The picture painted by the consultation with young people who had
been adopted, carried out by A National Voice, contrasts
dramatically with that most often offered in the media and by
For we do not see a group of young people who were all languishing
in care, desperate to be adopted. Even more worrying, many of them
are still not happy with their adoption many years later.
These young people’s responses show how far the adoption agenda has
been dominated by the concerns of professionals, policy-makers and
adoptive parents. Many of them resented being cut off from their
birth families, for example. Even when there was contact, many felt
it was inadequate and given grudgingly. This surely reflects the
weight given to the priorities of the different parties. Although
existing family relationships will be top of the list for many
children, they will often be at odds with the priorities of
adoptive parents who want to build a new family with its own
Given the anecdotal evidence that professionals fear that the
pressure to increase adoptions and reduce delays could lead to
exactly the kinds of problems these young people describe, this
study is even more significant.
However, it is also very small. The Department of Health should
commission a large-scale investigation into young people’s
experiences of adoption without delay.