Last month featured National Adoption Week, an annual campaign that champions the importance of finding permanent families for children across England. The week ran from October 14 to October 20 with the announcement of the latest statistics by the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (ASGLB). There are 4,140 children decided by the government as in need of adoption, 2,760 children with a placement order but without a placement and 20 percent of children waiting for adoption are from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. However, only 1,700 families are approved as potential adoptive parents and waiting for matching. These figures are bleak and are intended to highlight the urgent need for people to come forward as prospective adoptive parents.
David Lammy, a Labour politician, was someone who championed National Adoption week with an excellent article outlining his experience of adopting his daughter. The piece resonated with me because I am adopted and am wanting to adopt, however, sometimes in the need to recruit and champion adoption, the people who are centred are not the adoptees, but the adoptive parents. Or only adoptees with positive stories of adoption are centred, but there is no adoption without trauma. It is a loss of identity, a separation, and we must understand that often, the positive stories are a coping mechanism for severe grief – Stockholm Syndrome comes to mind. The lived experiences of adoptees, particular the ones who are raw in their truth, are often the last to be believed.