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Families in church communities urged to consider adopting siblings

by Chantalle Edmunds

New figures show just under half of the 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England are in groups of two or more - and on average take around four-months longer to find a home.

Adoption UK is calling for "dedicated and tailored support and training" for those who adopt siblings to become "routine". The charity has launched its new #YouCanAdopt campaign, encouraging more people to come forward to adopt siblings.

Lorna Hunt, is Service Director at PACT, an adoption agency with a long history of working with Christian families: "About 60 per cent of our adopters we approved last year said they had faith, and a number of them actually were very active within their churches. So there isn't a barrier to placing with faith families. In fact, for us, many faith families come with so much more than they can offer."

She added that those who do adopt and are part of a church often have a great deal of additional support on offer from their church communities: "The big thing for me is really that huge support network within the church community. And you will probably find other adoptive families within churches or foster carers who know a little bit about what it is to care for a child who no longer lives with their birth family. But it is that huge support and compassion, which is so beneficial to adoptive parents and many of our adopters from church communities will say that has been so important, the practical small things, but also the emotional support as they care for these children."

Hunt explained as only a last resort would siblings be separated: "Local authorities would try as far as possible to keep siblings together. And to have brothers and sisters growing up together when they can't remember the birth family is the best thing within adoptive family."

She urged church families to get in touch with PACT to find out more or to ring 0300 456 4800.

"But certainly we find within church communities, there's so much support for adoptive parents, once children are placed, we actually have one off sessions within the church community. So the church knows how it can respond and really support those adoptive families within the church. Because when you adopt siblings, you do need that support, you need the practical help, but also the emotional health at times. So for the church community, it would be great if there more people want to come forward and to really just consider and talk through, what does it take or what does it mean to adopt a sibling group and keep children together."

Additional reporting by PA

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