COVID-19: Adoption enquiries soar as pandemic brings 'opportunities to speed up the process'

·2-min read

There has been a sharp rise in the number of people registering interest in adoption during the pandemic.

Sky News research has uncovered increases across the country, with one adoption agency reporting 65% more enquiries.

It is hoped this translates into more children, who are currently in care, being adopted in 2021.

Prospective parents Catherine and Rachel are planning for their new arrival.

They were approved as adopters during the summer after an IVF treatment ended in miscarriage.

They had always talked about adopting but lockdown focused them further.

"Life slowed down for us, we weren't going out, we weren't doing as many things, we weren't' going on holiday," said Catherine.

The couple have been matched with a sibling group, and if all goes to plan, they could take them home soon.

"I think it's re-evaluated what's important in life. You know, family is ultimately the most important thing, and that's what lockdown has taught us," Rachel said.

Catherine and Rachel found the process easier than they had expected.

Meetings were held as Zoom calls, meaning there was less of a need for travelling.

Molly, who always knew she wanted to adopt after a difficult birth with her first child, finally took home her little boy in the middle of lockdown.

"It was absolutely manic doing it in a pandemic," Molly said.

But despite extra layers of complication due to the virus, she says it was "the best time ever".

She was able to meet him before via Zoom.

"Everything had to be really strictly risk assessed and we had to be really careful to isolate before. But we were just so grateful that we could do it regardless of everything that was going on."

Sky News contacted adoption agencies across England.

Adoption UK says the traffic on their pages is up 63%.

In the South West, Families for Children found enquiries increased by 65%.

Adoption Matters, in the North of England and Wales, told us they've had 25% more inquiries.

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The latest government figures show the number of children being adopted is falling, and yet the number of children in care is increasing.

One of the ongoing problems is the amount of time it takes for cases to be completed in court. This has been further disrupted by the pandemic.

But Adoption UK CEO Sue Armstrong is optimistic the pandemic has brought "opportunities" to speed up the adoption process.

"We've got home visits done remotely and virtually by social workers, meeting adopters on a computer rather than having to visit their homes. That means social workers save all the travelling time and they can fit more virtual visits in a day."