BBC Scotland’s health correspondent Eleanor Bradford has spoken out about her experience as an adoptive mum, as she backed an appeal for more would-be parents to consider adopting older children.

The TV news reporter and her partner Ross are adoptive parents to two brothers, William and Edward, who were aged four and seven, when they were placed with the couple two years ago. The couple were actively seeking older children, but many families do not consider them, according to adoption agencies.

Ms Bradford said she had been surprised how quickly the boys were placed with them, after they were approved to adopt. “They came to see us the next day and asked us if we’d like to see photos of William and Edward. We know a lot of parents who have had to wait a long time to adopt, but for us it was panic as we hadn’t expected it to happen so soon."

Eleanor said there it was sad for older children that some adoptive parents automatically rule them out: “You can’t pick them up and swing them around like a toddler but you can have even more fun with them," she said. "I’d definitely recommend adopting older children.”

Statistics published by information service First4Adoption reveal that the average age of children waiting to be placed in adoptive families is four. Older children are often likely to be in sibling groups or to have additional needs and there is currently a shortage of adoptive parents coming forward for these children.

Ms Bradford added: “It’s a shame there’s a myth that with older children that ‘the damage is done’, because that’s not our experience at all.”

Hugh Thornbery, Chief Executive of Adoption UK, said: “We believe all children can enjoy positive futures.”