Five facts about LGBTQ+ adoption in the UK
One in six adoptions in the UK are by same-sex couples, yet there are still many myths and concerns within the community about who can adopt, what is required to be able to adopt and how people will be treated.
It seems strange that the first same-sex adoptions were only made legal 18 years ago in 2005. It was so recent and at the time there was opposition from some people. Thankfully the world has moved on and thousands of LGBTQ+ adoptions have taken place and children have thrived in their new families. Whilst there are still some challenges faced by some LGBTQ+ adopters, with greater education more people will understand and appreciate the invaluable experience same-sex adopters offer their adopted children.
Here we look at five facts about same-sex adoption.
1) Everyone is welcome
This is the most important fact to remember. Some people in the LGBTQ+ community feel genuinely concerned that they may be judged or treated differently by their agency, because of their sexual orientation. This is an understandable worry based on past experiences, but modern adoption is vastly different from years ago and adopters are as diverse as the children who need adopting. What is important is that you are able to meet the needs of the child and are in the right place in your life. All agencies should welcome LGBTQ+ adopters and at Adopt London everyone is treated equally, fairly and with respect and compassion.
2) The focus is on the needs of the child
A common assumption is that LGBTQ+ adopters will only be considered for harder to place children. This is not true. What is interesting though is that LGBTQ+ adopters are often ideal to adopt children who are harder to place such as those children with additional needs. Many LGBTQ+ people will be more openminded to adopting children with additional needs as they have had to overcome challenges in their own lives. This often means that they recognise the invaluable experiences they have gained, can be used in a positive way to raise a child. Ultimately the focus is always on the needs of the child and when it comes to matching, the child is matched with the adopters who are best placed to look after them and offer them the life and support they deserve and need.
3) Children thrive in LGBTQ+ families
Research has shown that adopted children in LGBTQ+ families thrive as much as in heterosexual families. There is often a concern that children adopted by same-sex couples will be bullied at school, but this has been shown to not be the case. Sadly, any child from any family can experience bullying. Children who have a stable and loving home with one or two parents, whether LGBTQ+ or heterosexual, will lead happy and fulfilled childhoods. Many LGBTQ+ people decide on adoption as their first choice for creating a family and the love they provide is unconditional.
4) You do not have to be married or in a relationship
There is still a common misconception that you need to be married or in a relationship to adopt. If you are in a couple, you do not need to be in a Civil Partnership or married to adopt. You will need to show that you are in a serious, long-term relationship and that you are living together. Single people can also adopt, what is important is that you have a strong support network around you. This could be family or close friends. Families can not only just be those you are related to by birth, but for many people from the LGBTQ+ community their family is a group of close friends who they have formed a special connection with.
5) There is support out there
Not everyone who is LGBTQ+ has connections with other people from the community. For some people they may not know anyone else. Many LGBTQ+ people who have already adopted are happy to share their experiences and stories with others who are going through the process. This is a great way to find out about the realities of modern adoption and to reassure people about how they will be treated throughout their adoption journey. It is good to talk to others who have adopted where possible and there is a great organisation called New Family Social who specifically support LGBTQ+ adopters and foster carers and offer a great deal of advice and support. Adopt London has gold membership and everyone who adopts with us has access all the resources that New Family Social offer.