National Adoption Week highlights importance of identity

Date Released - 17/10/2022

A national week of action is recognising the significance of identity for children who are adopted and asks people in Tameside ‘could you be a part of their life story?’

Local adoption agency Adoption Now is supporting National Adoption Week which aims to raise awareness of the need to be connected to our pasts, to improve our sense of identity and emotional wellbeing, something that is crucial for those who have been adopted as they mature into adulthood.

A recent survey conducted by the National You Can Adopt team revealed the special role that ‘memory boxes’ and other sentimental items play in forming our identities and reminding us of the past. 68% of people asked in the North-West said they keep a ‘memory box’ or equivalent; the most common items are printed photographs, greetings cards, toys, and handwritten letters.

Memories and keepsakes often play an important role in forming our identities and reminding us of the past, with over half of those asked saying they would try to save a ‘memory box’ or equivalent from their home in an emergency; and for adopted people these items can be even more vital.

As part of the You Can Adopt campaign an emotional, short film exploring the relationships and memories of four adopted people has been released. It watches them look back through their ‘memory boxes’, which have helped them develop and have an impact on their sense of identity.

Tiegan, who speaks with her birth father about her memory box in the film, said: "Finding my birth father when I was 18 was a really happy moment: knowing each other, even if it didn't come to anything, helped me understand where I stood in the world. I also found out my dad kept a sonogram from my birth mother's pregnancy, which I now have and is so special to me. As an adopted person, you don’t expect to have baby photos, let alone a sonogram, I couldn’t believe it. To know he kept that is amazing, it shows my life is an ongoing journey.”

Tiegan, who met her birth dad two years ago, added: “I think it's important to be told you're adopted from the very beginning, my mums knew they weren't just adopting me, they were adopting my whole history and family as well. There are still struggles, you'll never get every piece of information. But there were four years of my life before I was adopted, and that’s still part of my story.”

Many factors can play a role in influencing an adopted person’s identity; including special memories with foster carers and friends, contact with birth parents, knowledge of their family history, and the relationships formed with their adoptive families. Adoption Now is also highlighting the need for current and prospective adoptive families to understand this and  encourage and support children through their life-stories.

Karen Barrick, Head of Service at Adoption Now, said: “Exploring identity can be a life-long journey for adopted people and that’s why we are here to support adoptive families every step of the way. We understand not all adopted people will have mementos from their early life or the opportunity to have contact with people from their life before they were adopted, but we do encourage access to a range of quality information and support adopters to make it a priority to help their children to understand and develop their identity We’re looking for adopters who can make a positive difference in a child’s life so if that’s you please do get in touch.”

Councillor Bill Fairfoull, Deputy Executive Leader with a responsibility for Children and Families at Tameside Council said: “Having been adopted myself as a child, I know the importance of having information about your past and how it can really help develop a positive sense of identity and wellbeing, so I fully support this campaign.

“And I strongly encourage people in Tameside who are considering adoption to find out more to begin their adoption journey. Every child deserves the support of a stable home and family.”

If you would like to be part of a child’s life-story by becoming adopters or would like adoption support in Tameside you can visit or to find out more about National Adoption Week visit