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  • 23 Feb 2021 10:32 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month, the charity Diagrama is keen to remind prospective adopters that they welcome all applications regardless of age, faith, sexual orientation, ethnicity or whether you are single or a couple.

    Jason and Eric, from Catford, became parents to a son called Toby - this is their story:

    'Eric and I always dreamed of having children but never really thought it was a possibility and assumed that the closest we would get was being uncles or godparents. We knew that we had so much to offer a child who may not have had the best start in life and that adoption was the best way forward for us.

    We were pleasantly surprised by how straightforward the adoption process was. We saw an information event advertised by the charity Diagrama and instantly felt that they would be the agency for us.

    The comprehensive training we received helped us to identify our parenting styles and values and gave us great insight into the needs that an adoptive child may have. We immediately felt that our appointed social worker understood us as a family and had a clear picture of the type of child we were looking for. Nine months after attending the initial information evening, we were approved as adopters and began the journey to become parents.

    Although the process of finding our child felt long and frustrating at times, it actually only took five months. Our social worker supported us throughout and kept us positive by reassuring us that it was a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ we would find the right child to adopt.

    We read a profile of a little boy called Toby and submitted our interest and were delighted when his social workers asked to meet us. The meeting went well and once they agreed that we were a good match, we got to hear more about Toby and went to meet him at his foster carer’s home. The first meeting was a bit daunting but exciting and he won us over with his charm and humour immediately.

    We spent a few months getting to know Toby before he moved in and when he first came home with us, we all enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon period, but as he settled and felt increasingly comfortable around us, we faced a more challenging time. There were occasions when he would become distressed and angry and he had a few meltdowns, but our social worker really helped us get through these times. The support and training we’d received was invaluable in enabling us to understand Toby’s needs and how we could support him. We started to realise what the triggers were for his behaviour and how we could try and avoid them. It was just Toby’s way of testing the boundaries and to find out what would happen. He needed to know that he was safe and loved by us no matter what and that he could trust us.

    We are now much better at spotting the signs – we can usually resolve issues quickly without things escalating but I won’t deny it ... parenting can be exhausting!

    Looking at Toby now it is difficult to imagine that he is the same boy who had such a sad start to life. He has shown true resilience and we are proud beyond words! Our families and friends love him to bits and we only ever hear positive things, from school and the clubs he attends about how kind and helpful he is.

    Having same-sex parents hasn’t really been an issue so far for Toby – in fact, he loves telling anyone who will listen that he has two dads! We do sometimes worry about how we will be perceived, but we are lucky to have a very diverse network of friends and Toby appreciates that everyone is different and deserving of respect. We’ve explained to Toby that what is important is the love within your family not who we are. Staff at his school have been very welcoming and supportive too. We’ve only ever experienced one problem when another parent made a comment but the Headteacher challenged it and reinforced the point that the school is inclusive and respectful of everyone’s differences.

    Like any family we have our up and downs, but the rewards of parenthood are priceless. We feel blessed that we have such an incredible son with whom we share so much joy, love and laughter. He is the centre of our universe and we love being able to support and guide him as he grows and witness the progress he makes. He has made our lives complete.'

    Diagrama welcomes all adoption enquiries regardless of age, faith, sexuality, ethnicity or whether you are single or a couple – to find out more visit its website 

    The stats: In the last two years 15.7 per cent  - or 1 in 6 - of Diagrama’s approved adopters were in a same-sex relationship.


  • 21 Feb 2021 15:36 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week returns from 1-7 March 2021.

    This year's theme is Build Your Family with each day of the campaign dedicated to explaining a different part of the assessment and approval process.

    (Work for one of our member agencies? All the collateral for the campaign for our member agencies is available from a dedicated section on this website, accessible to staff working at our member agencies. You'll need to hold a free Orange membership to log in and access it)

    For agencies that don't hold a New Family Social subscription for 2020/21, there are some resources below that can be used to support the campaign.

    General social media slides

    Campaign theme - Children [Facebook slide]

    Campaign theme - Children [Twitter slide]

    Campaign theme - Rainbow Heart [Facebook slide]

    Campaign theme - Rainbow Heart [Twitter slide]


    Statistics to support the campaign

    facebook slides

    Same-sex couple adoption statistics England 2020 [Facebook slide]

    Same-sex couple adoption statistics Scotland 2019 [Facebook slide]

    Same-sex couple adoption statistics Wales 2019 [Facebook slide]

    Same-sex couples as percentage of adopters in Northern Ireland in 2020 [Facebook slide]


    Twitter slides

    Same-sex couple adoption statistics England 2020 [Twitter slide]

    Same-sex couple adoption statistics Scotland 2019 [Twitter slide]

    Same-sex couple adoption statistics Wales 2019 [Twitter slide]

    Same-sex couples as percentage of adopters in Northern Ireland in 2020 [Twitter slide]


    More resources will be added to this post as the campaign nears

  • 28 Jan 2021 11:49 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week - the annual campaign by New Family Social to encourage more people to explore these parenting routes - will return on 1 March. The theme for 2021 is Build Your Family.

