Throughout October 2022 Adoption UK is celebrating Black History Month, with stories from black adopted people and adopters, campaigning to improve support for those affected by adoption and events for black people and other ethnic minorities in the adoption community.

Black History Month began in America, as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora. These days, the Month is also a time to recognise the achievements and contributions that black people make to the UK every day – from the black people working on the frontline in our hospitals and care homes, to the children and young people leading the fight for equality in the classroom, to inspiring adoptees and adopters.

Most adopted children have suffered significant trauma in their early years, and need resilient, stable families to help them thrive. Recent research suggested 80% of black African & Caribbean people have either adopted, considered adoption or might be willing to do so in the future.


Gaer Buchanan-Parkin adopted her son in 2016 and a second son in 2020.

“We didn’t know anyone who was adopted, nor anyone who’d adopted, so it was all new to us. At first, we were a bit like rabbits in the headlights. You go through the process talking about parenting styles but you’re never fully prepared. It took a while for us to get to grips with therapeutic parenting after realising traditional parenting wasn’t working for us or our son. Life is a bit bonkers at times, but the rewards of adoption are endless.” Read more of Gaer’s story here: Gaer | Adoption UK Charity

Like most adopters, for Gaer adoption has been a rollercoaster. In general, black adopters’ experiences of the adoption system are concerning. They tell us they worry the system will work against them, and our research shows they do wait longer for approval to adopt, and for a match with a child. They’re also more likely than other adopters to say the process was so hard, they wondered whether they could continue, and yet less likely to ask their adoption agency for help.

Adoption UK’s Director of Public Affairs Alison Woodhead said: “Black people are having a tougher time in the adoption system than other adopters, and that’s completely unacceptable.”

There are also inequalities in the system for black children. Most children wait approximately 10 months between the court’s decision to place them for adoption and finding an adoptive family. But some groups of children wait longer, including Black and Ethnic Minority children, and black boys wait the longest – 18 months and more.

Alison continued: “No child should wait longer because of the colour of their skin. We need to understand the barriers for black adopters better, and we also need to tackle the bits of the adoption system that aren’t working the way they need to. That involves better outreach, better support for black adopters who do come forward to adopt, and more diverse and better trained social workers.”

Adoption UK are part of a national recruitment campaign called #YouCanAdopt, which has a special focus on children who wait the longest. That includes outreach to black and ethnic communities, and social worker training.

We also run a community group for ethnically-diverse adopters.

Find out more here