“We just knew that he was the child for us, older than we ever had imagined but his personality so shone through on the day.”
Autumn is upon us and Coram’s Adoption Activity Days (AAD) team have been busy planning for the next run of these family finding events, which enable approved adopters and children waiting for a family to come together.
Activity days have consistently returned a 1 in 4 matching rate for children attending. In the past four years, over 3,000 children have attended Adoption Activity days and 750 forever families have been found for them. For adopters referred to an activity day there is a very real chance that they will meet the child to join their family and he, she or they may not be as they initially imagined when they started their adoption journey.
Adoption activity days are one of a range of tools in the Family Finding toolkit. As organisers our challenge at Coram is to ensure that every child who has a placement order for adoption, no matter what background, has the chance to meet the widest range of prospective adopters.
Traditionally, but not solely, for children who usually wait longer (including large sibling groups, older children and children with complex needs) these child friendly activity days are all about the emphasis on interaction and the role that “chemistry” plays in building relationships, something which isn’t conveyed by reading a profile or seeing a photograph of a child. Adoption Activity Days present a real opportunity for adopters to meet children in a play setting and find out more from those that know them best, their social workers and foster carers, about their needs and routines. Both children and adopters are prepared and supported before and during the day by an expert team of social workers. Through interacting with a diverse group of children, adopters can become open to adopting a child who is different from what they thought they were looking for.
While previous years have seen the number of adopters requesting a place outstripping availability, this has now swung the other way. Since April this year and for the first time, it is the number of children attending that needs to be restricted while adopters are now able to attend more than one event should they wish.
Those of us working with vulnerable children waiting to be adopted want to do all we can to find safe and stable permanent families for them – children deserve no less. Adoption Activity Days have proved a successful tool and we look forward to finding families for more children in the coming year.