Dorset sibling groups struggle to find a forever home as new figures are released to mark National Adoption week.
The national information service, First 4 Adoption, have released figures showing sibling groups in Dorset are struggling to find adoptive parents. Over half of the children in the South West (57%) looking for adoptive families, are brothers and sisters in groups of two or more, 39% of these groups are children from the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole area.
David Rafelle from Aspire Adoption, one of the first regional adoption agencies in England, discusses the difficulty homing brothers and sisters.
In some cases siblings are separated and adopted into different families, but is this due to the problem presented in the recent figures?
Being separated from a sister or brother is something that some young children have to face. David said: “Yes obviously there would be a sense of loss amongst most sibling pairs if they are separated.”
But he adds that: “There could possible be issues with any adopted child because most of them come from quite difficult backgrounds. It could be neglect or backgrounds where parents have been drinking or taking drugs.”
Fortunately there are positives to being introduced to a family on your own, though they may experience a sense of loss at first, it ‘gives them the opportunity to be themselves and move forward at their own pace.’
Aspire Adoption can initiate what is called ‘Direct Contact’ where if siblings have been adopted by different adopters, meet ups can be organised. These can occur on a regular basis of every 6 months or every year. In addition to this there is ‘Letterbox’, which is provided to adopters and most birth parents as well as siblings. This is a programme that helps them stay in touch and keep updated with one another.
However David makes it clear that in some cases “being by themselves is actually a better thing for them.”
Further information released by Adoption Match, a national matching service for children awaiting permanent homes, published statistics based on data from the Adoption Register for England. These figures present several issues relating to the selection process of parents, seeking to adopt.
They found 63% of sibling groups in the South West are 4 years of age and above, 62% of these sibling groups are made up of boys and 17% are black and minority ethnic children. According to David most people are looking for children of the primary school age, in comparison to those who are much older. However when it comes to choosing which gender parents prefer, David to some extent disagrees with the statistics that favour girls over boys.
To promote the adoption of siblings Aspire Adoption have launched their own Youtube channel.
Giving his final thoughts on the recently released figures, David believes that these statistics can fluctuate, sometimes by 10% at a time.