Adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is marking Black History Month with a call for more black adopters.
PACT, which offers outstanding Ofsted-rated adoption services to families across the South East, is one of the leading independent adoption charities in the country. Last year the charity helped transform the lives of 82 children by finding them their forever families.
With more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted, PACT specialises in finding secure and loving homes for priority children, including those of black and minority ethnic heritage, who often face the longest wait for their forever family.
PACT adopters can be couples or single people, of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. It is particularly looking for adopters of Black Caribbean, African or dual heritage.
As part of PACT's work to reach out to prospective adopters the agency will be attending Africa on the Square, a celebration of African arts and culture as part of Black History Month, on Saturday 27th October in Trafalgar Square.
The charity is also organising a special adoption Q&A event in Reading on Saturday 27th October from 10am until 12pm. This event will feature a panel of PACT adopters, including people who have adopted BME children, who will be sharing their adoption stories and answering questions about their experiences.
One of panellists is Marcia, who is Black British with a Guyanese/Jamaican family heritage, who with her husband Ian, who was born in Jamaica, adopted two sisters of Caribbean family heritage through PACT in October 2015.
Marcia said she had found attending an information event had really helped her and Ian as they started out on their journey to adopt.
"I think for us, hearing from someone who had already adopted and come through the process, was really helpful and actually very inspiring. If adoption is something that you are considering at all, why not come along and find out more - the information events are informal and relaxed and are just a great way to get lots of information and ask any questions you may have."
Marcia supports PACTs appeal for more black adopters as she feels strongly that cultural heritage should be an important consideration when matching children with adoptive parents.
"I just think that in their lives my girls will have 101 extra things to deal with because they are adopted, so if issues regarding identity can be minimised, then that can only be a positive thing. For me, I am absolutely determined to do what I can to make my girls proud of who they are, and I know I can help them with that."
Chief Executive, Jan Fishwick OBE, said:"As a child, being able to identify with your main care provider, visually, culturally, historically and emotionally, will ultimately improve the chances of a more stable and enriched childhood."
Lorna Hunt, Head of Adoption at PACT, added: "We are really keen to do what we can to reduce the time that black children have to wait for their forever family. Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more about adopting with PACT."
As well as the adoption Q&A event PACT is also holding adoption information events this month in Oxford on Tuesday 16th and London on Thursday 18th. For more details please see www.pactcharity.org/info. These events are free to attend, but people are asked to book a place by calling 0300 456 4800 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org