Neglect and abuse account for 70% of cases where adoption is decided on as the best option for a child, but of those 2,105 people in the UK surveyed by YouGov, over three in five (61%) underestimated the significance of these factors.
The research, which was carried out to coincide with the first ever Big Adoption Day run by independent adoption agencies in England, also showed that most people (24%) surveyed underestimated the number of children adopted last year, putting the figure at 2,500 children rather than at the actual 5,000.
And, when given a list of the reasons why children are taken into care, two in five (43%) believed that having no parents to provide for the child would be one of the top three reasons when it is in fact one of the least common – the most common being neglect and abuse.
Adoption has changed significantly over the past twenty years, as have the children who wait to be adopted. They are primarily not “orphans”, nor children placed for adoption because of societal pressure on their unmarried mothers. Children are taken into care primarily because, sadly and for various reasons, they are not safe at home. For some children where there is no realistic chance of returning home and being cared for safely, adoption is decided by the courts to be the best option for their long term stability and security.
There is a continuing strong need for children to be adopted and to identify adopters who can help them to recover from their early experiences. Independent Adoption Agencies have a successful track record of bringing together children waiting to be adopted with adoptive parents and helping the new family bond.
Jeanne Kaniuk OBE, Managing Director of Coram Adoption said: “We are looking for parents who can understand and appreciate the challenges that so many of these children have experienced in their lives and provide the love and security children need in order to recover and form strong and healthy relationships and that children who have been adopted in the past tell us made all the difference to their lives.”
On Wednesday 16th March, there will be over 30 Big Adoption Day events across England, where prospective adopters attending will have the opportunity to meet adoption experts in an informal and friendly environment and further information can be found at First4adoption.org.uk/bigadoptiondayevents. As well as being able to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the adoption process, potential adopters will also have an opportunity to find out more about the support services offered by each agency to help families bond and find out more about the needs of children who are waiting to be adopted.