Lincolnshire County Council's adoption service says it is in urgent need of people who are willing to consider adopting siblings together. Reporter Ryan Butcher finds out what it takes to give a new home to brothers and sisters in care...
Adopting a child can be a life-changing decision – and when it comes to sibling groups, even more consideration is needed.
But Lincolnshire County Council has said it has run out of adopters for sibling groups and is urging more potential parents to come forward.
When children are placed in to the care of the authority, more often than not it is due to neglect and abuse.
This can affect two, three or four brothers and sisters.
Whenever possible, the county council tries to keep these siblings together, but if suitable parents cannot be found they have to be separated.
One adopter, from south Lincolnshire, gave a new home to a group of three siblings with ages ranging from a baby to an 8-year-old.
The woman, who wishes to be known as Mrs Jones to protect the identity of her children, told the Echo that giving a new home to the trio was the most rewarding experience of her life.
She said: "Adoption is such an amazing journey. Our children have come through some very difficult times but now have such a strong bond with us and each other – I just couldn't imagine life without them.
"We had a planned period of introduction which lasted just under two weeks, which is where we met the children at the foster home and learned their routines and behaviour.
"We were also able to take the children out to get to know them – which was nice, albeit quite nerve-racking.
"At the end of the introductions we collected our children and they moved in. It was such a happy day, especially after we had been rushing around getting the furniture we needed for all three children and set it up in their rooms.
"We had an arrival party for our family to come to and for the children to celebrate their new home and meet their extended family, which we now do every year to celebrate the day they came to us.
"For us, the adoption process took around ten months, which seemed to go quite quickly once we'd been on the four-day preparation course. They were then with us for about nine months while the adoption order was lodged.
"Our social workers stayed involved for support until the adoption order was made, but we still see them at adoption family days that are held. The school has been so helpful in dealing with any issues that have arisen for the children.
"It's important to have a strong support network and to involve your whole family as much as you can in the process. Support is the key, but actually taking on siblings makes the experience even more special and the children have each other to lean on with issues that arise later in life around identity and life story.
"If you're thinking about adopting siblings together, go for it. We're certainly glad we did."
Between April 1, 2011, and March 31 this year, the county council found new homes for nine groups of siblings. And there are currently ten brother and sister groups in the process of joining a new family.
Lucy Smith, marketing and recruitment officer for the fostering and adoption team, said: "We really need to raise awareness now of the need for adopters who are willing to take on siblings.
"Anyone can adopt – from single parents to same sex couples – and all it takes is the space and time to care for them, as with any child. The children we have waiting to re-home are as diverse as the potential adopters out there."
For more information on adoption and fostering, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/adoption or call 0800 093 3099.