It is shocking that as I write this blog over 3,000 children are pining for the love and attention many of us take for granted. All they want is a normal home life.
As it is National Adoption Week I want to raise the profile of two adoptive mothers and successful businesswomen from Berkshire who are taking part in a very special run to raise awareness about fostering and adoption at a time when the public have demonstrated a caring attitude towards the Syrian crisis.
Helen Costa and Clare Brasier, who founded the innovative social enterprise, the Cornerstone Partnership, will be competing in the Capital Runners’ 5km in Richmond Park next Sunday, along with colleagues, including dedicated social workers and officials from the Department for Education.
By donning their running-shoes and setting themselves this challenge, they hope to raise awareness and find permanent homes for children over the age of 4 or with complex needs, so that they can benefit from the stability, love and consistency of a “forever family” instead of an uncertain future in care.
Helen Costa CEO said: “There are currently over 3,000 children waiting for permanent homes in the UK – either via adoption or long term foster care. The amazing outpouring from the general public in response to the refugee crisis in Syria has demonstrated the willingness and generosity of families in the UK who are ready and able to provide the love, support and stability so desperately needed by those children already in the UK care- system, but perhaps until now unnoticed. We want to raise awareness of the needs of these children, who are already here and waiting in the care system – the majority of whom have been waiting for many, many months and in some cases years – in the hope that suitable families can be found.”
Since Cornerstone was set up in January this year, it has helped to prepare and support over 100 families across Berkshire and in West London to adopt. Cornerstone, which is based in Maidenhead, has also now embarked on a concerted campaign to recruit a very special cohort of foster carers who can support older children (aged 5-18) and provide stable home environments for some of the most vulnerable children who enter the care system. One of the organisation’s key advocates and mentors is Sue Clifford who along with her husband Jim (OBE) has adopted 9 older children over the last 25 years.
“Adoption for me is a journey we take our children on to help them reframe their view of the world from one of threat, danger and pain to one where there are endless opportunities,” says Sue. “It can be hard work, but when you have a child who used to get so angry he would hit you, who then hugs you and says ‘Mummy, you smell of love’, you know it has all been worthwhile.”
Cornerstone’s 5km run will form part of a series of event across the country for National Adoption Week, which this year has “Too Young at 4” as a strapline. First4Adoption, the national adoption service, is also publishing a new study which examines people’s attitudes to adoption and reveals some interesting statistics, including the fact that the average age of children waiting to be placed in adoptive families is just 4 years old. To read more go to: First 4 Adoption’s Adoption and Children Survey 2015.
If you want to know more I suggest you check out the Cornerstone Partnership. I personally wish Sue and Helen the best of luck this weekend and look forward to interviewing them on MarlowFM Mid Morning Matters programme which I do, fortnightly on Thursday mornings.
Carla Delaney Communications
Business Writer of the Year Award Winner