Baby Ethan is surrounded by a team of professionals who care for him deeply. Nevertheless, they aren’t a forever family – and that’s what Ethan needs. Ethan is just one of many disabled children who would benefit from a permanent loving home and the devotion of an adoptive family. Able Magazine spoke with those who care for Ethan about why they think that a disabled person should consider adoption.
Is it difficult to find adoptive parents?
Adoption services do not generally struggle to place healthy babies with adoptive families, however, older children or babies with additional needs would benefit from being cared for by parents with a specific insight into their individual needs.
Tell us a little bit about Ethan, please…
Ethan is a contented little boy and his carer says that he is a delight to care for. He is beginning to show his happiness through babbling. He loves to be stimulated with toys of different textures, lights and music; one of his favourite things to do is to visit the sensory room. He likes being read to, especially musical books and having nursery rhymes sung to him.
Ethan is described as being a handsome little boy with light brown hair with a red tone when the sun shines on it. It is known that Ethan was exposed to substance misuse when his birth mum was pregnant and it is unknown at this stage what impact this is likely to have on his future development. Since Ethan’s birth in December 2017 it has become apparent that he has some ongoing health needs.
His foster carer, Jill, has cared for Ethan since he was in hospital and he has lived with her since he was discharged.
Ethan is currently tube fed and is receiving physiotherapy to support his physical development.
Ethan is most relaxed when either being cuddled or lying in his cot with his mobile on and other sensory stimulation. He enjoys walks in his pushchair and being in the bath. He is quiet and placid throughout the day and is reported to be an easy baby to care for.
He seems to be too young to be given any specific diagnoses…
It is known that Ethan is likely to have a range of complex needs, so he has the input of several of healthcare specialists. He sees a speech therapist because he does not yet swallow or have a suck reflex. The speech therapist has offered different strategies to try to encourage and enhance these skills. He sees a physiotherapist who has shown his foster carer particular exercises to do with Ethan.
He has a visual impairment and has been referred to a neurologist. There is a potential that he has cerebral palsy and his future development needs are unknown at this stage.
Would South Tyneside consider adoption applications from disabled people?
We are looking for someone who is going to adore and cherish Ethan throughout his life. They should be able to give their time and be able to meet his needs, including his future health and development milestones. We are looking for adopters who can accept this level of uncertainty and are able to commit to Ethan regardless of the extent of his difficulties.
Would a disabled person be a good match for Ethan?
Absolutely. A disabled person is likely to have a good insight into Ethan’s experiences, such as input from different professionals and the possibility of discrimination from others. Ethan needs a forever family who have the drive to advocate for him as he grows and develops.
If a disabled person wanted to discuss becoming an adoptive parent, who do they need to contact?
Please contact Maddy Reed at South Tyneside Adoption Service on: 0191 423 8500 or email: Madeline.Reed@southtyneside.gov.uk