Could you adopt a child?

Adopt: Waltham Forest Council can help you create a close knit family. Image: Waltham Forest Council

Adopt: Waltham Forest Council can help you create a close knit family. Image: Waltham Forest Council

Residents from London and the surrounding areas are being encouraged to think about whether they could adopt a child, as Waltham Forest Council looks to recruit adoptive families for children in need of a stable family life.

The call coincides with National Adoption Week, which runs from Monday 4 November and during which residents are being asked to consider adopting a child.

Information evenings for people who are interested in adopting will be held at Waltham Forest Town Hall (Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4JF) on Wednesday 20 November and at Leyton Youth Centre (Crawley Road, Leyton, E10 5PY) on Wednesday 18 December. The events begin at 6.15pm.

Celia* has been a carer for over 18 years and has adopted children from Waltham Forest. She has looked after more than 50 children as both a foster carer and adoptive parent. Celia has four adopted children aged between six and 15 and also has two birth children in their twenties.

Celia told us: “I always wanted to adopt. My younger sister was adopted by my family when I was growing up, so it just made sense. I was already fostering Louise* when I decided to adopt her. Then Ross* and Jane*, who are brother and sister, joined the family. Michael* is the newest and youngest member of the family, so including my birth children I have six. It sounds like a lot, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

When asked how easy the adoption process was, she said: “It’s not an overnight process; it does take time. You can’t expect to be assessed and approved overnight – no matter how suitable and passionate you are.

“I’d also say to people that they should be aware that it’s an emotional process. When you meet children for initial introductions you can instantly become attached. You have to remain logical and focused on what you want and what you are able to offer an adoptive child.”

She added: “You also have to make sure you have a care package that is right for you. One of my children has special needs, so I had to make certain that the support I was being offered was right for me as well as for them. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from your social worker. You should also make sure you have a good family support network – you’ll need it!”

Waltham Forest needs adoptive parents of all ethnicities, cultures and religions. You can be living in any borough and do not have to be married to adopt. You may have a partner, be single, lesbian, gay or a same sex couple. You do not have to own a home and can live in rented accommodation, as long as you have an extra bedroom.

Waltham Forest Council holds regular adoption information evenings at Waltham Forest Town Hall. You can find out more about the adoption process, ask questions and meet social workers and people who have already adopted to find out about their experiences.

Celia added: “Compared to other people I have a lot of children, including my own, but I do get a great sense of joy and satisfaction. I’ve given the children a family and a stable environment. It offers them hope and a future. It’s that point alone that makes me say to everyone they should consider adoption – you give children a future and offer them the family life they need.”

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

To find out more about the Waltham Forest adoption service, phone the adoption team on 020 8496 3000 or visit the Waltham Forest Adoption website.