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Adoption: What Are The Myths And Truths?

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In association with Adoptee Futures and Our Mel

In 2020, nearly 3,000 children were waiting to be adopted in England, with Black and mixed heritage children waiting longer to be matched with a new adoptive family.

Adopting is seen as beautiful, as a 'happily ever after' story full of goodness and nobility. Adoptees are told that being separated from their birth family is the ‘best thing for them’ and birth parents are told that they are ‘doing the right thing.’

Yet statistics show that adoptees are four times more likely to try and take their own lives than non-adoptees and experience higher levels of mental health issues. In the 'adoption is beautiful' narrative, the voices of adoptees are rarely heard from - likewise the voices of birth parents.

We ask our expert panel what their views and experiences are on adoption. What are the myths of adoption? What are the realities of adopting? How does someone start the process? Does adoption begin from a place of loss? Is adoption trauma? How can we create a narrative that includes the adoptee, adopter and birth parent? And what are the hopes for the future of adoption?

Hosted by Shania Sophia Dunbar Ives and Annalisa S. Toccara, Co-Founders of Adoptee Futures.


Our Mel was born in November 2016 after the Black Lives Matter protests in July 2016, and has since grown into a community of people on a mission to support, encourage, teach and build the community through music, film, arts and education.

Rooted in South Yorkshire, Our Mel is a not-for-profit group dedicated to exploring cultural identity, Black history and what it means to be a person of colour in Britain today.

As part of our work, Our Mel has successfully planned and executed 70 events between 2017 and 2019, with plans to resume events again in Spring 2021.

This includes the renowned MELANINFEST®, Sheffield’s first Black History Month festival. Launched in October 2017 across Sheffield and London, MELANINFEST® came to Leeds in October 2018.

Adoptee Futures is a UK based collective run by adoptees, who’s aim is to create a better future for all those involved in adoption.

Our mission is to Reclaim the narrative, Reframe the worlds view on adoption and help adoptees Heal through their trauma to evolve into the best versions of themselves.

Part of our 2021 festival strand

Progressing Social Justice

Strand sponsors

Learn Sheffield

Learn Sheffield is a not for profit company limited by guarantee, of which 80% is owned by Sheffield schools and colleges and 20% by Sheffield City Council.

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