A national #YouCanAdopt campaign has launched today (Friday 23 April) in the West Midlands to encourage more people to consider adopting groups of brothers and sisters.

Latest figures show there are currently 2,020 children waiting to be adopted in England and, of those, 44% are in family groups of two or more. 

Groups of two or more children wait an average of 17 months to be adopted, which is 135 days more than individual children. More than half of these groups even wait more than 18 months for their new family. For many potential adopters, this is due to groups being slightly older and because of worries about financial affordability, physical space, and it being too challenging.

Adoption@Heart is part of the campaign, launched by regional and voluntary adoption agencies across the country to highlight the significant benefits of adopting family groups of children together. As part of the campaign, a new film has been released featuring three families who have adopted brothers and sisters, alongside a new podcast featuring singer Sinitta, who adopted a brother and sister in 2007.

New research, commissioned by adoption agencies, has found that in the West Midlands, 62% of people say it’s important to grow up with brothers and sisters. In the survey of 176 people, 61% also say having brothers or sisters has positively impacted their lives or their wellbeing.

A further survey of those that have adopted, or are considering doing so, found that a key reason to adopt is to extend, or to start, a family (58%). Despite this, 34% of adopters do not consider adopting brothers and sisters.

Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, child psychologist and supporter of the campaign, said: “The brother and sister bond can offer incredible life-changing benefits throughout all aspects and stages of children’s lives. 

“This is especially pertinent for adopted children, with #YouCanAdopt’s research showing the bond can support mental health, emotional wellbeing and social skills, and help children settle into a new family. Because of this, parents that adopt brothers and sisters together may find their experience benefitted by the support they can offer one another.”

According to adopters, the biggest challenges and concerns about adopting brothers and sisters are that it would be too challenging, affordability and the worry about not having enough space at home.

While challenges exist, there is a significant amount of support available to potential adopters – from financial to practical – and 88% of parents who adopted family groups say challenges are far outweighed by the positives. Many (61%) go as far to say that adopting children with their brothers or sisters has been the most beneficial factor in their children’s adoption journey; with benefits including increased reassurance, companionship, comfort, and settling into family life more quickly. 

Mark Tobin, Head of Service at Adoption@Heart, said: “Adoption@Heart is once again proud to be part of the national #YouCanAdopt campaign encouraging people to find out more about adoption.

“So often we hear parents say adopting children with their brothers and sisters has been the most beneficial factor in their children’s adoption journey. We urge anyone considering adoption to think about the children in family groups who need a loving home and ask themselves if they can spare that extra space in their home, and their heart. 

“There is plenty of support available – from the financial to the practical – for those that decide they can.

“If you believe you can consider adopting a sibling group and help us in keeping brothers and sisters together, please get in touch with us today”

Adoption@Heart is the Regional Adoption Agency for the Black Country, providing adoption services for City of Wolverhampton Council, Walsall Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Sandwell Children’s Trust.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, Adoption@Heart has moved its information events online. They take place every two weeks and are the perfect place for those who are ready to start their adoption journey or would like more information.

Future event dates are available here which include details on how to book your place via Eventbrite.

For more information call 01902 553818 or email info@adoptionatheart.org.uk.