Parents for Children

By Alice Fowler.

Profile Books

£8.99 ISBN 1 86197 343 8

This book describes 12 adoptions organised by the charity
Parents for Children. Each adoption is a tiny miracle in itself.
All of the children adopted have special needs and, if there is an
implicit message, it is that no child is unadoptable.

In a sprightly foreword, Karen Irving, the organisation’s chief
executive, explains how the agency started up as “a service that
would find parents for children, not children for parents”.

Each story, written sympathetically by journalist Alice Fowler,
celebrates how a good adoption can fulfil the needs of both a child
and their adopters.

Fantastic adopters for children with special needs are out there
if you look hard enough, is another key message.

Interestingly, the adopters in this book have nothing in common
apart from their parenting abilities and their membership of the
UK’s adoption community.

One couple think of themselves as serial adopters. Others accept
that caring for a child with special needs is a life-long job. Some
had good relationships with the child’s social worker, others not
so good. Whatever the difficulties during the adoption process,
frustrations were forgotten in the sheer intensity of daily life as
adopters, especially in the first few years.

The book reinforces government policy that more looked-after
children can be adopted; that post-adoption support is essential;
and that the new national adoption register is a positive linking
mechanism that will build on the work done to date to match
children with special needs with parents with special talents.

Anthony Douglas is director of community services,
London Borough of Havering. He is editor (with Terry Philpot) of
Adoption: Changing Families, Changing Times to be
published next year by Routledge.

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