ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is asking people to share their first memory for National Adoption Week (3-9 November).
Most people’s earliest memory is from the age of three or four and PACT is running the My First Memory campaign to highlight the need for adopters for children aged four or over.
In the past year, 18 children* adopted by PACT families were four years old or over. According to Adoption Link, more than half of children (58%)** waiting to be adopted are aged four or older and will have started primary school without knowing who their permanent family is.
Many prospective adopters expect to adopt children under two years old, but PACT aims to find adopters for priority children including those that are older, in sibling groups or who have additional needs.
PACT Director for Adoption and Fostering, Shirley Elliott, said: “Older children and sibling groups are waiting to be adopted and we encourage families to be open to choosing children who may be past the baby or toddler stage.
“We would like to find families for all the children waiting, so they can come out of the care system and enjoy the family life they deserve.”
PACT Adoptive mum Sadie who adopted four-year-old twins Michelle and Matthew with her husband Darren*** said: “We felt drawn to these two, and as we read through their profiles, we could see they liked doing things we would enjoy helping them with such as playing with board games, walking and feeding the ducks.”
Darren said: “I hope that Matthew and Michelle will have lots of happy family play time memories to choose from when they are older.”
PACT is inviting people to contribute their earliest childhood memory, along with a photograph of themselves as a child, for its wall of memories. PACT is aiming to have 50 memories on its wall by the end of National Adoption Week.
Participants are encouraged to change their social media profile pictures to their childhood picture during National Adoption Week (3-9 November) and to use the hashtag #MyFirstMemory to raise awareness of the need for adopters for older children.
People can choose to support PACT’s work during National Adoption Week and beyond by texting PACT10 £3 (or an amount of their choice) to 70070. All money donated via text will be used to fund PACT’s award-winning therapeutic services FACTS that support adopting and fostering families.
The wall includes a contribution from TV presenter and PACT adopter Saira Khan who said: “My first memory was was when I was four and I was playing with my cousins in Kashmir.”
Among the children currently waiting for adoption are five-year-old twins Emma and Katie. More information about these children is available on PACT’s website www.pactcharity.org/iaam.
For information about PACT’s adoption service and for dates of PACT Information evenings visit www.pactcharity.org/info or call 0300 456 4800.
PACT supports vulnerable families through outstanding adoption services, permanent fostering, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects in London and the south.
*PACT adoptive placements July 2013-June 2014.
** https://www.adoptionlink.co.uk/pages/statistics (6.10.14)
***Names have been changed