Written by: Cally Worden
An Adoption Activity Day is a fun, vibrant and caring environment in which potential adopters can meet children who are waiting to be adopted. These events can be attended by adults who are on Stage 2 of the adoption process in England, which means they are under assessment and have, or are likely to, receive a positive recommendation for suitability as adoptive parents.
What Happens at an Activity Day?
Adoption Days are usually themed events with plenty of fun activities laid on for children and prospective parents to enjoy together. Depending on the time of year and the weather, the days may take place in or out of doors. Typical activities include soft play, climbing activities, craft activities and face painting. Many children and adults also dress-up too. Adoption Days are designed to offer a relaxed and non-pressured environment. Adopters are given structured time with the children in which they have expressed an interest, and an opportunity to engage with others they may have thus far overlooked.
Not all children up for adoption will benefit from an Adoption Activity Day. For some, the busy nature of the gathering may simply be too overwhelming. Children are considered on a case-by-case basis, and those who do attend always have a support team around them before, during and after the event to help establish and manage their expectations.
What are the Benefits?
Adoption Activity Days have been found to be extremely productive for all involved. They deliver the following benefits:
- To Adopters – they offer the chance to meet and interact with real children, helping to dispel many of the myths around kids in care. The days also highlight the vast support resources available to adoptive parents, making many potential adopters feel more confident in their decision to proceed
- To Children – these days provide a chance to see that there really are adoptive parents out there who are keen to welcome them into their families. It helps to create hope that may not always be borne out, but generates a positivity in children that aids their self-esteem whether they are eventually placed within an adoptive family or not
- To Foster Carers – as interim contacts for children Foster carers often develop a strong bond with the kids in their care. Adoption Activity Days offer them a great opportunity to be actively involved in the finding of an Adoptive family, offering them great comfort when it’s time for the child to move on. Foster Carers can also offer valuable insight into the type of family environment that will be most suitable for each child
- To Social Workers – spending quality time with the children they represent is a luxury for most Social Workers. Adoption Days allow for this, assisting the Social Workers in preparing more accurate adoption profiles for the kids in their care. It also offers an important opportunity for them to observe the adopters around children
The value of Adoption Activity Days cannot be underestimated. Placement rates from such events are in the region of 25-30%, compared with 11-14% from traditional promotional activities. That means more than twice the number of children find new homes than normal following an Activity Day. If you are interested in adoption then contact your local service for more details.