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BBC Yorkshire highlights value of adopting children with additional needs

Today (21st May 2024) the BBC has told the story of Joanne and Dominic, a couple from South Yorkshire, who adopted their daughter who is deaf and wears hearing aids. The coverage follows the recent launch of a new advice guide for people considering adopting children with additional needs, created by our Voluntary Adoption Agency (VAA) members with very special contributions from adoptive parents.

You can find the resources mentioned on the BBC here:

The broadcast feature on BBC Look North can be watched here. You can also read the written feature here: Adoption: Calls for families to adopt amid rate decline

The BBC Leeds radio interviews with adopter Joanne, as well as CVAA CEO Satwinder Sandhu, are available on the Rima Ahmed show here.

  • Interview with adopter Joanne – 1hr:13m
  • Interview with Satwinder Sandhu, CVAA CEO – 2hr:13m

Some key quotes from the interviews can be found below:

“We hadn’t set out to adopt a child with additional needs but a profile came through to us and we were immediately drawn to it … She was described as a ‘lively chatterbox’ and that instantly stuck with me … there was something about her and we knew ‘this is the one’ and despite it saying that she was deaf and we didn’t know much about the deaf community or the spectrum of deafness, we were open to learning, and we knew that in the grand scheme of things everything else about her personality traits fit really well within our family.”

“The support has been absolutely amazing, through the adoption agency itself [Yorkshire Adoption Agency] you get lifelong support and the training they do with you is absolutely fantastic”

“She’s amazing … very sassy … she’s brilliant and she recently did a presentation to her class on deafness so she’s really owning that identity which is really nice to see and all we want for her. She’s thriving..”

“Don’t discount any child just because they’ve got a disability. You don’t know what’s going to crop up with any child in the future. Do your research but you’re more capable than you think and the important thing is that this child has got a home where they’re loved and safe and secure … we’re so lucky to have her”.

  • Adopter Joanne

“Our job at CVAA and with our adoption agency members is to really support them to think about things from a different perspective – from the child’s perspective – and really come in with a can-do attitude. As you’ve heard Joanne and Dominic talk about learning sign language – whilst it’s not easy, it was a very simple practical step, that enables them to adopt their daughter.”

“It’s really important to see children as children. Every single child, whether they are adopted or not, has needs of some description, and what they need is adults who can give them safety, love security, as well as meet their additional needs – and there’s so much support available.”

“Yorkshire Adoption Agency, who are one of our members, have an amazing team. I’d recommend anyone just contact them via the internet or pick up the phone [01302 638337]  because obviously talking to social workers who support families day in day out, will give people thinking about adoption or thinking about an additional needs child that additional level of information support and hopefully reassurance so they can do this.”

“Children waiting for adoption often have experienced more difficulties in life … they’ve lost things and people in their lives potentially … It really is our onus on us as a society to give them that opportunity to be part of a family – to understand who they are and where they’ve come … But more important, just to be children, and to be able to have a life that gives them the opportunities that we would all wish for every single child.”

“If you’re already approved to adopt, whether it was with a local authority or voluntary agency, talk to your social worker about learning more, about getting additional training and skills to think about children with additional needs, because you won’t regret it.”

– Satwinder Sandhu, CVAA CEO