Being adopted is life changing, and whilst many find it to be a wholly positive experience, there are also challenges which adopted people face. Some adults who were adopted as children may struggle with certain issues from time to time and might benefit from some extra help and support, or even just a chance to meet and chat with someone who has also been adopted.
In the Yorkshire and Humber area, support for people who have been adopted can be accessed through our partners PAC-UK.
Information for children who have been or are about to be adopted
Why some children are adopted
All children should grow up knowing that they’re safe and loved. Usually this happens when you live with your parents.
Sometimes, children aren’t safe or happy living with their own family, so we have to look for them a new family.
Being adopted means you’ll grow up in a new family where you will be safe, loved and looked after. You’ll be part of that family for the rest of your life.
Every year, hundreds of children in England are adopted and go and live with their new adoptive families.
Your social worker and foster carer will talk to you about why you cannot live with your birth parents and will talk to you about the type of family you would like to be adopted by.
It is okay for you to miss your parents or other members of your family.
Who finds children new families?
People who find new families for children work in adoption teams and are social workers.
You can tell social workers what you think and feel about being adopted and they will listen and try to understand what you are feeling and answer your questions.
They also help mums and dads, and new families who want to adopt children.
Finding the right family
If you’re being adopted, we have to make sure we find the right family to look after you as you grow up. This is called matching.
It’s when social workers from One Adoption visit families who want to adopt a child. They will also talk to you, your social worker and foster carer (if you have one) to get to understand more about you. This helps them decide which family is best for you.
The social worker will write all this information down and keep it in a file about you.
Moving to your new family
When we’ve found you a new family, we’ll tell them everything about you and your own family, which we call your birth or first family.
This is so that as you’re growing up, they can talk to you about your past.
The adoption team keeps any letters and information about you and why you were adopted in your file so that when you’re 18, you can ask to look at them.
Once you’ve lived with your new family for a while, they can apply to the court for an Adoption Order.
This means you and your new family will go to court for you to be officially adopted.
Keeping in touch with your birth family and friends
When you are adopted there is usually an arrangement for you to keep in touch with some members of your birth family.
You may be allowed to write or meet up with them. This will be agreed with your new family and One Adoption will help this to happen.
Helping you after adoption
If you, or your new parents want some help or someone to talk to, you can speak to someone from the adoption support team, even if it’s a long time after you’ve been adopted.
If you don’t want to talk to a social worker, your social worker can arrange for you to talk to someone who is independent, which means they are not part of the council or adoption agency.
Who can I talk to about being adopted?
It can be scary going to live with a different family in a strange house. If you are not happy, don’t understand or are upset, you can talk to someone who you trust. This might be a teacher, your social worker or maybe your foster carer.
If you don’t want to talk to them, there are lots of other people you could talk to like:
Your Independent Reviewing Officer whose job it is to make sure you are listened to.
The Children’s Commissioner for England, who has to make sure all children in England are listened to, contact them by visiting www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk
The National Youth Advocacy Service, a charity who give information and support to children and young people. You can call them on 0151 649 8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ChildLine will listen to you and you can tell them your problems. Call them for free on 0800 11 11 or visit their website www.childline.org.uk
Support for young adopted people
Here at One Adoption we have a number of support groups which help teenagers and young adults to meet other adopted young people. To find out what is available in your area please speak to your social worker or call our advice line – 0345 305 2576 (North and Humber) or 0113 378 3535 (West Yorkshire).
You might also be interested in joining the Adopteens group which is organised by PAC-UK for adopted young people who are 11 to 18 years old in the Yorkshire and Humber area. The young people can access a chat line, attend activity events and be part of a Youth Council. The Adopteens Youth Council also acts as a ‘voice’ for young adopted adults throughout the wider adoption community by speaking at events and sharing the views of their peers.
There is also lots of useful advice for adopted young people in our leaflet. This includes advice on contacting birth relatives, support and social media.
Support for adults adopted as children
People who were adopted when they were children and feel they may need some extra support or advice can contact PAC-UK who provide a specialist counselling service for adult adoptees.
Accessing adoption records and contacting birth family
PAC-UK is an independent agency with a team of specialist workers who the Trust commissions to provide adoption support services on our behalf.
They can provide you with support on the following areas:
- Someone to talk to about your adoption.
- Advice on finding out about your birth family.
- Assistance in obtaining your adoption records.
- Support before or after a reunion.
Seeing your Records
If you want to see the information that is held about you, you have to approach the local authority (council) that was responsible for arranging your adoption, or the adoption of your child or relative. PAC-UK can also help and support people who were adopted as children to access and understand their adoption files. They also offer a search and intermediary service to find birth relatives, within relevant legislation.
To find out about all the services offered by PAC-UK in your area, please call their advice line on:
0113 230 2100, which is available Monday, Thursday and Friday 10.00am-1.00pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 4.00pm-7.00pm (excluding bank holidays).