching with a powerful set of portraits captured by royal, fashion and portrait photographer Philip Sinden, who was adopted himself in the 1970s, the portraits show striking imagery of eight different people who were adopted between the 1960s-2010s - with each image featuring a backdrop of poignant words that bring to life how adoption has shaped, and continues to shape, their lives. Each adopted young person or adult, chose important words or a phrase that summed up their adoption journey - which are featured below.

Emotional rollercoaster. Empathy. Understanding.

Callum was welcomed into his adoptive family age 4 and has always known he was adopted. Today, he is in contact with his birth mother, which his parents have supported him to do, and will be walking her down the aisle later this year.

Callum also has memory box that contains everything from before and after his adoption which helps him to feel connected to his past and create a sense of identity.


Adoption has given my life purpose and meaning.

Samantha’s family have three generations of adopted people. Her adoptive mother was herself adopted back in 1939, with little information on her birth story.

Samantha was adopted in the 1960s, and later in life traced information about her past. While she never met her birth parents, she has discovered more about them and met extended birth family, which helped her learn
more about her own traits and talents.

Alongside her partner, Samantha adopted their son and knows the importance of helping him to connect with his history.

Life work through books, later life letters, memory boxes and contact with birth relatives (when safe and appropriate), are all now considered important aspects of modern adoption.

Second chance. Progressive. Proud.

Luke, 27, was adopted when he was three years old in the 1990’s. Growing up, Luke had a life story book and memory box which was helpful for him to learn about his background and where he came from.

Previous generations of adopted people were often provided with little  information to help them understand their history. More than ever
before, adopted people now like Luke are provided with the tools to help form a positive sense of identity.


Transformational. Opportunities. Hope.

Nathanial is a second-generation adopted person from Uganda. Nathanial’s mother Isabelle was adopted herself, so she knew the importance of  ensuring Nathanial’s adoption journey was always a part of his identity.

Isabelle created photo albums to make sure Nathanial had visual memories of his birthplace and cultural heritage.

Identity. Wondering. Everything.

Isabelle was adopted when she was 6 months old in the 1980’s. Growing up in the 80s, adoption was not often something that was openly discussed. Because of this, Isabelle didn’t grow up with a full sense of her identity or where she came from. After adopting two children herself, Isabelle wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible asking any questions they may have and is supporting her daughter in maintaining contact with her birth family.


Compassionate. Curious. Sensitive.

Nick was adopted in Scotland in the 1970s, and didn’t find out he was adopted until he was 14. Today, adoptive parents are encouraged to talk to their children about their adoption, and to help them access to a range of quality information to help children understand and develop their identity.

Rise again. Courage. Empowering.

Joy was adopted from Nigeria, during the Biafran War. In her 20s, after moving to London, finding comedy, and meeting friends who had also been adopted, she began to make connections to her history.

Identity, especially for adopted people, can be a life-long journey and is  always evolving.


Adoption Information Events

Chat with members of our experienced team and find out more about our 'Outstanding' adoption service.

During National Adoption Week Adoption Matters is hosting two information events for people to find out more about adoption.

Durham Drop-In Event – Monday 16th October 

Our North East team is hosting a drop-in event during National Adoption Week, Monday 16th October from 11am to 6pm. Pop in to our Durham office, meet members of our team, have a cuppa and a slice of cake and find out more about adoption, the support we offer and the children waiting. Our team cover the whole of the North East.

Our Durham office has been established offering adoption services in the North East since 1907 (!) formerly DFW Adoption, the team became part of the Adoption Matters family in 2019. There is free on-site car parking available. You can find us at: Adoption Matters, Agriculture House, Stonebridge, Durham, Co. Durham, DH1 3RY.

No need to pre-register, just pop in and the team will warmly welcome you. If you do have any queries, drop us an email at: or call us on 0300 123 1066.

Online Adoption Information Event – Saturday 21st October at 10am

Our online adoption information events are a convenient way to find out more about adoption, our Ofsted outstanding rated agency and the support that we offer to our children and families. All that you need to attend is internet access and ideally a device with a camera.

The events are hosted by experienced members of our enquiry and social work teams. During the event, we will share a presentation with you, chat through the adoption process and the ongoing support that we offer. We will also give you a chance to ask any questions that you might have.

Our events last around one and a half hours, depending on how many questions are asked. Joining instructions will be sent to you around 2 days before the event. Register your place for this event here

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Our ongoing support to you

We're here for you to support your past, your present, and your future. Our Centre for Adoption Support offers our families and adopted adults a wide range of services to support them.

Adoption Matters offer ongoing support to their families and adopted adults. Our Centre for Adoption Support offers a unique support and therapy service supporting adoption and permanency and also offer freely available video resources so that knowledge from their skilled and experienced team can be passed on to families and professionals working with children and young people.

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