Friday, 18 June 2010

Celebrating gay adoption this Father's Day

Andy and his partner recently became adoptive dads. Andy also runs New Family Social a UK support group for lesbian and gay adopters and foster carers, and he talks here of the positivity in the group.

"We are just coming up to our first father's day as dads, three years after taking the plunge with adoption. We had our ups and downs going through the process, and were lucky to have shared our adoption journey with many other parents-to-be, who, along with their new children, are now good friends.

"When we were taking our first tentative steps, I was surprised that we couldn't find a support group for gay and lesbian adopters. That's why I started New Family Social, which quickly became a very large and active group, with hundreds of adopters, prospective adopters, and now foster carers, all over the UK.

"New Family Social members can share advice, support and news on a private message board, and get together with others in their area. The most important aspect of this is how much it benefits our children, who gain the confidence and resilience of knowing other adopted children of LGBT parents.

"There is a real sense of community and positivity in the group. It's probably true to say that for most of us, adoption was our first choice for forming a family. I work with many adoption agencies in running New Family Social, and staff are often struck by the energy and enthusiasm lesbians and gay men have for adoption, and by our openness to the additional demands of being adoptive parents.

"Some social workers and panel members still have their doubts about the value of lesbian and gay adopters. However, the practitioners and team managers I know who have experience of placing children with these families are unequivocal in their support, and are keen to share their positive experiences with those who still need convincing. New Family Social is working to help with this, as well as with future research, and media work to increase public awareness.

"I have certainly noticed things move forward in the last few years, as more and more children's social workers recognise the specific strengths that lesbian and gay adopters may have. Whereas we were once treated as a "last resort", we are now often seen to offer a helpful mix of skills, experience and positive attitude. There is still some way to go, but many in our group are being chosen, quite quickly, as the preferred parents for the children they enquire about.

"On father's day, we should celebrate all adoptive dads. My partner and I feel very lucky that the law changed in time for us to be able to adopt together, and I love the fact that thousands of LGBT people are now growing up knowing that when the time is right, they can apply to adopt like anyone else. With so many children waiting for adoption, this must be a very good thing."



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1 comment:

Scott Crackett said...

How brilliant, my partner and i are at the home study stage i have two BC from my first marriage i was married and a dad before i knew i was gay, now my sons 18 and daughters 15 , ive been with mikey for 6 years we late 30s and really excited at the prospect of parenting together. Well done for setting the bar high Love doesnt have a sexuality we love each other we love our families we love my children and we still have love in heaps to give to a new child or two.Scott and Mikey

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