TWIN babies desperate for a loving family have been split up because there is a shortage of adoptive parents.
That is the shocking news from St Francis’ Children’s Society, the city’s own independent adoption agency.
Today the charity is launching a poignant appeal for more would-be parents, particularly those willing to consider a child with special needs.
Those interested, whether married or single, are invited to attend a special information evening at their Woolstone headquarters next Wednesday, November 2.
The society will be concentrating on the most needy youngsters of all on its books – those with a disability.
“Nationally there are 4,000 children waiting to be adopted and it is thought that 40 per cent of these have a special need,” said spokesman Annette Parmar.
“This adoption week we are working to raise awareness of the magical possibilities of adopting a child with a disability.
“Local families who have adopted disabled children through St Francis’ think it is the best thing they have ever done,” she said.
The case of the sadly separated twins – who did not come through St Francis’’ – happened in this region.
The reason given was that one twin had Down’s Syndrome and nobody could be found to take them both on.
Said Annette: “Currently siblings are being split up and the disabled brother or sister is waiting longer to find a loving home. some may never find a family ... We want more siblings to be placed together.”
Statistics show many of the disabled children awaiting permanent placements are under five years old. Two thirds of them are boys and most are white.
St Francis’, which offers lifelong support to adopters and their children, has this week asked two of its successful parents to tell their stories in the hope more people will be attracted.
Marie is a single woman who worked in a residential respite home in Milton Keynes.
Her decision to adopt came after she saw a televison programme about hard-to-place children.
At 39, through St Francis’, she became proud mum to nine month old baby Lewis, who has Down’s Syndrome.
When Lewis was six years old he started asking for a baby brother so Marie began the process again. When eight-month-old Harry came along, a sickly baby with a string of health problems, it was simply “meant to be”, she says.
Marie admits it was hard work. “I don’t know how I did it . Harry was very weak and vomited up food all the time. But he’d look at me and smile and put his hands up to be picked up. I just wouldn’t be without him now.”
Marie now helps other mothers with Down’s Syndrome children. Meanwhile her own boys are happy, healthy, flourishing at school and enjoying a range of active hobbies.
“There are times when I look at them and I am busrting with pride,” she says. Equally proud are Monica and David, who decided to adopt a couple of years after their third child was born.
Both had careers working with children and, because of their experience, felt they were ready to take on a child with disabilities.
They were drawn to the profile of one little girl, 10-month-old Isabelle.
Both her birth parents had moderate to severe learning difficulties and Isabelle was already showing signs of developmental delay that would lead to both physical and learning problems.
Three months after viewing her details, Monica and David were approved by a matching panel. Days later they met the tiny girl for the first time.
“Everyone loved her. Our birth children, now aged 12, 10 and eight, accepted her and doted on her,” said Monica,
“Isabelle is a massive blessing in our lives and we feel so fortunate to call this wonderful child our daughter.”
* Anybody wanting to attend the adoption evening, or to know more about St Francis’ can call MK 572700 or view the charity’s website on www.sfcs.org.uk.