A new campaign launched by the National Adoption Service for Wales


There are 119 children currently waiting to be adopted in Wales, with 29 of those children waiting for nine months or more.

For boys, sibling groups, children over three, and those with complex early histories, the wait to find a forever home can last a long time.

But a new campaign launched during National Adoption Week (18th-23rdOctober) wants to change all that by debunking the myth that babies and girls are easier to adopt.

To open the hearts and minds of potential adopters to those children currently waiting to find a family, #ChooseFamily will hear from parents across Wales about the realities of adopting a child, regardless of their age, sex, or if they are part of a sibling group.

With love in their hearts and room in their home, Amanda and Martin adopted their daughter Ellen*, now 12, five years ago. When the couple, who live in south Wales, first met Ellen she was still in nappies at the age of seven, had never had a book read to her, used to freeze at the sound of a loud noise and hid behind the sofa whenever she felt afraid - but despite her complex needs, Amanda and Martin knew from the moment they read about Ellen's story that she was their daughter.

Amanda said: "We didn't enter the adoption process with rose-tinted spectacles on. I knew these children may have been abused, neglected, or there may have been drugs or alcohol involved. I knew how hard it would be.

"We chose to adopt an older child and read everything about our daughter before we looked at a picture.

"I didn't want to feel an emotional tug to a pretty, big-eyed little child, and think ‘She looks cute, let's just take her.' I wanted to see what she had been through, hear about her medical and psychological needs - and after reading about Ellen, we decided that there wasn't anything we couldn't take on together. Afterwards, the social worker told us that we were her last chance to be adopted. I can't bear to think about that.

"There have been so many emotional moments with our daughter. I remember her telling me ‘You're my best Mummy' and it saddened me to think that I was her third. To Martin, she'd say; ‘You're the good Daddy.'

"At first, I had to carry her everywhere, she needed to be held. I remember there was a playground down the road from our house and every day for six months she insisted on having a ride on the baby swing. Even years later, she'd squeeze herself onto that tiny little swing - it was almost as if she was craving the childhood she'd missed out on.

"I remember the first time she called me Mum. It took her three months to whisper the words. Every morning she used to knock on the bedroom wall to let us know she was awake - I think she had to do that in her previous home. One day, she was sick in bed, and I could hear the tiny knock on the wall and a little voice whispering ‘Mum.' It broke my heart to think in her previous homes she had to deal with sickness alone, too afraid to tell anyone. It was a little signal that she was starting to trust me.

"My husband and I haven't got a lot of money - but when we first adopted our daughter, I bought all these beautiful expensive duffel coats to keep her warm in the winter and she wouldn't wear them. I had to accept that she loved bling - and that's what parenting is all about, accepting the child that you have. I wouldn't change my daughter for the world."

Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Graham Hinchey said:"The decision to adopt is a choice that can make an everlasting change to the life of a child. Some children may have had difficult experiences and memories and may need extra attention, reassurance, and security but the role of an adoptive familycan provide them with the support, love and the nurturing environment needed so that they can enjoy a happy and fulfilling future. Cardiff supports the new campaign from the National Adoption Service for Wales (NAS) to open people's minds and hearts to the children currently waiting to be adopted."

Suzanne Griffiths, Director of the National Adoption Service for Wales, said: "We know from research conducted within adoption services in Wales that myths in relation to age and gender continue to exist; some prospective adopters believe that younger children present with fewer issues and others feel that girls are easier to care for.

"This is not always the case as all children have different needs and experiences and often the quieter child can be harder to work with.

"Sometimes we know less about the experiences of a younger child whereas we might have more detailed knowledge where an older child is concerned. For these older children we are often in a better position to predict any future support needs should they require it."

National Adoption Service is asking for people to share the moments that made their family @nas_cymru #ChooseFamily to encourage others to choose to adopt.

For more information about adoption,

*Some names have been changed.