Choosing a Voluntary Agency… YOU HAVE A CHOICE…
INDEPENDENT adoption agencies from across the UK have joined forces to highlight the choices available to people considering becoming a parent through adoption.
Caritas Care is one of 12 adoption agencies taking part in the #AdopterChoice campaign, launching on 11 April 2022.
Many people still believe that it is only their Local Authority that can provide Adoption services and support, but that simply is not the case. We want prospective adopters to know they have a choice and can choose the agency that best fits their needs and values. You can ‘shop around’ to ensure that you get answers to all of your questions and get a sense of the choice between adoption agencies.
It’s important to find an agency you feel comfortable with, so you may need to speak to a few to find one that feels right for you.
We asked a group of adopters why they chose to adopt through a VAA, here are their stories:
Bill and Annemarie
After trying for a birth child for nearly 5 years Annmarie and Will decided to adopt. They adopted a group of three sisters who were 2, 3 and 4 years old and never looked back. Annmarie & Bill admit the support from their Voluntary Agency was amazing and has contributed to who the girls are today.
Annemarie said, “ We chose a Voluntary Adoption Agency because they were so friendly and they welcomed us as part of their family. The support we got from them as well, we could phone up with something that sounds so silly to me, but to them it wasn’t! That was our biggest gift, knowing that we weren’t alone.”
Bill said, “They should be taking credit for our girls as well as us. What the girls have become has been through us and the VAA we adopted through…where we’ve got to is down to them and we can’t praise them enough!
You can make so much difference to a child’s life, don’t underestimate what you’re taking them out of and what you can offer them. You can give them a life…if you get the chance and you feel you can do it – do it!”
Watch Bill and Annemarie’s story
Kevin and Deb
Kevin and Deb are parents to three adopted children. They adopted siblings back in 2011, a brother and sister, aged six and three and a half. They then met their third child, who has additional health needs, by chance six years later when Deb was volunteering at an adoption activity day. Deb connected with her instantly, spoke to Kevin as they had considered adopting again, and they adopted her in 2018.
Kevin was in his 60’s and Deb in her 50’s when they have adopted, and although they wanted to grow their family, a big motivator for them was to help children in need. Due to their careers, they were very much aware of the children who wait longer to be adopted – older children, siblings groups and those with disabilities, and knew that adopting children from these groups was right for their family.
Watch Kevin and Deb’s story
Rhi and her husband David adopted their five year old daughter during the pandemic. With the additional challenges presented by the pandemic they felt it was even more important to focus on their vision for their family including splashing in the waves on the beach on family holidays.
Rhi told us, “We decided to adopt because we were looking at starting a family and there were a couple of options available to us.
As we looked more into adoption, we realised that we wanted a family and not necessarily a baby.
We didn’t really know about VAA’s and, as I came to understand it, they are Charities who help to bring together forever families and support them on their journey. That idea of creating a family rather than finding placements for children, creates a different atmosphere.
We were also interested in adopting from across the UK and the agency we worked with placed children from all four corners. We could make the search quite broad to find the right fit for our family.
The VAA we’re worked with were incredible, I feel like we are going to be part of this family forever. We create a family, our own little family, but we feel like we are part of that wider Voluntary Adoption Agency family as well.”
Watch Rhi’s story
Tom and Amy
Amy and Tom adopted their three daughters aged 2, 3 and 5 years old during the pandemic. The couple accessed adoption support pre and post adoption and continue to access support for their family through their voluntary adoption agency.
Tom told us, “When we knew we wanted to adopt, we looked around a few different agencies including Local Authorities and VAA’s, but it was coming away from the VAA and getting that sense of the personalised support and the interest in us – it felt like our Social Worker was entirely in our corner and they didn’t have any agenda or priorities of their own. They were solely focused on making the best match they could for both the children and for us.
Amy adds, “Our experience has been fantastic, it’s been really personalised, it’s been very supportive and I think it’s been really fundamental to where our family is and now and the fact that we are a happy and settled family. The key factor in that has been the support from the VAA from our first point of contact with them up until this day and the support we are still receiving.”
Watch Tom and Amy’s story
Adopted as a child herself, Zoe has recently become a mum through the pandemic by adopting with a Voluntary Adoption Agency, and now has a little boy who brings great joy.
She told us, “It’s a tough process, but it has to be a tough process because this is about a child’s life.
Working with my Social Worker from my VAA I was helped through that process, I was supported through it. It was just really nice to have my Social Worker at the end of the phone; I could pop in and see her, she could pop in to see me. It was nice to have a human with me on the journey.
A VAA is able to work across the country because they are not bound like Local Authorities to their region. As a result, they were able to match me with my son , who actually came from a different area of the country and was the prefect fit.
Every day brings a new adventure, something that’s funny or he’s learning something…it’s amazing!