‘All children deserve a better start in life’: Mum’s call to adopt children from minority ethnic backgrounds
“It is made clear very early on that all adopted children will manifest their trauma in one way or another at some point in their life.
“Some of this you are prepared for, other times it can catch you completely off guard.”
Single mum Natasha is one of many who has adopted through Adoption Mid and West Wales. Her story began in 2014, when she researched adoption thoroughly before she began the process alone, with an open mind.
Currently, there are 119 children 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 by the National Adoption Service for Wales during National Adoption Week (18th-23rd October) wants to change all that by debunking the myth that babies and girls are easier to adopt.
They are encouraging people to share the moments that made their family on social media with the hashtag #ChooseFamily.
Tasha, who is a teacher, adopted siblings of Thai heritage – a three-year-old daughter and a 20-month-old boy – because she knew that boys, minority ethnic children and siblings typically wait the longest to be adopted.
“As a teacher and from experience within my own family, I am aware that children, regardless of their circumstance, might grow up with behavioral issues or additional learning needs,” said Tasha.
“I wanted to support a child or children, who would benefit from stability.”
‘Just the three of us’
Tasha took inspiration from one of her primary school teachers who adopted a daughter from a minority ethnic background.
“I watched various documentaries regarding the impact of the one child policy in China, with orphanages full of baby girls; another one about baby girls being left on the steps of Indian orphanages and later in the abandoned children in Romanian orphanages,” she said.
“After becoming a teacher myself I became very aware of the situation in the UK.”
But for Tasha, the different in skin colour was a non-issue, but it wasn’t always the case with those around her at the beginning.
“Children who have a different skin tone are that much more easily singled out as ‘not belonging to you,” said Tasha.
“I had many unsolicited comments from complete strangers at the beginning of our family’s journey. And I remember having a friendly debate with a social worker about interracial adoption and feeling strongly about not letting the difference in our skin colour be a barrier. I was challenged on this as the social worker pointed out that I wouldn’t be the one growing up different.
“In many ways she was right, and thankfully, we have navigated the conversations about our differences easily. We have multi-ethnic friends and he often likes to point out when I am the odd one out in the car or on family holidays.”
The world is made up of so many different families, says Tasha, and society and adoption have caught up with each other.
“Not only did that make it easier for me as a single person to adopt, having examples to show how the nuclear family is varied is helping my son to understand that everyone is different,” said Tasha.
“Just the other day he asked me when he was getting a dad, because everyone has one. When we revisited the story of his birth father and started going through the list of family and friends who were unmarried, had lost partners or are in same sex couples, he wasn’t so concerned that it was just the three of us.”
‘Deserve a better life’
To open the hearts and minds of potential adopters to those children currently waiting to find a family, the National Adoption Service for Wales wants to 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.
For Tasha, she was well aware as part of her research into adoption in the UK that the most adoptable child is a baby girl.
“Boys, older children and mixed heritage or minority ethnic children as well as sibling groups are the hardest to find families for. My feeling is that all children deserve a better start in life regardless of all of that,” said Tasha.
“It’s crucial to get these children out of ‘temporary’ placements and into stable, long term families to give them a sense of belonging and to start to undo some of the damage that has been done to them.”
Her message during National Adoption Week is a simple one.
“Do it! There are so many children who, through no fault of their own, are stuck in the care system and deserve a better start in life than they got dealt.”
For safeguarding reasons, we are unable to feature any imagery of Tasha’s adopted children nor publish their names.