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Leyland couple appeal for more people to adopt children with additional needs in Preston

Posted on - 12th May, 2024 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Education, Leyland, Preston News, Proud Preston
Alison and Barbara who have adopted three children together. Pic: Barbara
Alison and Barbara who have adopted three children together. Pic: Barbara

A couple from Leyland are supporting a Preston adoption agencies appeal for more adoptive parents for children with additional needs.

Barbara and Alison, who have been together for 16 years, have adopted three children with disabilities.

They are supporting Caritas Care’s appeal for more adoptive parents, as those with disabilities wait on average 11 months longer in care to find a permanent home. 

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Timmy who Barbara and Alison adopted first. Pic: Barbara
Timmy who Barbara and Alison adopted first. Pic: Barbara

Barbara and Alison adopted Timmy and Chelsea, who both had cerebral palsy, and then went on to adopt Sara, a one year old who was said to be deaf and blind. Unfortunately, Timmy died when he was 20 years old. 

Despite this, the couple have had a positive experience with adoption with Chelsea moving on to live independently in Cheltenham and Sara attending school happily and in spite of all odds, being able to see and hear.

They decided to adopt a child with additional needs because they thought they were often ‘overlooked’ and deserved a loving, family home as much as any other child.

Barbara said: “I think that I think that very often people think about adoption and they think of that in terms of, you know, an average child that’s had perhaps a bit of a rough start in life and don’t necessarily think about a child with a disability. And I think maybe they’re a bit frightened of disability.”

Read more: Preston adoption charity on how 63 children are needing a home

Chelsea who is now living independently in Cheltenham. Pic: Barbara
Chelsea who is now living independently in Cheltenham. Pic: Barbara

Like all adoption experiences, they come with challenges, though Barbara said adopting a child with additional needs brings different challenges, rather than any more or less.

She said: “Know your limits, don’t adopt a child with additional needs if you can’t cope with an aspect of that childs’ needs.

“There are also additional costs however, you do get an adoption allowance and you need to view that as a positive I think.

“At the end you know you’re being loved by a loving and extraordinary child. Sara is such a blessing in our lives, our family have said it’s easy to see why you adopted a third child.”

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Sara, the third child Barbara and Alison adopted. Pic: Barbara
Sara, the third child Barbara and Alison adopted. Pic: Barbara

Caritas Care is among 21 voluntary adoption agencies from all over the UK who have together created a guide for people considering adoption, containing information and advice from parents who have already adopted children with additional needs.

Kate Knowles, Head of Children’s Services from Caritas Care said: “It may sound daunting for people thinking about adoption to consider a child with additional needs but our adoptive parents who have done so say it is incredibly rewarding. It gives a child the chance to flourish and to grow up with the love and security that every child deserves.

 “All children can have additional needs at times. These could be to do with their development, learning, communication, behaviour or emotional wellbeing. There are also children with physical disabilities.

 “Many of the thousands of children waiting in care who have additional needs, wait nearly a year longer than other children. We want to change that.

 “We are excited to be part of this project sharing first hand, heartfelt experience and advice from families who have already done this incredible thing of adopting a child with additional needs.”

Read more: Funding boost for breakfast clubs at schools in Preston

If you are looking to adopt a child with additional needs you can download a copy of the advice guide here.

Caritas Care is a North West charity that provides adoption, fostering, learning disability services & community projects in Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester, with the head office being in Preston.

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