National Adoption Week 2023: Portraits featuring generations of adopted people show how adoption has evolved

To mark the launch of National Adoption Week (16 to 22 October), Adopt London North has shared a powerful set of portraits captured by London-based royal, fashion and portrait photographer Philip Sinden, who was adopted himself in the 1970s

The portraits show striking imagery of eight people adopted between the 1960s and 2010s against a backdrop of their own emotive, poignant words that bring to life how adoption has shaped, and continues to shape, their life and highlights how adoption has changed over the years. 

The portraits have been released alongside a brand-new short film captured during the photoshoot and tells first-hand the group’s different experiences of adoption. 

The campaign during National Adoption Week 2023 shines a light on the positive impact adoption has had on their lives, and the progress made by government and local authority children’s services to ensure children, and their sense of identity is at the heart of the adoption journey. 

The film shows how different adoption looks today from 50 years ago for adopted people. We have grown in our understanding based on what adult adoptees and research is telling us. Nowadays, staying in touch with birth relatives, when appropriate, is an expected part of the adoption process and is in the best interests of the adopted child. Every child should have a life story book, a later life letter, and memory box, which all helps them stay connected to their past. 

Isabelle, who was adopted in the 1980s and features in the film alongside her adopted son Nathanial (adopted in the 2010s), said: “Having been adopted myself, and then going on to adopt my two children, I know the importance of having an open dialogue around adoption. I want my kids to grow up knowing where they came from, and where possible, maintaining contact with their birth families. I didn’t know about my birth mother until I was much older, meaning I always had questions about my identity and history. Adoption is not a line in the sand between one life and another. It is something that should be open and celebrated – and I’m passionate about doing that with both my children."

Philip Sinden, adoptee and the celebrated photographer behind these images, said: “I was adopted in the 1970s and unfortunately didn't know much about my history growing up, but more recently have been on a journey to find out more about it. It is encouraging to see and hear from some of the stars of our portraits about how positive they feel about their experiences and how much adoption has evolved."

  • Camden is part of Adopt London North, having joined adoption teams in Barnet, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey and Islington to become one adoption agency. To find out more about adoption, visit
  • Philip Sinden, who was adopted, is a fashion and portrait photographer living in London. He is currently working on a film documenting his journey to trace his birth parents.