A MAN from Abercarn is taking part in a campaign to encourage adoption, after new research revealed myths are preventing potential adopters from coming forward.

Research released by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) today reveals misunderstandings about who is eligible to adopt is contributing to a shortage of adopters in Wales.

The research shows one in four Welsh adults believe being over the age of 40 would prevent them from being able to adopt a child, when there is no upper age limit for prospective adopters.

Nearly half of those surveyed also think being unemployed or overweight would discredit them from giving a child a permanent family home, but there are no such restrictions.

Nick Lewis, who was adopted at birth, is urging prospective adopters to come forward by taking part in a photography exhibition organised by the BAAF and adoption agencies Adoption UK, After Adoption, Barnardo’s and St David’s Children’s Society.

The digital photography exhibition, entitled ‘Adopting Attitudes’, aims to promote adoption in Wales and features a range of adoptive parents and adoptees from various backgrounds.

The 25-year-old is keen to de-stigmatise the adoption process through the campaign launched as part of National Adoption Week. There are 5,745 children in the care of the local authorities in Wales and 275 were placed with adoptive families last year.

Figures also show a fifth of Welsh people believe single people are not eligible to adopt. The charity is worried this misconception may have contributed to the low number (nine per cent) of adoptions by single people last year.

Mr Lewis, who is a freelance equality and human rights consultant, said: “I have been extremely lucky and privileged to grow up with great parents.

“It is crucial that the misconceptions are dispelled, and more people are encouraged to foster and adopt. I had a wonderful upbringing and it’s unfortunate that so many children are missing out on a loving home because people feel worried that they will be rejected.

“I would particularly encourage more single people, those in same sex relationships, disabled people, gender variant people, black and minority ethnic (BME) and others to consider adoption. It is an extremely rewarding experience and will ensure more children and young people have a stable and loving home to be proud of.”

Wendy Keidan, Director for BAAF Cymru, said: “There is a concerning shortage of adopters in comparison to the number of children waiting for adoptive families.

“Children need security, stability, love and a true sense of belonging in a home environment. We know that these homes can take many different forms.”

The ‘Adopting Attitudes’ exhibition will be unveiled in the Senedd on November 6.