    Staff at adoption and fostering agencies that are members of New Family Social can register now for updates to the campaign by signing up to this event. Please note, staff will need to hold an Orange membership - free to our member agency staff - to do this and your agency must hold a 2020/21 membership. 

    Materials for non-member agencies will be publicly available during February.

    Work for an agency that wants to become a member agency of New Family Social? Contact our agency manager Jamie to find out more.


    Among those agencies we know that'll take part in 2021....

    If you're LGBT+ and considering going on your adoption or fostering journey with an agency not on the list below, you may want to ask it why it's not backing the campaign. All of the agencies listed offer dedicated support to their LGBT+ adopters and foster carers through their membership of New Family Social.

    ACE Adoption 

    Adopt London [North, South] 

    Adopt South

    Adopt South West

    Adopt Thames Valley 

    Adopters for Adoption

    Adoption@Heart

    Adoption Connects

    Adoption Counts 

    Adoption Focus

    Adoption in Merseyside 

    Adoption Matters 

    Adoption Now

    Adoption South East

    Adoption West

    Adoptionplus

    Amicus Foster Care

    ARC Adoption North East

    Barnardo's 

    Blue Sky Fostering 

    BSN Social Care

    Buckinghamshire Council Fostering & Adoption 

    Cambridgeshire County Council Fostering 

    Caritas Care 

    CCS Adoption

    The Children's Family Trust

    Cornwall Council and The Council of the Isles of Scilly Adoption Agency

    Diagrama 

    Essex County Council 

    Faith in Families

    Family Adoption Links

    Families for Children Trust 

    Family Care Adoption Services

    Family Futures

    Five Rivers Fostering

    The Foster Care Co-operative

    Foster Careline

    Foster for Staffordshire

    Fostering Company North East

    Havering Borough Council Fostering 

    Hertfordshire County Council 

    Inverclyde Council 

    Lambeth Council Fostering 

    Leicester City Council Fostering

    Leicestershire County Council Fostering

    Lincolnshire County Council 

    National Fostering Group

    Nexus Fostering

    Norfolk County Council 

    Northamptonshire Children's Trust

    Oldham Council Fostering Service

    One Adoption North & Humber

    One Adoption West Yorkshire 

    Oxfordshire County Council Fostering

    PACT [Parents And Children Together]

    Parallel Parents

    Rochdale Borough Council Fostering 

    Rotherham MBC 

    Safehouses Fostering

    Scottish Adoption 

    Sheffield City Council 

    Southampton City Council 

    St Andrew's Children's Society

    St Francis' Children's Society

    Stockport Council Fostering

    Suffolk County Council

    Surrey Council Fostering 

    Thurrock Council 

    Together for Adoption 

    Tower Hamlets Council Fostering Service

    Vale, Valleys & Cardiff Regional Adoption Agency 

    Western Bay Adoption Service

    Yorkshire Adoption Agency



  • 10 Dec 2020 11:03 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Figures published by the English government’s Department for Education today (10 December) show that 1 in 6 adoptions in 2020 were to same-sex couples. This is the highest proportion since records began, analysis by the UK’s LGBT+ adoption and fostering charity New Family Social shows.

    While the total number of adoptions in England fell to 3,440 in 2020, some 570 were to same-sex couples. This was an increase to the highest number of adoptions by same-sex couples to date, beating the previous high of 490 in 2019.

    Tor Docherty, New Family Social’s Chief Executive said: ‘We’re delighted to see the numbers of adoptions to LGBT+ people increase for the third consecutive year. LGBT+ people can and do provide invaluable parenting to some of our most vulnerable children. England’s adoption agencies increasingly recognise and use us as an essential resource. It’s great to end this challenging year with some much-needed good news.’

    New Family Social runs the annual LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week campaign, which started in 2012. In that year 160 adoptions were to same-sex couples, representing 1 in 22 adoptions that year.

