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Solicitor urges people to consider adopting
WITH thousands of North-East children set to spend 2014 in care, a solicitor is encouraging people across the region to consider providing a "forever family" for looked-after youngsters.
Rebecca Samuels - who adopted two children and is in the process of adopting two more - decided at an early age to devote her life to the plight of children in care.
Inspired by her mother, who grew up in an orphanage, Ms Samuels became a lawyer in the hope of improving the lives of children in care. Adopting was the next step.
She said: "Because of my mum's experience I always wanted to adopt. I got to 30, was single and living at home but ready to have kids.
"In April 2010 I told the authorities I wanted to adopt and I had my children a year later.
"The first thing my daughter said was "Mummy, I've been waiting for you for so long"."
Adoption has been rewarding and life-changing for Ms Samuels and her children - siblings now aged four and five who were rescued from a neglectful and abusive background.
She said: "At first, they were quite far behind developmentally.
"My son is autistic, didn't have speech, had problems with food and was still in nappies.
"My daughter has a hearing impairment and her speech was delayed. Because of her experiences, she was too scared to leave her room at night.
"Their problems didn't faze me and it's been so rewarding seeing them change.
"They adjusted very well and they've been completely claimed by my family who adore them.
"Being part of a secure family with love, structure and attention has helped them blossom."
Ms Samuels, from Thornaby, has issued an appeal for more people to consider adopting.
She said: "There are thousands in care and only a small number of people approved to adopt.
"So many children will never find a forever home because of the shortage.
"Sibling groups, disabled children and those over six are the hardest to find families for and more girls than boys are adopted.
"I probably am an example of the worst case scenario as a single person still living at home taking on two disabled children but I have found the whole process simple and very rewarding."
Ms Samuels worked with Darlington Borough Council to adopt and would encourage those interested to contact their local authority.