Today’s news about the diminishing numbers of babies being adopted in the UK does not at all surprise us. The BBC has today reported that only 60 children under one were adopted in the UK last year, of the 3,500 currently in the care system. This marks a significant drop from the 150 adoptions of children under one completed in 2007. The drop indicates that the barriers to authorising prospective adopters and to releasing children for adoption seem to be increasing and the process taking longer. Ann Marie Carrie of Barnado’s has said: “This is a tragedy, it’s a tragedy for the children who are languishing in the care system and frankly it’s a tragedy for those people who have come forward who want to be parents and adopt a child.”
None of this comes as much of a surprise to the many frustrated clients we hear from daily who have considered adoption but instead turned to surrogacy as a means of building their family. Again and again we hear that prospective parents have been actively discouraged from pursuing adoption or told that the process will take many years with no certain outcome. Parents with an existing child are often told they are only eligible to adopt if there is an age gap of several years between siblings, which in practice rules out adoption entirely (depending on the parents ages) given that so few young children are available. Again and again we hear that couples who are unable to conceive as a result of infertility or other medical problems, and same sex parents wanting to build a family, would love to offer a home to a child who needs it, but find that adoption simply is not an option for them. Many of these couples go on to be fantastic parents to their own biological children conceived through fertility treatment or surrogacy. They could have been fantastic adoptive parents to children who desperately need their care.
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