    How the statistics break down:

    Total number of adoptions in England in 2020: 3,440

    Total number of adoptions in England by same-sex couples [whether married, civilly partnered or neither]: 570

    Adoptions by same-sex couple as percentage of whole: 16.6

    Proportion of adoptions by same-sex couples in 2019/20: 1 in 6


    In detail:


    Family type

    Number of adoptions 2019/20 by same-sex couples 

    Male married same-sex couples

    170

    Female married same-sex couples

    120

    Male civil partnership couple

    70

    Female civil partnership couple

    30

    Male couple/not married or Civilly partnered

    120

    Female couple/not married or Civilly partnered

    60  


    • Department for Education statistics exclude bi people not in an opposite-sex relationship, single adopters who are LGBT+ and trans people not in an opposite-sex relationship
  • 2 Dec 2020 10:35 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Whether you’re starting out on your adoption or fostering journey, or are several years into it, you’re encouraged to be open and honest. You need a strong relationship with your agency and social worker. But what if you’re struggling with your mental health? At New Family Social we usually hear from our members as that situation escalates. Before we wrote about depression we wanted to know how it affects our LGBT+ members. So we asked them.

    Nearly two in three of our LGBT+ Gold and Silver members who responded – 62 per cent – reported symptoms of depression relating to their adoption or fostering journey. This may shock you. When we asked our Bronze members – who are usually starting the process, or in Stage 1 – this rose to 63 per cent. However, the assessment process alone requires you to submit to an exposing evaluation. A significant proportion of LGBT+ people expect their sexual orientation or gender identity to be a barrier in their assessment. This can take a high mental toll from the outset. Earlier this year, 1 in 3 of our members – who were currently family-finding – said their sexual orientation was a barrier at that stage. For those LGBT+ people who’ve parented or cared for looked-after children for years, the recent pandemic brought its own challenges. Vulnerable children often need stability and certainty. These are two factors in short supply in 2020. With those factors absent, a child’s need for support can spiral and place a high burden on their adoptive parent or foster carer.

    Nearly 2 in 10 – 19 per cent – of our LGBT+ Gold and Silver members report receiving a diagnosis of depression relating to their adoption or fostering journey. Why this is so much lower is unclear. It’s possible that LGBT+ people feel the need to continue and not seek help. Why admit a problem when you've passed each previous challenge in your adoption or fostering assessment? Some will effectively manage their signs of depression without help. However, the disparity between the number of LGBT+ adopters and foster carers experiencing symptoms of depression and the number who receive a diagnosis is notable. And may be a cause for concern.

    Seeking help isn't a sign of weakness. The fear that asking for support will negatively affect your assessment can't stop you from accessing support. Not seeking help because your agency is unresponsive will not resolve your situation. Stepping back from parenting if your partner seems closer to your child will only exacerbate the situation.

    Sometimes talking to other adopters or foster carers will help. Others in the same situation may bring a perspective you need. If your sexual orientation or gender identity is being treated as a barrier, then talking to other LGBT+ people can help. Your GP can help you access talking therapies or medication if those are what you need. Ultimately, your ability to meet the needs of your child is paramount. If your mental health suffers you should know you aren't alone. Help is available and your situation will improve. Whether you reach out to other LGBT+ adopters or foster carers, New Family Social or your agency you can manage your mental health better with their support.


    Further information:

    There's some useful information from the NHS online 

    Contact the Samaritans if you need to speak to someone urgently 

  • 9 Nov 2020 15:01 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you're LGBT+ in the UK, you can adopt or foster. In fact 1 in 7 adoptions in England in 2019 were to same-sex couples.

    You may not know where to find out more, particularly in these days of lockdowns and pandemic. New Family Social's online information sessions will help you understand the assessment and approval processes you'll go through if you take these journeys.

    To attend these webinars you just need to register for free as a Bronze member. Then, once you've logged in all the information on forthcoming seminars will appear in your 'Upcoming Events' list on the homepage.

    Our next introduction to adoption and fostering for LGBT+ people is on 11 November.


  • 2 Nov 2020 15:03 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One man's spent a fortune fighting LGBT+ adoption.  Donate to support LGBT+ families now and we'll let him know how much he's helped us raise. Thanks Richard!

    Help us stick it to prejudice. The kind shouted out by those who oppose 1 in 7 adoptions in England being to same-sex couples.

    If you didn't hear this morning, it emerged today that a former magistrate, will head to the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 3 November. Richard Page was removed from the bench in 2016 after saying on television that it was better that children were adopted by a mother and a father than by same-sex couples.  

    All of his subsequent employment and appeal tribunals were rejected. But another's about to start. In the four years since his sacking Page and his well-funded supporters have consistently tried to undermine LGBT+ adopters. They argue it isn't homophobic to oppose same-sex couples adopting. After four years of legal wrangling that remains their message. 

    Help us send them one back. If you can spare £40 you can help us support an LGBT+ adopter or foster carer for a year. We'll provide them with advice, access to events and put them in touch with others who are successfully parenting.

    We'll also tell Richard Page and his supporters how much their dogged commitment to prejudice has raised for LGBT+ adoptive and foster families. That seems fair. Because sometimes it's good to stick your tongue out in the face of discrimination.

