Marking five years of finding loving homes for children

Monday 22 May 2023

Marking five years of finding loving homes for children

Adoption Tees Valley is celebrating its fifth birthday this month after revealing that it has found loving homes for almost 400 children since the service first launched.

Of the 383 children that have found their forever families through ATV, 126 were placed in families alongside their siblings – meaning they can grow up with their brothers and sisters from their birth families.

Vicky Davidson Boyd, Adoption Tees Valley’s Service Manager, said she was delighted the service had been able to make such a big impact on so many children and young people during its first five years – however more loving homes were needed.

“We are really proud of everything we have achieved in the last five years – we have created a community for adopters and future adopters, which we hope to continue for many years to come,” said Vicky.

“Helping children find their forever families is very rewarding, but our work doesn’t stop there. A large part of what we do is providing support to those families for as long as they need us, with a range of different services and support mechanisms. After you adopt, you are not abandoned. We can support you for as long as required with a range of different support services and a dedicated adoption support team.”

Vicky said the past five years had not been easy for ATV as the Covid pandemic had seen an increase in the number of children taken into care, while the number of potential adoptive parents fell.

And now with the cost of living crisis, some people may feel the time is not right for them to adopt and bring children into their home.

But Vicky said how well-off people were was not a factor in how suitable they were for adoption.

“It isn’t important how big your house is, if you own or rent, or what job you do; if you’re over 21 and can offer a loving, stable home to a child, you may make an ideal adoptive parent,” said Vicky.

“Above anything else, children need love, care, stability and understanding. So many of our children have experienced difficult times, and lots of uncertainty.

“What they need is time and attention – the material things don’t matter, but some allowances may be payable, depending on the needs of the child.”

ATV was created in May 2018, replacing the five local authority adoption agencies in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, and Darlington.

Uniting the services across the Tees Valley under one umbrella has enabled a more joined-up approach between the services and has provided better continuity of support for parents.

ATV supports parents through the adoption process, from initial assessment, training and matching with suitable children, to then providing ongoing support around a range of areas.

Since 2018, it has helped families access over £2 million worth of adoption support through the Adoption Support Fund.

With the focus of adoption now firmly on high-quality services and improving the quality of adoption support, there are now fewer barriers to adoption, and it is simpler and quicker to adopt than ever before. It is much more about circumstances and whether the time is right for individuals.

Joanne Vayro, 47, a long-time foster carer from Hartlepool, was one of the first people to adopt through ATV when she adopted her son, Harvey, now five. She has since gone on to adopt a second child, Harriet.

“Adoption Tees Valley has been brilliant, and so supportive,” said Joanne.

“Adoption can be for anyone; just because you are older or single doesn’t mean you should rule yourself out. I didn’t think I would be a mam again at 42, but it’s truly amazing.”

And Pete and Phill Stockdale, from Stockton, have found the support of ATV vital since they adopted brothers Brett, now 14, and Aiden, 11.

“Adoption Tees Valley has always been in the background for us since we moved back to Teesside,” said Pete.

“They have been a real lifeline with their support while the boys have been growing up. The boys are now happy, confident, and very settled, and the unconditional love we have for each other is just lovely.

“Adoption has enriched our lives and broadened our horizons – it’s expanded our world.”

Adoption Tees Valley offers drop-in information sessions about adoption for those who are just thinking about adopting. For those who have adopted they offer support groups for the parents and children as well as family days, formal training sessions, and therapeutic services, many of which are used by families across the Tees Valley area.

ATV is currently looking for loving homes for 11 children. There are four sibling groups of two children, an older child, and children with additional needs all looking for their forever families. 

To attend an informal drop-in session or for more information, contact info@adoptionteesvalley.org.uk or 01642 526400.

Information events can be booked via the website at https://adoptionteesvalley.org.uk/adoption-events/.

ATV will consider enquiries from within 100-mile radius of the Tees Valley. It treats every enquiry on an individual basis to ensure it can give the best possible support and service.