Christian families are being urged to adopt, especially if they are from a BAME background, due to the number of children waiting for new parents, with experts saying having a similar heritage is important to both children and parents.
Over 2,400 children in England are currently waiting for an adoptive family – nearly half of these have been in the care system for over 18 months. Authorities prefer to match children with parents of a similar ethnicity and there is often a longer wait for black children as they seek to find appropriate parents.
In light of this, the Christian charity Home for Good commissioned a Savanta Comres poll into the attitudes of British adults towards adopting children of different backgrounds and found that prospective parents also prefer to have a similar heritage to their adoptive child.
Over 10,000 people were surveyed and fifty-two per cent of UK adults in general say they would prefer a child with a similar ethnicity to them.
Over half of black adults in the UK say they could be open to adopting or fostering, or that they already have, and, of those people, around two-thirds say they would prefer to adopt a child who has the same ethnic background as them.
Key reasons among all adults for reluctance to adopt a child of a different ethnicity included: concerns that the parent would not be able to raise the child with a knowledge and appreciation of their cultural heritage; anxiety about the child being bullied or treated differently for not being of the same ethnicity as the parent; the sense that the parent might feel more ‘connected’ with a child of the same ethnicity as them; and fears about the acceptance of the child by family and friends.
Forty-four per cent of black adults who would prefer to adopt a child with an ethnic match worry that their child might be bullied or treated differently for not being of the same ethnicity as them.
Krish Kandiah, founder of Home for Good told Premier: "It turns out that the adopters would like there to be an ethnic match between them and the children they're adopting and that seems to be for a good reason. They want to make sure that the children's ethnic and cultural heritage is looked after. So, this isn't people being racist, they're just trying to think 'how can I be the best parent for a child that needs adopting?' But still, we need more people to think about actually stepping forward, not just thinking 'adoption's a great idea', but actually starting the process."
Thirty-four per cent of UK adults are open to adoption, with 18 to 24-year-olds the most open of any age group.
Kandiah said: "I think we need people from all sorts of backgrounds to come forward but, because black children are waiting the longest, we'd love to see more people from BAME backgrounds come forward."
Sixty-six per cent of Christians said they would consider adopting a child of a different ethnicity to them if they were given support and awareness of their child's cultural heritage.
People were also asked whether they would consider adopting a teenager or siblings. Sixty per cent of Christians also said they would consider adopting an asylum seeker.