Wanted – A Family of My Own is a new ITV series, made by Wall to Wall that I have been working on over the last few months. It’s about the process of placing children for adoption. The team gained fantastic access via social services and it should be an excellent series. First part of four airs on ITV Thursday 24th April at 7pm.

More information:



Wanted: A Family of My Own – Episode one
The profoundly life changing process of adoption is uncovered in this new four part series. Following the stories of parents desperate to adopt and children who need families, cameras have been granted access into many defining moments of the adoption process from prospective parents’ meetings with social workers and facing adoption panels, to the moment a child leaves their foster carers and meets their new parents for the first time.
Presented by Nicky Campbell, himself adopted as a baby, the series sets out to provide an intimate insight into adoption in Britain today, through the experiences of children and couples followed at close quarters as they progress through the proceedings involved.
In showing key stages of each child and each couple’s experience, Wanted: A Family of My Own, offers a rare perspective on the impact of adoption on the lives of those involved. Looking at why children need new families, the range of people who want to adopt and how the process operates, the series builds an understanding of adoption today which may challenge preconceptions.
Across the series we meet a gay couple who thought they would never become parents, a single mum who is adopting for the third time, a baby boy who was born addicted to crack cocaine and couples who, after struggling with infertility, are finally getting close to having families of their own. The unique access to each story was acquired by working in partnership with local authorities across the UK over a two year period.
Nicky was born in Edinburgh in the 1960s. His birth mother travelled there from Ireland to escape the stigma of being pregnant outside of marriage. After being born in the Scottish capital, Nicky was adopted when he was a young baby. The circumstances leading to children being put up for adoption have changed over the years but a large number are still waiting for new families.
Nicky explains: “The shame of illegitimacy back then meant thousands of women across the country gave their children up for adoption each year. Today children are rarely given up for adoption, the vast majority are taken away from their birth parents because of a history of neglect or abuse.”
Dan and Ania who have been together for six years are desperate to adopt. Originally from Poland, Ania met Dan when she came to the UK to work. Dan has two daughters from a previous relationship and the pair want to complete their family by having children of their own. After Ania suffered two miscarriages they decided to look into adoption.
Their first step is to meet with their social worker Fran who assesses their suitability to adopt. As Ania tells the programme, in these meetings, every subject is covered, from discussions about their own childhoods to their financial history. Fran prepares Ania and Dan to face an adoption panel where it will be decided whether they will be allowed to adopt. Made up of independent professionals and people who have personal experience of adoption, the panel can ask the couple anything about their family background, medical history or even their personal temperament.
Ania says: “It’s quite funny that our social worker knows us better than our families. She knows everything even our ups and down and stuff you normally don’t share with your family – she knows!”
The panel are unanimous in their approval for Dan and Ania to become adoptive parents and the search can now begin to find a suitable child for them. Dan says: “We’ve been working towards this day and now we’ve done it we can stop focusing on us and focus on finding the correct child to join our family.”
The social worker Fran will now try to match up a child with the couple. Nicky explains: “The most critical part of the adoption process is matching a child with the right parents. The one thing everyone wants to avoid is the adoption breaking down after the child has moved in with the new family.”
When Fran next visits the couple she brings information about two children who need adopting. Will this finally lead to them having a child of their own?
Also in the first episode we see the story of a baby boy who is nine months old and lives with foster carers Angela and Mick. The couple, who are both in their seventies, have fostered over 100 children. They have looked after him since he was nine days old as his parents both have severe mental health problems. Mick says: “He was very, very quiet in those early days and we were quite concerned. He didn’t cry and that was odd, it was as if he had switched off. Babies cry, they are supposed to.”
Angela adds: “We had to wait until he made a noise then we’d pick him up and he learnt very quickly he was being cared for and it was all ok.”
Although he is developing at a normal rate, his parents’ mental health history means his social worker Claire is struggling to find adoptive parents and she has been looking for the last three months.  She arranges for him to attend an adoption activity day where prospective adopters can meet children face to face and see if any bonds develop.
Angela says: “I just pray and hope that there is someone out there who will just fall in love with him. We have fallen in love with him and my goodness if I was 30 years younger we would be fighting to keep him.”
The longer he stays with Angela and Mick the more they worry about how he will cope with leaving them when adoptive parents are found. Angela says: “Coming up to nine months he’s become totally attached to me. So I think it’s going to be harder for him to break away and reattach. It’s going to be a bit more traumatic I think.”

2 Responses

  1. After watching this programme I feel very strongly about the issues raised as I have been on both sides of the adoption process, I still cannot believe in this day and age the attitude of some of the adopters , for children to reach this stage do they not understand that they will have emotional or physical problems and to some extent all the children will have some emotional problems as they are not being cared for by their birth families, when I watch them going through a check list Of the type of child they will accept, surely if they are that desperate for a child the least important factor is what sex they are even birth parents don’t get that choice!!!
    I think some times these people need to be very clear about why they are adopting because the reality of adopting a child is very different from having your own children and they always inherit traits from their birth families so the vision that some of them seem to have of the perfect child when under there care is ridiculous

    If you want a child to the extent they say they do surely knowing who the birth father or the background of the parents is totally irrelevant and the women desperate to see pictures to see wether she can say yes or no is beyond belief, she states she would not adopt a child because the birth mother does not know who the father is !!!!

    How the hell do these people get approved is it all about what they have in the bank and wether they have a nice house that is not what is important to an adopted child it is the time and love you are shown after you have already lost one set of parents.

    I feel if they are up for adoption it is up to the social worker to match the child not for the adopters to pick and choice like they are going for their weekly shop, and then if it doesn’t work out they can hand them back.

    There has been a lot of programmes recently about adoption I think it would be good to screen a programme about the effects of adoption on the children such as me and others and how the whole process affects us, because we are people who wear the scares of bad placements and decisions made we have no choices, what about the sibling groups that are separated at both and adopted separately and adopted parents who don’t even tell the children they are adopted .

    I feel that the adopters are put on too much of a pedestal sometimes and not enough research is shown about the down side to the process and the effect the unrealistic expectation have on the children they are adopting.

  2. I think ‘WANTED: A Family of My Own’ is absolutely wonderful. At Last a programme about adoption. Well done Nicky! However, I do just want to say that I am upset by your programme ‘Long Lost Families’ – because I feel it fails to show the happy reality of adoption – hence I feeel this new programme is so needed. Before, I kept hearing about finding peoples ‘real mum’ and never the fact that the mother who reared them – is infact their ‘real mum.’ The mother is the person who brought them up and who was there through their childhood, looking after them and loving them for who they were – she was the one who influenced their very being. With your programme, ‘Wanted; A Family of My Own,’ we can clearly see that the adopters love is as real as those who gave birth. Giving birth is the easy bit, bringing up a child is for life! and it involves dedication and love. Adoption is a ‘family for life’ and I think it is fantastic that you are trying to show this. So many people see adoption as some kind of bad thing, why can’t they see it can be amazing for both the child and for the adoptive parents. At last you are trying to show that adoptive love is as strong as birth love – I hope people will see this. To all of the team in ‘Wanted: A Family of My Own’ – your hard work making this programme has been amazing and it is much appreciated, the more publisity for adoption the better! Thank you for fighting the caurse.

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