At any one time there are approximately 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.
On average, siblings wait 135 days more than individual children to be adopted. For many prospective parents the thought of adopting two or more children can raise concerns about affordability and physical space.
But a new campaign launched by National Adoption Service for Wales aims to encourage more people to adopt those who have been waiting the longest.
Suzanne Griffiths, Director of the National Adoption Service for Wales, says: “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.”
“We successfully place children from all age groups, genders, backgrounds and circumstances, unfortunately older children, boys, sibling groups and children with additional needs can potentially wait that bit longer.”
“We actively encourage people to consider all children when coming into the adoption process.”
The National Adoption Service and its regional teams support everyone affected by adoption, working with birth parents and relatives, adoptive parents, and professionals to make sure that a child’s best interests are placed at the centre of every adoption.
In their powerful new TV ad we follow the story of a seven-year-old child as he is matched with his new family.
The emotive advert opens with a young boy greeting his adopted father wearing every item of his clothing, including a bobble hat and gloves, yellow wellies and bright blue goggles.
The ad – featuring actors – reveals how the child has been moved around a lot and that it may take a while to come out of his shell.
We watch as the little boy struggles to eat beans on toast with gloves on and how difficult it is to score a goal in wellies.
Eventually, the boy feels safe enough to take off his protective clothing, able to eat popcorn and watch a movie with his dad.
The ad ends with both father and son happily wearing a pair of goggles, with the words ‘Choose adoption. Choose family.’
The advert is based on real-life experiences of adoption across Wales – including Clare and Gareth who adopted a sibling group through Vale, Valley and Cardiff Adoption in 2016.
Clare explains: “Our son wore his swimming goggles every single day, everywhere he went from the day he moved in until the rubber straps perished and fell apart.”
On the advert Suzanne Griffiths says: “We hope the new TV advert will assist people thinking about adoption to understand that children who have experienced a difficult or challenging start in life have often developed their own ways of coping and therefore need time, patience and support to help them to settle into their new families.
“Some settle easier than others but what’s important is that they are enabled to do so at their own pace. The National Adoption Service offers support to all new and established families to assist with those early adjustments, and throughout their lifelong journey as a family.
National Adoption Service is asking people to share images of themselves wearing goggles on social media #ChooseFamily and to reveal the moments that made their family @nas_cymru to encourage others to choose to adopt.
For more information about adoption, visit adoptcymru.com/choosefamily