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Just under half of children waiting for adoption are in family groups of two or more

• A national #YouCanAdopt campaign has launched in Lincolnshire to encourage more people to consider adopting groups of brothers and sisters • There are 2,030 children in England looking for new homes, and 44% of those are brothers and sisters • Groups of two or more children take 36% longer (135 days more) to be adopted than individual children • Campaign launched by regional and voluntary adoption agencies across the country highlights the significant benefits of adopting family groups of children together

Latest figures show there are currently 2,020 children waiting to be adopted in England and, of those, 44% are in family groups of two or more.1  Groups of children wait an average of 17 months to be adopted, which is 36% longer (135 days more) than individual children. More than half of these groups (56%) even wait more than 18 months for their new family.2 For many potential adopters, this is due to groups being slightly older and worries about financial affordability, physical space, and it being too challenging.

To encourage more people to consider adopting brother and sister groups, national, voluntary, and regional adoption agencies including Family Adoption Links in Lincolnshire have come together to launch a new nationwide #YouCanAdopt campaign that highlights the benefits of adopting more than one child and celebrates the irreplaceable bond of brothers and sisters.

New research, commissioned by adoption agencies and released as part of the campaign, has found that the majority of the public (63%) say it’s important to grow up with brothers and sisters. In the national survey of more than 2,000 people, over half (61%) of people say having brothers or sisters has positively impacted their lives or their wellbeing.4

A further survey of those that have adopted, or are considering doing so, found that a key reason to adopt is to extend, or to start, a family (58%). Despite this, more than a third (34%) of adopters do not consider adopting brothers and sisters.3

Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, Child Psychologist and supporter of the campaign, said: “The brother and sister bond can offer incredible life-changing benefits throughout all aspects and stages of children’s lives. This is especially pertinent for adopted children, with #YouCanAdopt’s research showing the bond can support mental health, emotional wellbeing, social skills, and help children settle into a new family. Because of this, parents that adopt brothers and sisters together may find their experience benefitted by the support they can offer one another.”

According to adopters, the biggest challenges and concerns about adopting brothers and sisters are that it would be too challenging (30%), affordability (21%), and the worry about not having enough space at home (20%).3

While challenges exist, there is a significant amount of support available to potential adopters – from financial to practical – and the vast majority (88%) of parents that adopted family groups say challenges are far outweighed by the positives. Many (61%) go as far to say that adopting children with their brothers or sisters has been the most beneficial factor in their children’s adoption journey; with benefits including increased reassurance, companionship, comfort, and settling into family life more quickly.3

John Harris Head of Family Adoption Links said: “Time after time, our adopters say that keeping a sibling group together has been the most beneficial and rewarding factor in their adoption journey. A 'ready-made' family may initially sound daunting but we can offer plenty of support both practical and financial. If you have extra space in your heart and your home, I would urge you to get in touch and make a difference to these children's lives.”

Sam and Jo from Lincoln had planned to adopt 2 children and were approached to have 2 brothers aged 3 and 5. During their adoption process, they were told that a baby sister had recently been born and after careful consideration, decided that they would love her to join their family too. The boys moved in and settled first and their baby sister joined a short while later. Today, 6 happy and chaotic months into their 'instant' family, Sam and Jo say that they couldn't recommend adopting siblings enough.

As part of the national campaign, a new podcast episode featuring singer Sinitta, who adopted a brother and sister in 2007, has also been launched. The episode explores the unique family bond her children have and how this has impacted her adoption experience.

Sinitta, mum to Magdalena and Zac aged 15, said: “I always knew I wanted to adopt a family group and not for a second have I regretted my decision. As a pair, they bounce off one another showing love, affection, support and humour like no other relationship would be capable of fostering. The bond they have is second to none, and it’s unimaginable to think how one could cope without the other if they were to be split in the adoption process.

If you would like to find out more about adoption, please visit www.familyadoptionlinks.org.uk

#YouCanAdopt.

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