As 2017 draws to a close we can reflect on another eventful and productive year for Adoption Focus.
 
In the culmination of many months of work we have launched The Triangle Project, a partnership with our colleagues at another leading adoption agency, St Francis’ Children’s Society, in Milton Keynes. This dedicated service will allow us to offer early permanence solutions, where children can be placed with registered foster carers who have also been approved as adopters. The aim of this is to reduce the number of moves that children experience and the trauma associated with this upheaval. As part of this exciting new development we have become registered with Ofsted as an independent fostering agency. We are in the early days of publicising this service but have already seen high levels of interest in this innovative, alternative route into adoption.

2017 has been our busiest ever year for adoption enquiries. More people than ever before have contacted us by telephone, by email, through our website and in person at our information events to find out more about adoption and get answers to their questions from our specialist adoption social workers.

The Adoption Support team has built on the excellent work of previous years, with ‘Nurture the Journey’ central to this. ‘Nurture the Journey’ - our comprehensive, tailored support package - is available to everyone who registers with us and is designed to support adopters and their families through every stage of the process. Our training workshops have remained popular and really well received and we’ve now introduced a monthly ‘Training and Events’ newsletter to keep our adopters up to date on upcoming training opportunities.

Thanks to the dedication and goodwill of our fantastic adopters, our Adopter Committee has continued to meet throughout the year to help us steer our organisation with feedback from people who’ve used our service. It’s also thanks to our wonderful adoptive community that we've also been able to continue operating our Buddy Scheme, offering additional valuable peer-to-peer support to everyone going through the process with us.

We’ve held regular social events in each of our locations, including our ever-popular Spring and Autumn Parties. We’re always delighted to catch up with our families at these fun events and see them thriving.

In Business Development, we were successful in our application for funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Big Potential Programme. As a result we are now working with social impact consultants Aleron to identify opportunities to enhance the services we offer, as well as improve how we demonstrate our impact. We have also applied for and received a generous donation from Birmingham Airport Community Trust, which will be used to purchase play equipment for events at our main site.

National Adoption Week 2017 took place in October with adopting siblings as the theme. Activities around the week helped to raise awareness of the high percentage of children in our region who are brothers and sisters in groups of two or more and prompted an increase in the number of enquiries we received from prospective adopters. During the week we attended the National Adoption Week Awards in London, where one of our adopters, Jamie was presented with the Adoption Blog of the Year award for his fantastic blog Daddy and Dad.

We have begun partnerships with the faith-based charities Home for Good and Penny Appeal which have allowed us to help more potential adopters from the Christian and Muslim communities. We have also continued our ongoing relationship with New Family Social who provide an excellent support and information service for LGBT adopters.

Most importantly of all, during 2017 we have placed 61 children with 41 loving families.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our continuing success – our staff, Trustees, volunteers, fundraisers, supporters, colleagues from Local Authorities and, most of all, our wonderful adopters.

As ever, all the work that Adoption Focus does is with one aim - to provide loving and permanent homes for children who need them, and excellent support for our adoptive families. 

Have a very happy new year.

Anna Sharkey
CEO, Adoption Focus