PACT is searching for adopters who could provide a forever family for groups of siblings who need to stay together.
PACT supports families across the south east through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects. Last year PACT placed 91 children with 58 families through its adoption services. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England, many of them are in sibling groups of two or more.
The charity is particularly looking for adopters who can take a sibling group of three children to enable brothers and sisters to stay together.
Louise* and her husband Tom, from Oxfordshire, adopted Sophie, 5, Ben, 3, and Amy, 2, through PACT in March 2011 as they were unable to have their own children. The siblings had been separated in foster care, and it was thought they might also be adopted by two families as it would be easier to place them that way.
But Louise, who said she and Tom were keen to adopt more than one child, said: “Being able to bring them back together was such an important thing for us.”
Louise said there were definite logistical challenges of adopting three children and of making sure they met all their individual needs, but that they had received fantastic post-adoption support from PACT.
She added: “Every day was, and still is, a challenge. But we are just a regular family getting on with life and enjoying ourselves. We would not change it for the world.”
Harry and his wife Claire’s dream of a family was realised when they adopted three siblings, all under four years old, through PACT in 2016. He said it had been hard but that the three children had deserved to stay together.
Harry, from Oxford, who will this April be running the London Marathon to raise funds and awareness for PACT following the help and support it has given his family, added: “To adopt a sibling group of three has been the toughest and single most rewarding thing my wife and I have done. This is why my tagline for life has quickly become "Will it be Easy? Nope. Worth it? Absolutely!”
“Our children have been kept together which in turn has helped with their transition to our family whilst also helping to keep their identity. Seeing their smiling, excited faces when I come home from work or get off early and pick them up from school is more than I had ever dreamed of.”
Jonathan and Katherine, from Banbury, adopted three sisters through PACT in 2013. At the time the girls were three, two and a year old.
Katherine said: “We are delighted to be parents, thanks to PACT, and we are fortunate to be able to give a home to these three lovely girls. Now we have such a strong bond with them, they are part of our family and it’s a privilege to be their mum.”
PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “Finding adopters with the skills and space for three children is crucial so that brothers and sisters, who have often had an unsettled enough start to their life, can be adopted and stay together with a new forever family.
“Our teams are well-experienced at matching and placing sibling groups of three and in helping with the specific challenges such placements can raise. And, as is the case for all our adopted families, we will support families who have adopted three children for life through our specialist support and therapeutic services.
“I would encourage anyone who could consider adopting a sibling group of three to get in touch with us and find out more about what is involved. Our friendly enquiries team will be able to answer any questions you might have, or there is lots of information available on our website www.pactcharity.org.”
PACT also runs frequent adoption information evenings where anyone considering adoption (not just those interested in adopting siblings) can find out more. Events coming up include sessions in Reading on Tuesday 21 February and London on Thursday 16 March. These events start at 6.30pm and are free to attend but please book a place in advance by calling 0300 456 4800.
PACT works with a range of adopters from all backgrounds, including those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
To find out more about adopting with PACT, download an information pack or book on to an information event, visit www.pactcharity.org or call 0300 456 4800. More information about adopting three children is available at www.pactcharity.org/adopt-three, where you can also read more about the adoption stories of Louise and Tom, or to see Jonathan and Katherine’s story in full see www.pactcharity.org/adopters-stories
You can sponsor Harry at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Harry.Routledge
*Names have been changed to protect identity