Adopters are urgently needed in West Sussex as more than 30 children, including very young children, are expected to need new families in the coming months.
West Sussex County Council is asking residents who have previously considered adoption to get in touch as, both locally and nationally, the numbers of children who need an adoptive family are growing.
Shelley and her husband took the step to adopt after their fertility treatments were unsuccessful but they made sure it was the right option for both them and the child they were adopting.
Shelley, who is based in West Sussex, said: “When we actually got approved it was just the most amazing feeling. When you get your first glimpse, I don’t know how you could ever walk away from that.
“The first day of introductions, I just remember feeling so sick. We desperately wanted to hold her and all she did was burst out crying. The day that we took her home was just amazing, it really was.
“By the time we took her on, I was in a different place to when we started the process, understanding more about the birth family, how we talk to her in the future about adoption, how we teach her where she came from. It’s not just taking on a child and saving them, it’s not what it is about.
“Don’t discount some of the children because underneath that list of issues is a child, is someone who could be that one for your family. You could give that one an amazing life.”
The call comes ahead of LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week which aims to spread the message that sexuality is not a barrier to fostering and adoption.
An informal information event is being held on 9 March in Shoreham, to give prospective parents and carers – whatever their relationship status – the chance to find out more.
The event is being held in the Ropetackle Arts Centre from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
Stephen Hillier, County Council Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “In the past year, we have given around 40 children new families through adoption.
“These children may have had traumatic experiences so people who are considering adoption need to be prepared for a thorough assessment process as we make sure they are ready for a new member of their family. But it will all be worth it as the second chance which these children get through adoption cannot be underestimated.”
Adoptive parents, through a legal process, take on full parental responsibility for a child. People have to be over the age of 21 but do not have to be married or in a relationship to adopt a child.
For more information, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/adoption or call the Adoption Team on 0330 222 7777.