National Adoption Week 2023
This National Adoption Week (16 - 22 October), adoption agencies across the country have joined together to shine a spotlight on the positive impact adoption has had on adopted people’s lives. It also highlights the importance of putting children and their sense of identity at the heart of the adoption journey.
The new You Can Adopt campaign celebrates different generations of adopted people, showcasing how adoption has changed through the decades and exploring how it has shaped the lives of adopted people. The campaign aims to further encourage potential adopters to come forward to change the lives of children who are still waiting for their forever family.
Launching with a powerful set of portraits captured by royal, fashion and portrait photographer Philip Sinden, who was adopted himself in the 1970s, the portraits show striking imagery of eight different people who were adopted between the 1960s-2010s - with each image featuring a backdrop of poignant words that bring to life how adoption has shaped, and continues to shape, their lives.
The portraits have been released alongside a new short film captured during the photoshoot and hears firsthand the group’s different adoption journeys and experiences.
Connection to the past
Historically, adoption was often seen as secretive and hidden, with little information and support provided to help adopted people understand their history and maintain connections with their birth family. However, it is now considered vital that adopted people have a good understanding of their history and reason why they were adopted to help form a positive sense of identity.
This includes staying in touch with birth relatives and friends (when safe and appropriate), and maintaining these connections through life story books, later life letters, and memory boxes, which all help adopted people stay connected to their past. This contrasts with previous generations, where many people may not have even known they were adopted, as comes to life in the film.
There is still a huge need for more people to come forward to adopt, with a 23% decline in the proportion of children leaving care via adoption over the last five years:
Last year (2022), 2,950 children left care via adoption, 900 less than in 2018
Whilst recognising the challenges they have faced along the way, the new campaign brings to life the transformational power of a permanent family home.
Their portraits and stories
Isabelle and Nathaniel's stories
"Adoption is my past, it’s my present, it’s my future." - Isabelle
Isabelle was adopted when she was 6 months old in 1980’s and went on to adopt her son Nathaniel in 2010’s.
Growing up in the 80s, adoption was not often something that was openly discussed. Because of this, Isabelle didn’t grow up with a full sense of her identity or where she came from.
After adopting two children herself, Isabelle wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible asking any questions they may have and is supporting her daughter in maintaining contact with her birth family.
"Adoption completely changes a child’s life, it’s transformational." - Nathaniel
Nathaniel is a second-generation adopted person from Uganda.
Nathaniel’s mother Isabelle was adopted herself, so she knew the importance of ensuring Nathaniel’s adoption journey was always a part of his identity. Isabelle created photo albums to make sure Nathaniel had visual memories of his birthplace and cultural heritage.
"At the beginning of my adoption journey, I decided that I shall rise." - Joy
When Joy was growing up, she struggled to find her place. While she faced difficulties, she says her adoptive parents constantly supported her.
She is passionate about encouraging prospective adopters to consider the impact a stable, supportive and loving environment can have on a child’s life.
"I found my forever home." - Rico
Football-mad Rico was adopted in 2017. He was adopted by his family alongside his two older sisters.
After writing a book about how adoption shaped his life, Rico says his dads make him feel happy and safe, and have given him exciting opportunities he may otherwise not have had – such as playing for the U13s at Manchester City Football Club.
Coram adopter stories
Anne is a single woman of black Caribbean descent who adopted her two daughters through Coram in 2021 and 2022.
Anne says she had always wanted to adopt, and her network of family and friends were proud and supportive of her decision.
To find out more about National Adoption Week or to seek information or support, visit the You Can Adopt website.