An adoption charity is looking for people from across Sussex to consider becoming adoptive parents.
Parents And Children Together (PACT) is hoping to dispel some of the myths surrounding adoption in the hope that more people will come forward to provide a loving, safe and secure home for some of the thousands of children in care.
PACT is an experienced and committed voluntary adoption agency which has been creating and supporting adoptive families across Sussex for more than six years and has been supporting families across the south east since 1911.
PACT is looking for people from all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. Last year more than a quarter of PACT adopters identified as black and 31 per cent were from the LGBT+ community.
Figures announced last month by the national You Can Adopt campaign included that nearly a third of people (31 per cent) believed that they wouldn’t be eligible to adopt. Yet there are actually very few barriers.
Jo Auburn, PACT’s Brighton and Sussex Adoption Team Manager, said: “PACT is focused on finding more great adopters from the Brighton and Sussex area and is looking for all types of people interested in finding out more about adoption.
“During the current pandemic we have adapted all our services to avoid delays in bringing our families together.
“We are currently running frequent online information events so people can find out more about adoption, the children waiting for families, the process and the positives about adopting through PACT as an agency.
“You will hear from a PACT social worker and a PACT adopter about all aspects of adoption and they will answer any questions you have, helping to dispel some of the myths surrounding becoming an adopter.”
Sussex couple Mark and Laurence adopted siblings Cait* and Oliver*, aged eight and six, through PACT in 2016.
The couple said they chose to adopt through PACT because of the support and training it offered before, during and post adoption and because of the agency’s experience of placing children with LGBT+ adopters.
They said: “We had an absolutely amazing social worker who led us through the whole preparation process. We had weekly sessions that we took at our own pace to prepare to become adopters.
“The training and social events provided through PACT enabled us to meet with other potential adopters going through the same process and also experienced adopters, which we found incredibly valuable and supportive.
”We also learnt a lot about each other, how we were brought up, our strengths and challenges – all of which has made us stronger parents.
“We no longer have quiet lives or lie-ins but this has been replaced with our beautiful family and all the experiences that go with that.”
Anne is a single adopter who brought her daughter Maya* home in May 2019 when she was 13 months old. Maya’s adoption was legalised four months later in September 2019.
Anne works as a children’s nurse and has always wanted to be a mum but never found the right person to settle down and start a family with.
As time went on, she knew the likelihood of having a birth child was decreasing and when she turned 40, she started to seriously consider adopting a child.
She said: “Adoption seemed the obvious choice to find a way of fulfilling my dream.
“I had heard many stories both good and bad about the adoption process and I’m pleased to say I found it all pretty straightforward and much less invasive than I had been expecting.”
“There have been so many highlights – from watching her learn to clap, wave, point, crawl, walk and now learning to talk.
“The first time she said ‘mummy’ was magic, along with ‘cuddles’ and ‘love you’. Our first mini holiday to Bournemouth was super special and our first Christmas together was amazing too.
“Seeing her joy at mastering new skills and exploring the world has been just amazing. Seeing her thrive and catch up and being so settled and secure is more than I ever hoped to achieve in this first year.
“She has also been completely loved, accepted and adored by my family and friends, which has just made me realise how my decision to adopt was completely the right thing to do.”
PACT is appealing to anyone who feels they could offer a secure and loving family to a child or children to get in touch to find out more.
PACT has a downloadable Guide to Adoption on its website at www.pactcharity.org. Or you can speak to the enquiries team and book a place at an online information event by calling 0300 456 4800.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.