Monday 17th October marks the launch of National Adoption Week 2022, which this year focuses on the theme of identity.
A new survey by national adoption charity, You Can Adopt, has revealed that just under 61% of adopted people in the North-West keep a memory box or equivalent, containing items such as printed photographs, greeting cards, childhood toys or handwritten letters.
Most of the 2,005 adults from across England who were surveyed, described the significance of these items as helping them to understand their background and identity, and as having something physical from their early lives to pass down to future generations.
You Can Adopt has released a short film for National Adoption Week, which explores the relationships and memories of four adopted people, as they look back through their own memory boxes and keepsakes from their lives before and after they were adopted.
The emotional film brings to life the connections that adopted people make and how their sense of identity has been formed through various connections in their lives – including birth families, foster carers, friends, and adoptive parents.
Sarah Johal, member of the National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group and National Adoption Strategic lead, said:
"It's really important for some adopted people to know about their own history, their family and where they come from.
“Having continued relationships where that is safe and appropriate is ideal, but if not, it is important for adopted people to have information, stories, and keepsakes.
“Connections to their past can really help children as they get older develop a positive sense of identity and emotional well-being.
“With this campaign we want to show that adoption is not a line in the sand, when adopted people close the door on all connections to their life, memories, and relationships from before they were adopted.
“For the person who is adopted, it is one life – and issues around identity and belonging can come to the fore, particularly if they are not able to have a face-to-face relationship.
“That’s why, during National Adoption Week, we’re urging people to find out more about what modern adoption looks like and shining a light on the ongoing journeys of those who have been adopted.”
The You Can Adopt campaign also acknowledges that identity, especially for adopted people, can be a life-long journey and is always evolving.
Not all adopted people will have mementos from their early life or the opportunity to have contact with people from their life before they were adopted, so modern adoption encourages access to a range of quality information.
Many adopters today also make it a priority to help their children to understand and develop their identity.
Cathy Sowden, service lead at regional adoption agency, Together for Adoption (TFA), said:
“At TFA, we recognise how important it is for our families to hold and value a child’s history as part of their identity and we support and encourage our adopters to do that through our training and support.
“If you are an adopted person over the age of 18 and would like to know more about your origins, please get in touch with us.”
If you’ve been adopted and want some support to explore your background and identity, you can contact the adoption support duty worker at Together for Adoption by calling 01942 487272 or emailing PASupport@wigan.gov.uk.
To find out more about this year’s National Adoption Week campaign, go to the You Can Adopt website (external link).
Posted on Friday 14th October 2022