West Sussex County Council is asking people to consider whether they can offer children a new forever family ahead of National Adoption Week, which runs from November 3 to November 9 2014.
The county council is particularly keen to hear from people who could consider adopting siblings, and in doing so help brothers and sisters stay together.
To help prospective parents find out more, an information evening is being held at County Hall North, Horsham, on Tuesday 4 November (6pm-9pm).
Adoptive parents as well as members of the Council’s adoption team will be on hand to share their experiences and answer any questions.
Sue, from the Adur district, has two adopted children. She said: “It has been the most amazing experience for us.
“From start to finish, the adoption process took around 13 months for our first child. When you think about it, that’s only a few months longer than it takes to have a baby.
“You get asked a lot of personal questions, but you just have to be prepared to be completely honest from the start – you spend a lot of time talking about yourself, your past and your life now.
“You also need to be honest about what you want and what you can cope with.
“But the final result makes it all worth it. When they call you mummy for the first time, there are no words that can describe how it feels. It’s just incredible.”
Adoption provides a safe, secure and permanent environment for a child who can no longer be brought up by their birth parents.
Since April, 19 children in West Sussex have already been adopted while in 2013-2014 a total of 51 were adopted.
The county council’s adoption team is currently finding families for more than 60 children.
Peter Evans, cabinet member for children – start of life, said: “Adoption is open to more people than you might think. We encourage prospective families from all walks of life to come forward. You can apply to adopt regardless of your marital status, sexuality, gender, cultural or ethnic background.
“We are particularly looking for people who can provide homes to older children – those aged five and over – and sibling groups.
“We want to try to help brothers and sisters who come into our care stay together, but to do that we do need more parents who want – and are able – to care for more than one child.
“Choosing to adopt is wonderful, but we know it is also a life-changing experience.
“That’s why I would encourage anyone who is considering adoption to come along to the open evening to find out more about the process and what’s involved.”
Sue added: “Speaking from my own experience, talking to people who have been through the adoption process is extremely helpful.
“The open evening is a great opportunity to do that and to talk to people like me and my husband.
“Nobody understands what you are going through better than we do, because we’ve been where you are – and we’ve come out the other side with a wonderful family.”
For more information about adoption, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/adoption or call 0330 222 7775.