This year, National Adoption Week brings together adopted people from different generations to celebrate how adoption has evolved.

Hear directly from people adopted between the 1960s and 2010s about the positive impact adoption has had on them, and how adoption is changing people’s lives today.

Watch our short film

Hear from seven people; Philip, Joy, Isabelle and Nathanial, Luke, Callum and Rico, all adopted during the past 60 years, as they discuss how adoption has shaped, and to continues to shape, their lives.

This emotional film brings to life the changes in modern adoption and how those adopted in more recent years have a much greater understanding of their heritage and are able to be more open about their family history and relationships.

Adoption has evolved significantly over the past 50 years. Modern adoption encourages families to explore and celebrate their family history, enabling them to form a positive sense of identity and belonging.

It’s important for adopted people to be able to celebrate their unique life stories.

  • Modern adoption is changing and puts children and their sense of identity at the heart of the adoption journey.
  • In adoption today, there is a greater emphasis on the openness of adoption, helping children understand their history and maintain connections with their birth family, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
  • Ongoing relationships with birth relatives or friends can be crucial for adopted people to understand their identity.
  • Over the last five years, there has been a 23% decrease in the number of children being adopted. Of the 2,110 waiting to be adopted in the year 2022/2023, 60% came from groups that repeatedly face long delays. These children wait, on average, seven months longer to find a permanent home.
  • This National Adoption Week, prospective adopters are encouraged to come forward to help change the lives of children who are still waiting for their forever family.

National Adoption Week 2023 Photography

To celebrate National Adoption Week a group of adopted people – from baby boomers to Gen Z – have come together to share their story as part of a powerful new photo series.

Royal, fashion and portrait photographer Philip Sinden, who was adopted, captured the collection of portraits featuring those adopted between the 1960s and 2010s. Each individual portrait features a backdrop of emotive and poignant words that bring to life how adoption has shaped, and continues to shape, their lives and highlights how adoption has changed over the years.

Philip said:
It was such a pleasure and privilege to photograph such a wonderful group of people for national adoption week, and hear each of their unique stories of how adoption has shaped who they are today. I was adopted in the 1970s and unfortunately didn’t know much about my history growing up, but more recently have been on a journey to find out more about it. It is encouraging to see and hear from some of the stars of our portraits about how positive they feel about their experiences and how much adoption has evolved.”

Pictured above (from left to right): Callum, Isabel, Joy and Luke.

Support for those affected this National Adoption Week

Identity, especially for adopted people, is likely to be a life-long journey that evolves as new information, experiences, and relationships occur. While not all adopted people will have mementos from their early life, modern adoption encourages access to a range of quality information. Many adopters today make it a priority to help their children to understand and develop their identity.

Historically, adoption was often seen as secretive and was kept hidden. In more recent years however, by sharing the learning from research and the lived experiences of adopted people, we know it’s better for adopted children to understand why they were adopted, embrace their identity and maintain connections to their past and adoption has evolved to support this. This year’s National Adoption Week campaign aims to challenge perceptions of modern adoption and demonstrate the transformational power of a permanent family home.

A series of events are taking place over the week for adopted people, adoptive parents, birth parents and professionals. To view and book onto the events, click here.

Adopted people can contact their regional adoption agency for support, as well as visit PAC-UK, the country’s largest independent Adoption Support Agency, which offers a wide range of services to adopters and permanent carers throughout the country, as well as those thinking of adopting.

The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) has also been established to enable families to access the services they need more easily. The amount available per child per year is £5,000 for therapy, as well as a separate amount of up to £2,500 per child if special assessments are needed. Adoptive parents are encouraged to also contact their regional adoption agency for help with accessing the ASF.

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