How will I be treated?
The adoption or fostering process is well-designed, but there is little consistency in how it is carried out, and it can be frustrating for anyone. LGBT people should be prepared to challenge, but should not expect, discrimination.
A little history
Lesbian and gay people have been adopting and becoming foster carers for many years, as individuals. A change came in 2006 allowing unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to adopt jointly in England and Wales (Scotland followed in 2010, and the change has yet to happen in Northern Ireland).
It hasn’t always been the case, but today there is a real confidence from agencies in placing children with LGBT adopters and foster carers. Our life experiences and the route we take to adoption and fostering often equip us very well for the job in hand.
Some of these strengths have been highlighted by social workers in a recent adoption survey. They include:
- Coming to adoption as a first choice, with energy and enthusiasm
- Openness to contact with the birth family, and other differences adoption bring
- The stability of lesbian and gay relationships and our ability to work together as couples
- Our ability to support a child growing up with a sense of difference
Problems do occur
Some practitioners and panel members do still have reservations about placing children with LGBT people, and this can cause frustration and delay. It is much less common than it was 5 years ago and it should not (and in the vast majority of cases, does not) stop people achieving their goal of providing a loving family to a child, or children, who need one.