    Text THANKSDICK 10 to 70085 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message. Or give through https://newfamilysocial.org.uk/Donation-Landing


  • 7 Sep 2020 08:22 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    1 in 7 adoptions in England in 2019 were to same-sex couples. Record numbers of LGBT+ people now foster and adopt - and all of them will need additional support at some time. Adoption & Support Week for LGBT+ families is a new campaign - backed by the State of the System survey - to support these families, whether they are new parents or have parented for many years. Throughout the week  - which starts 7 September - New Family Social will highlight support for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers, share stories from LGBT+ people already parenting or caring and make recommendations for those agencies that support them.

    Read State of the System (2020):


    The summary - available to read without a membership

    The full report - exclusively for our Gold and Silver LGBT+ members and our Orange members, working for a member agency




    You can also see a dedicated webinar on State of the System on our YouTube channel



    Across the week:

    7 September - polling of our LGBT+ adopter members shows that in the last year 4 in 10 of those in England has their post adoption interventions and support funded by the Adoption Support Fund.


    8 September - 1 in 7 LGBT+ people currently in the adoption assessment process say their sexual orientation has been a barrier in their journey.


    9 September - 1 in 13 LGBT+ people who apply to adopt or foster are single.


    10 September - 1 in 4 LGBT+ adoptive parents asked their agency for support in the last three months.


    11 September - 7 in 10 LGBT+ adopters and foster carers know how many adoptions in England were to same-sex couples in 2019.


  • 20 Aug 2020 10:40 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    It's been quite a year so far, with the pandemic and the huge impacts to social life, jobs and working patterns.  It can feel that now may not be the right time to consider adoption or fostering. 



    We say that if you are considering about fostering and adopting then pick up the phone and talk to us or an agency or post your thoughts on our forum.

    There are children out there, waiting for a family to offer them love, comfort, stability and laughs. The pandemic hasn't changed this and agencies are seeking families who want to start the approval process.


    All of our agencies want LGBT+ singles and couples to come forward for consideration.  Our member agencies recognise the resilience and strength that LGBT+ people have and it is generally recognised by professionals in adoption and fostering that LGBT+ people are an important part in providing great homes for children.

    At NFS, we support a diverse range of orientations and identities. We want to help you. To help you decide whether adoption or fostering is right for you. To help you through your approval process to legally foster or adopt children. To supporting you in your life once you have your children.

    Join or pick up the phone and see if it's the right time for you.

    Find out about joining

  • 15 Aug 2020 10:33 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Perhaps the hardest thing to do when considering building your family through adoption or fostering is making that first call.

    How will I be spoken to, will the agency want me, will they consider me because my gender or orientation is "this"?

    The fact is that all of our member agencies in NFS are actively looking for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers. There are children who need safe, loving and stable families waiting right now in the care system and you could be the adult that offers them a place in the world.

    The process to becoming approved to foster or adopt in the UK is thorough to ensure the child's safety and because of this the UK has one of the most open and diverse adoption and fostering systems in the world.

    The broad criteria to adopt/foster is as follows:

    • Over 21
    • Must have lived in the UK for at least a year before starting the application process
    • Must be a UK resident or have indefinite leave to remain
    • Your relationship status can be :
      • single
      • married
      • in a civil partnership
      • an unmarried couple
    Additional Considerations

    You can be cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, gender fluid, lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual or a combination of same. You might prefer other terminology/identities and as long as you are open your agency should be able to accommodate you.  You will need to comfortable about how you identify, as the assessment will cover your ability to provide for a child and part of that means that you should "happy in your own skin", as one of our agencies nicely put it.


    If you have recently (within the last year) been through a major event or change in your life (bereavement, relationship breakdown or relocation) then the agency will likely want you to have had a period of time to process and accommodate that change before starting or restarting the process.

    What you don't need to be or have :

    • you do not have to be a British citizen to adopt or foster a child
    • there is no upper age limit but the agencies will be looking to ensure that you can look after the child until they are at least 18 years old
    • you do not need to pay for adoptions or fostering 
    • you do not need to have a garden but access to outside space (park / playground)


    Pets

    It is a myth that if you have a pet then you won't be allowed to adopt or foster.  What you will need to be able to do is to demonstrate that the pet is safe to be around, well looked-after and child-friendly.

    We are trying to put your mind at rest that you will be welcomed at one of our member agencies. Some of our agencies won't have experienced every situation or orientation or gender-variance but should be willing to go through the journey with you.

    If you have a question or want a chat, just give us a call and we will try our best to help.

    IMPORTANT NFS FACT : We are a charity.  We get by on donations and member subscriptions. We are not financially rewarded or compensated by introducing an LGBT+ individual or couple to an agency, or when a member gets approved, or when a child or children are placed with a family. We do it to support our members in building their families and also the hope that more children find loving, happy homes to thrive in.



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