Lancashire brothers in care kept together thanks to loving new foster parents

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Helen and her partner Emma took in Jack and William in February 2021

 

Stock image of two brothers
Stock image of two brothers (Image: Victoria Borodinova / Pexels)

Two loving foster parents have kept two young brothers together by taking them both in to their home.

Jack* and William* were taken in by Helen and her partner Emma, who became their new parents in February of this year.

Helen, from Lancashire, said her and Emma met when they were both working in the residential care sector.

“We saw first-hand the number of children coming through the system and from the start we knew this was a path that we wanted to take,” Helen said.

“After an in-depth adoption process with Adoption Lancashire and Blackpool, we finally took home our beautiful boys in February and haven’t looked back since. We considered and opted for adopting siblings from the start as we knew that we wanted more than one child and thought that this would be the best way to achieve this.

“We knew we wouldn’t need to go through the process multiple times and the idea of two kids with the same back story and history really appealed to us. Also, from working in children’s’ services, we were aware that brothers and sisters were much harder to place.

“The sound of happy children running around a hectic house full of laughter is the best thing ever. Yes, it is busy at times but we felt that placing a child into our world would be chaotic whether it was one, two or three so made the choice to do it all at once and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

“Obviously every family’s circumstances are different, but we would encourage anyone considering adoption to think about sibling groups, especially if you are thinking about more children in the future.

“The bond that they have, can’t be matched. The journey they have been on is rough but the love they have for each other is unbreakable. Jack, the youngest of the two, looks up to and idolises his big brother.

“This helped when forming family bonds and attachments, as once he could see that William trusted and accepted us as his safe family, Jack soon followed suit and, six months in, it’s hard to imagine life without the boys.”

Due to an increasing requirement for loving families for brothers and sisters, Adoption Lancashire and Blackpool has now launched a new campaign highlighting the need to keep them together.

The campaign, which you will see throughout Lancashire and Blackpool on buses, billboards, bus shelters as well as hear on radio, highlights the benefits of adopting more than one child and celebrates the irreplaceable bond of brothers and sisters.

Adoption Lancashire and Blackpool is the regional adoption agency for the county and hopes this campaign will shine a spotlight on the need for families to come forward as well as break down some of the myths that surround adoption.

Throughout Lancashire and Blackpool, there are currently around 30 children in care awaiting adoption placements. Included in this figure is six sets of sibling groups all looking for a loving family.

Victoria Gent, Chair of Adoption Lancashire and Blackpool, said: “We urge anyone beginning their adoption journey 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. We often hear parents say that adopting children with their brothers and sisters has been the most beneficial factor in their children’s adoption journey.

“A common misconception is that adopters need to be the perfect parent and fit a specific criteria. This is not the case and at Adoption Lancashire and Blackpool we are proud to echo the national narrative that anyone can adopt, no matter your relationship status or background. So long as you can offer a loving and stable home, we encourage you to get in touch.

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

Across the country there are 2,030 children looking for new homes, and 44% of those are brothers and sisters. Groups of two or more children take 135 days (36% longer) to be adopted than individual children.

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.

However, there is financial and practical support available to potential adopters. The vast majority of parents who adopted family groups (88%) said that the challenges are far outweighed by the positives.

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 research showing the bond can support mental health, emotional wellbeing, social skills, and help children settle into a new family.”