Joanne Gallacher
By Joanne Gallacher

Is adoption just a celebrity trend?

Adoption just for celebrities?

Adoption for celebritiesAre celebrities who adopt children starting a trend?

In recent years Angelina Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt have adopted sons Maddox and Pax Thien and daughter Zahara. All three have been adopted from different countries.

Madonna adopted her son named David from Malawi and actress Meg Ryan has given a home to a little girl named Daisy whom she adopted in China.

Do the decisions that these celebrities make influence people who are also considering adoption?

Mo O’Reilly from the British Association for Adoption & Fostering said she is undecided.

“It’s difficult to tell. I think if it does have an impact, is it likely to make them think about adopting from abroad rather than adopting at home”.

She added: “I think there’s quite a lot of controversy about people generally adopting from abroad and we know there’s a place for that but I think I would try and encourage people to think for their first port of call to try and look at domestic adoption and see if you could offer your family to a child who’s currently in care in this country.

In any one year there are upwards of four or five thousand children needing adoption and every year we have to try and recruit new adopters who can meet that need. Sometimes we fall short on that and those children aren’t able to be adopted.

I would encourage people interested in adoption to try and apply locally”.

Adoption is a legal procedure which involves going to court. Parental responsibility is transferred from the birth parents to the new adoptive parents so in every way that child becomes the legal child of this new family.

However, in England there are not enough people coming forward to adopt young children. Many prospective parents would like to adopt newborn babies but is this an unrealistic goal?

“On the whole it’s pretty unlikely but there are some categories of people where they could have a realistic chance,” said Mo O’Reilly.

“If they are people coming from the black and minority ethnic communities there are a good number of children who either have had two black parents or who are dual heritage who are needing adoptive families.”

The assessment process is thorough and can last for 6 - 8 months. At the end of the process people should have an idea broadly of what age of child they would be most suited to and interested in.

The majority of children placed for adoption are still under the age of 5.

Mo said “they are very young children and absolutely delightful and they’re in care for absolutely no fault of their own and who are desperate to have a permanent family”.

By the time most people come to think about adoption they may have failed going through fertility treatment, they may have failed to conceive and this may be the only route available to them.

Mo said that social workers know how difficult the adoption process can be but they are there to help.

“Honestly, social workers are human beings... they understand that we’re not looking for perfection, we’re looking for ordinary, honest folk who have a real interest in children and who want to give children their best efforts,” she said.

More information can be found on the British Association for Adoption & Fostering’s website.

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