Regional adoption agency, Adopt North East, is seeking new adopters who value one of modern adoption’s changing aims; to help adopted people to know more about and to connect with their family history.
Monday 17 October marks the launch of National Adoption Week 2022, October 17-23, which this year focuses on the theme of identity.
Adopt North East are embracing this year’s theme with the help of ‘You Can Adopt’; a national campaign launched by The National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group. The campaign, backed by the Department for Education, explores adopted people’s reflections on their relationships from before, during, and after they were adopted, connects them to their heritage, and works to understand how this helped them develop a sense of their identity as they grew up.
During the week, the campaign will look to challenge perceptions of modern adoption and show how important it can be for adopted people to be able to understand and feel connected to their past – often through physical keepsakes such as letters, photographs, or childhood toys and sometimes through meeting up.
The use of smartphones means that people are less likely to have physical keepsakes such as printed photos or handwritten letters and cards. As a result, many adopted individuals have lost family items from their early life which they later wish they still possessed.
To highlight the importance of physical keepsakes in an adopted person’s journey to connect with their past and their identity, the ‘You Can Adopt’ campaign has released a short film exploring the relationships and memories of four adopted people. The film follows the adopted individuals as they look back through their own ‘memory boxes’ and keepsakes from their lives before and after they were adopted, which have helped them to develop and have impacted on their sense of identity.
The emotional film brings to life the connections that these adopted people have made and how their sense of identity has been formed through various connections in their lives. Not least of which includes connections built with their birth families, foster carers, friends and adoptive parents, who each play a significant role in shaping the lives of adopted individuals.
Tiegan, who speaks with her birth father about her memory box in the film, said: "Finding out about my birth father when I was 18 was a really happy moment: knowing each other, even if it didn't come to anything, helped me understand where I stood in the world.
“I also found out my Dad kept a sonogram from my birth mother's pregnancy, which I now have and is so special to me. As an adopted person, you don’t expect to have baby photos, let alone a sonogram – I couldn’t believe it. To know he kept that is amazing, it shows my life is an ongoing journey.”
Tiegan, who met her birth dad two years ago, added: “I think it's important to be told you're adopted from the very beginning - my mums knew they weren't just adopting me, they were adopting my whole history and family as well. There are still struggles - you'll never get every piece of information. But there were four years of my life before I was adopted, and that’s still part of my story.”
National Adoption Week is highlighting how modern adoption is changing, with the aim of helping adopted people to know more about their family history. This may include being able to stay in touch with birth family members or friends - when this is safe and supported - and encouraging access to a better quality of information through life story books and later life letters.
Adopt North East understands that identity, especially for adopted people, can be a life-long journey and is always evolving. While not all adopted people will have mementos from their early life or the opportunity to have contact with people from their life before they were adopted, modern adoption encourages access to a range of quality information. That’s where amazing adoptive parents come in; supportive adopters will make it a priority to help their children to understand and develop their identity. With the support of Adopt North East, individuals and families who want to adopt can help shape the lives and identities of young people by providing them with new memories and supporting them to embrace elements of their lives from the time before they were adopted.
Senior Manager for Adopt North East, Nik Flavell, said “Every year, Adopt North East supports hundreds of adopted children to keep in touch with their first families. Additionally, Adopt North East works to support adopted adults to understand their journey to adoption.
“Adopt North East is committed to helping all those impacted by adoption. Adopt North East needs adopters now to become forever families for children waiting to be adopted – If you would like to become part of a child’s lifestory, identity and future, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.”
If you’re interested in adoption, you can visit the Adopt North East website for more information: https://www.adoptnortheast.org.uk/
Alternatively, you can book a place on one of Adopt North East’s upcoming information or support events; there are a range of online and in-person sessions to choose from. For more information, or to book, visit their website: https://www.adoptnortheast.org.uk/events
To find out more about National Adoption Week or to seek information or support, visit: https://www.youcanadopt.co.uk/naw/