Over 70 parents respond to appeal to find family for disabled girl

More than 70 parents come forward after appeal to find family for ‘beautiful, inquisitive’ disabled girl, two, before she is placed in permanent care

  • Olivia has been looking for a home nearly all her life and could end up in care
  • She has several disabilities including a cleft lip and palate and breathing issues
  • Social workers describe toddler as a ‘beautiful, inquisitive’ girl with ‘smiley’ face

A public appeal to find a family for a two-year-old disabled girl before she has to be placed in permanent care has had over 70 parents come forward.

Olivia, from Devon, has been looking for a home all her life and social workers who paid tribute to her ‘beautiful, inquisitive’ nature launched an urgent drive this week to try and help her, enlisting an adoption agency.

That organisation Family For Me says she has an ‘amazing smiley face’ and is ‘a real people person’ who likes music, toys, teddies and having a bath. 

Today MailOnline can reveal the drive has been a huge success so far, with over 70 enquiries from people. 

Karen Dale, Family for Me Project Manager said: ‘We have been surprised and excited by the significant number of enquiries we have received from people wanting to learn about becoming an adoptive family for Olivia, since releasing her appeal earlier this week.

‘We feel confident that this beautiful little girl will soon find the family she deserves and thank those who have come forward.

‘We very much hope that these enquiries will help us match more children from the project with their forever family.’ 

Social workers say Olivia (above) has an ‘amazing smiley face’ and is ‘a real people person’ who likes music, toys, teddies and having a bath

Family For Me, is a project set up by charitable trust Families for Children, works to find homes for ‘harder to place’ children.

Social worker Katharine Lane said: ‘The decision to ask us to help comes from her need to be in a stable environment and if we cannot find a forever family through adoption, then we must look at alternative options.

‘The project has a dedicated team of social workers and support staff, with specialist experience who offer Olivia a good chance to find a family of her own.’ 

The toddler was born with an array of complex health needs, including duplication of one of her chromosomes, excessive saliva and breathing issues.

She also has a cleft lip and palate, meaning she cannot consume anything orally and all her food and medicine has to be given to her directly through her stomach.

The toddler has cervical spine abnormalities, hearing issues and a ‘double thumb’.

But Olivia is still developing and her needs will continue to evolve, meaning her family would need to be ‘flexible about the change that inevitably occurs’.

The agency said: ‘As summer approaches and the end of lockdown is in sight most families are looking forward to enjoying time with friends and having some well-earned family fun, but for Olivia the next few months will mark the end to a long and so far, fruitless search for an adoptive family.  

The toddler, who has several disabilities and will likely always need help and medical treatment, will be placed in care permanently if she does not find a home soon

A local authority in Devon has now turned to a specialised adoption agency to help Olivia connect with prospective parents after looking for a family almost all her life

‘Olivia is a beautiful, inquisitive little two-year-old. She has a cheeky personality and amazing smiley face. 

‘Olivia loves to be with others and is a real people person. She enjoys listening to music and playing with noisy and colourful toys. She likes playing with her teddies and dollies like any other little girl and loves a bath!  

‘The nature of Olivia’s disabilities means she will need help and support from her family and health professionals throughout her life but this doesn’t prevent her from being a happy and contented child. 

‘After searches to find a suitable family by the Local Authority where she is cared have so far been unsuccessful, they have asked Family for Me to step in and help.

‘The project is the last chance for Olivia to find her forever family before alternative plans are put in place for her care.’ 

Families for Children was set up in 1995 to place children with adoptive families, particularly those who are ‘harder to place’ such as older children and sibling groups.

The project also works with Regional Adoption Agencies and local authorities to provide support for those in the South West. 

Ruth Marriot, the CEO of Families for Children, said: ‘Children with complex needs feature highly in the numbers of children considered ‘Children who wait the longest’ for adoption.

‘And, although some of these have very high-level medical needs that doesn’t mean that there are not people out there who would have the skills or the will to take them home, claim them as their own and give them a family.

‘These children along with sibling groups and children aged five and over, we search long and hard to find new parents for, and the best parents are those that are able to accept everything the children bring and love them anyway, take advice on parenting them differently and therapeutically, and be flexible about the change that inevitably occurs!’

Anyone looking to adopt Olivia would need to commit to her ongoing medical care and accept her disabilities, the agency added.   

  • If anyone would like to discuss the possibility of being considered as adoptive parents for Olivia, please call 01364 400064

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