WERE you lucky enough to have a safe and secure place to call home and a loving family to support you when you were young?

If so, have you ever thought about how different your life might have been if you hadn’t?

Our childhoods shape who we become as adults, so it is vital that we provide children with the opportunity to grow up in a caring and supportive environment.

However, there are currently dozens of children in the north east who don’t have a permanent home or a family to support them.

That’s why Durham County Council is currently running a campaign to highlight the need for people who want to adopt. There are 33 children awaiting adoption in County Durham alone, yet across the region there are three times as many children as there are adoptive families.

In our area, nine children have been waiting more than six months for a forever family.

There are many misconceptions about who can and can’t adopt but the reality is that there are very few barriers for those willing to share their home – and lives – with a child or young person.

For example, being single does not prevent you from adopting. In 2018/19, 430 adoptions in England were by single people.

Equally, your age, ethnicity or sexuality will not be a barrier to adopting – across the country, there are lots of same sex couples who have adopted, including those who are married, in a civil partnership or who are living together. And these adopters are of all ages and ethnic and social backgrounds. It doesn’t matter if you own your own home or if you rent; if you already have children, if you’ve adopted before or if you’ve never had a child.

It’s true that many factors are taken into consideration when you are being considered as an adopter, such as disability or your general health, but you will never be automatically ruled out because of any of these.

The Northern Echo:

All that really matters is that you can provide a loving home and the care and protection a child needs. Your patience, time and commitment can change a child’s life forever.

If you are interested in adopting, visit www.durham.gov.uk/adoption or look for @DurhamFosterAdopt on Facebook.

  • Column supplied by Simon Henig, who is chairman of Durham County Council