Every child should have a right to the security of family life — but a lack of adopters mean that one in every four children up for adoption will never know what it is like to have loving parents.

As this week is National Adoption Week, SIMONE YATES spoke to one East Lancashire mum who is making a difference to a child’s life.

CARING for children is in Beverley Hodkinson’s nature.

She is warm and friendly and has nursed thousands of babies, children and teenagers for the past 10 years on the Royal Preston Hospital’s children’s ward.

But when the 40-year-old looked into adoption she knew that it was a path she wanted to go down, providing a sibling for her oldest daughter and a loving home for a child.

Although she was a single mum, Beverley opted to take on a child who had a disability, because that was ‘the right thing to do’.

“I knew that I wanted a child with disabilities because I just knew that I could care for them and make a difference to their life.

“I was happy to take on a young child who hadn’t been given the best start in life because you completely change the path that they take,” said Beverley, from Blackburn.

Once she went through the adoption process, Beverley was paired with Toni, a two-year-old who was born with foetal alcohol syndrome.

She said: “It was something that I always wanted to do and once I had made the application to adopt it was just a waiting game.

“My biological daughter had to be assessed by a social worker and because the process is very detailed, we did find that she was happy for me to adopt and that she also wanted a baby sister.

“Then, when I was told I would be adopting Toni it was just fantastic news — and when we were finally paired together I was over the moon.”

Lancashire County Council currently has 86 children waiting for new homes, while Blackburn with Darwen Council has 25.

Seventeen children are aged between five and 11 and eight are aged under five.

The children are a mix of ethnicities. Some are in sibling groups and some have disabilities.

Although people think that adoption is unavailable to single people, Beverley, advised both women and men should ‘go for it’ if they are interested.

The busy mum is also a foster carer and manages to work, care for her two daughters and take in foster children.

She added: “I don’t know if I will foster more children because of Toni’s needs and there is a limit to how much responsibility that I can give.

“But this way I have my two girls but I can also help even more children by fostering.”

Now that her adoptive child is seven and her biological child, Shelby, is 14, family life is happy despite certain stereotypes that today’s parents can face.

“People sometimes think that you shouldn’t adopt a child if you are single and I do feel like there is a barrier in some cases.

“But why should it matter when you are providing a happy home? It is easier than being in the wrong relationship.

“We enjoy having family days out and, although Toni does have learning and behavioural problems, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Blackburn with Darwen adoption team is holding an information evening at Blackburn Central Library tomorrow from 5pm-7pm.

It will give you a chance find out more about adoption and talk with a social worker.

For more information contact the adoption team on 0800 328 6919.