Adoption Central England (ACE) is celebrating its 5th anniversary in February after forming in 2018 following the Government’s commitment to redesign and regionalise adoption services.
During the past 5 years, ACE is proud to have approved over 400 households for adoption and over 500 children have joined their adoptive families. Darren and Rebecca are one of ACE’s adoptive families and describe their journey to adopt a sibling group of 3.
Darren and Rebecca begin: “When we first decided that we wanted to pursue adoption as our first route of starting a family in February 2020, we would never have guessed that 3 years into the future we would have the three most wonderful children filling our house with so much love, fun, and laughter.
“Both of us had experienced the love, joy and frustrations of having siblings growing up. Combining this with having worked with many children and young people who had experienced trauma, we wanted to share our home, our love and our family with a sibling group who needed a forever home. The thought that any sibling group could be split up was devastating and so we started our process of adoption with Adoption Central England.
“Initially, we were worried about the assessment side of adoption: what if our social worker didn’t like us, didn’t think we would be good parents or thought we were crazy, but we couldn’t have been more wrong! She made the sessions a safe space where we could be open and honest about all parts of our lives and how bringing little ones who had gone through so much may change it. We are so thankful for all the support that we received throughout the process and continue to receive as we know we wouldn’t be the family we are today without it.
“We have very fond memories of our initial introduction to meet the children: reading them stories for the first time, being climbed on as a human slide, having water fights, and sitting down for our first mealtimes as a family. We also had many struggles and challenges as the children struggled with the earth-shattering change that happened in their life.”
ACE is the first and only adoption service to be certified in approaches informed by Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP). DDP is an approach that appreciates the impact of childhood developmental trauma and which supports adoptive parents to emotionally connect with their child to help them to build security and trust.
Darren and Rebecca continued: “Throughout it all, we experienced, first hand, the benefit of the therapeutic parenting we learnt about in training. Our children quickly started questioning “why do you not leave me when I’m cross,” “why won’t you shout at me?” or “why would you even love me?” All the training, both from stage one and from the fantastic support through the therapeutic team about PACE parenting, was fast becoming everyday life, and we were seeing that had a massive impact on the way our children were settling into their new home.
Portfolio holder for Children and Families, Councillor Jeff Morgan, said: “We’re really pleased that through ACE so many children are now living with their adoptive parents, families who really appreciate their needs and can provide them with special care and support.
“ACE offers a range of different services and strengthen families by listening to them, training and supporting them to parent in a therapeutic way.
“If adoption is something that you’ve thought about then please get in touch for a chat, it’s important for ACE to have more adoptive families for the children who need them. We also encourage our adoptive families to consider more than one child so that brothers and sisters can stay together.”
ACE provides support for anyone affected by adoption, this can also include birth parents, an independent service for birth parents called Family Connexions provides support and advice which can include ongoing arrangements to keep birth families in touch with birth children through their adoptive parents.
“We want our children to know that they are loved for who they are, and we want their birth family to know that we will always honour their story.” Darren and Rebecca concluded, “Through letterbox contact, we have built a good relationship with the children’s birth family, and this has been invaluable when sharing with the children their life story and what makes them the little people they are today. Although it is sometimes difficult to answer their questions, we strongly feel they have the right to know their story in an age-appropriate way and we hope that they will always feel that their story is both understood and celebrated.”
You can read more about Darren and Rebacca’s story, along with those from other ACE families on the ACE website.
On the website there is also a wealth of information about the many and varied aspects of adoption. ACE welcomes enquiries about adoption from all sections of the community, such as, single people, married couples, same sex couples, people from black and minority ethnic communities, people who own their own homes and those in social and rented housing.