Adopting sibling groups in the UK

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Adopting sibling groups. Girl and boy with their backs to the camera holding hands

Do you have a brother or sister? I have a sister and I can’t imagine my life without her. There are currently 2,030 children waiting to be adopted in England and 890 of those are in a family group. 520 children who are part of a sibling group have been waiting for 18 months or more to find a home. 

Our girls are full siblings although we adopted them four years apart. Seeing how their relationship has developed and grown over the last few years melts my heart. I can’t begin imagine what it would have been like for them if they hadn’t been able to grow up together.

This article has been put together by ARC Adoption North East and looks at a national initiative to highlight the number of siblings waiting to be adopted.

Keeping siblings together

Voluntary adoption agencies across the UK have come together with a joint mission to stop brothers and sisters who are waiting in care from being separated when adopted.

ARC Adoption North East, who works with families throughout the North East and Cumbria, is among 23 VAAs from all over the UK who have together created a guide for people considering adoption containing helpful information and advice from parents who have already adopted sibling groups.

Terry Fitzpatrick OBE, Director at ARC Adoption North East:

“The impact on children in care who are separated from their brothers and sisters to enable them to find a permanent family is huge, and causes anxiety and loss for children who have already experienced a difficult start in life.

“Yet so few people feel equipped or able to consider adopting a sibling group of three, or even four children.

“We are excited to be part of this project sharing first hand, heartfelt experience and advice from families who have already done this incredible thing of adopting a sibling pair or group.”

Adopting siblings. Brothers and sisters hugging

Jennifer and Stephen: adopting siblings

Jennifer and Stephen adopted two sisters with the help of ARC Adoption North East and would actively encourage people to adopt siblings so they can stay together and offer each other support. They had this to share in the guide:

“Our girls came to live with us when they were five and two, and unless you are adopting twins you are likely to have an ‘older’ and a ‘younger’ sibling.  They’ve been through similar early experiences that try as we might, we could never fully understand. So, for them to have each other still, in an environment to be able to support each other and talk to each other about things is really valuable.

“An older child is likely to have more understanding and a unique perspective of their history which is something to be embraced and openly talked about whenever they have questions. It has made talking about adoption so much easier, with the younger one being naturally brought into conversations too at a level they understand.”

Voluntary Adoption Agencies

VAAs are specialists in finding families for children who wait the longest in care. They work in partnership with local authorities to find families for children waiting for a permanent home.

VAAs are independent, not-for-profit organisations who have intensive services to provide families with vital support both when the children are placed and into the future.

Maggie Jones, chief executive of the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) which represents VAAs across the country said:

“Brother and sisters who are adopted together are often the only constant thing in each other’s lives in times of huge upheaval, loss and trauma.

“The voluntary adoption sector are specialists in finding families for sibling groups and being there for them with bespoke packages of support for as long as it’s needed. 

Adopting sibling groups guide

You can download a copy of the advice guide if you’d like to find out more about what it’s like to adopt a sibling group.

ARC Adoption North East

ARC Adoption North East works with families across the North East and Cumbria and is an independent not-for-profit Voluntary Adoption Agency located in Sunderland in the North East of England.

Founded in 2013 the team uses their extensive knowledge and skills to recruit, train, and guide potential adopters through the adoption approval process, in order to provide permanent loving homes to looked-after children.

They also operate an experienced, multi-disciplinary team that delivers a wide range of services aimed at supporting adopted children and their families, which has contributed to them being one of the most successful agencies in the North East region for recruiting families and placing children.

To date, ARC has helped to create over 220 families with 278 children now living in loving homes. If you’d like to find out more about VAAs in your area, head over to the Consortium for Voluntary Adoption Agencies.

Adopting siblings. Two boys of black heritage sitting together

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