A Yorkshire family are urging people to consider adopting siblings as figures show children waiting to be adopted outnumber adoptive parents three to one.
Despite an enormous shortage of people willing to take on siblings, Lexi and Barry Wilson, who adopted three children aged three, two and five months in 2017, say they have never looked back.
Though the couple, from Scarborough, admitted going from having no children to three was “absolutely exhausting”, they said it was “so rewarding”.
Mrs Wilson, 32, said: “It was a huge challenge at first - especially with a baby, because we’d never had a baby before.”
In addition, the children have had some physical and emotional difficulties as a result of their early life with their birth parents, which has meant they needed play therapy to help deal with traumatic memories.
However, one of the benefits for the Wilsons in adopting siblings was going through the adoption process only once as the three girls came as a package.
“They could have been separated and that would have been quite tragic. We were really passionate about keeping the siblings together,” said Mrs Wilson.
The children have been keen to embrace clubs and activities and they now take part in swimming, rainbows, dance and drama.
“They really thrive on being away and they’re quite popular with other children - they’re always out at birthday parties.
“It’s been absolutely amazing,” added Mrs Wilson.
Across West Yorkshire alone there are more than 150 children waiting to find their permanent family.
Sarah Johal, head of One Adoption West Yorkshire, said: "At the moment we are especially looking for people who would be able to provide a loving home for sibling groups and children with mixed heritage backgrounds.
“People often assume that you have to be a certain type of person to adopt, but this isn’t the case. We want people who are committed to having a positive impact on a child’s life, and are devoted to providing them with a secure and loving home.”
Councillor Fiona Venner, chair of the West Yorkshire Adoption Joint Committee, said: "The close working relationship between One Adoption West Yorkshire and all local authorities in the region means that we have been able to streamline processes and reduce the amount of time some children wait to find a permanent home.
“Unfortunately this isn’t the case for all children - those in sibling groups or from minority ethnic backgrounds do tend to wait longer, so we really need more people to come forward who feel they can offer these children a stable, loving home.”
Anyone interested in hearing more about adoption can come along to The Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds on Saturday 25 January at 10am and The Mercure Bradford Bankfield Hotel on Tuesday 4 February at 6.30pm to learn about the process and talk to social workers and experienced adopters. There is no need to book on these events.