LGBT+ people across the South West are being urged to explore adoption as a potential parenting route as a part of a national campaign launching today (7 March).
With over 80,000 children in care in 2021 in England alone, LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week brings together local adoption agencies and potential new LGBT+ adoptive families. The campaign is led by LGBT+ focused agency New Family Social, with support from local adoption charity Families for Children. #BeTheChange – the theme for 2022 – asks LGBT+ people to think about the range of vulnerable children they could parent or care for. Each day will focus on sharing stories from LGBT+ adopters and foster carers already being the change for some of the country’s most vulnerable children.
Families for Children, based in Devon, has been hugely successful in encouraging LGBT+ people to come forward to adopt. Over the period 2020/2021, 40% of approved adopters were from the LGBT+ community and currently, 29% of those in their adoption assessment process are LGBT+ couples or individuals. They want to continue their success in supporting LGBT+ people in their decision to build a family through adoption.
Ruth Marriott, Families for Children CEO, says, ‘We continue to see a rise in the number of LGBT+ individuals making enquiries about adopting with us. Being part of the LGBT+ community is not a barrier to being considered as an adopter. At Families for Children, we have a wealth of experience in assessing LGBT+ adopters and recognise the strengths and skills you bring in meeting the needs of children waiting for families.’
Martin and Rich adopted an older child of five years old through Families for Children and said,
‘After contacting Families for Children and realising that this was something we could do and wanted to do was incredible and kick-started the process for us.
‘The moment we saw our son, he ran over to us and said our names, and it was just amazing, and it was everything we could have wanted. It was emotional, but those memories will stay with us forever. It was scary, very scary, but incredible. I can best describe adoption for us as the best rollercoaster ride you have ever been on, lots of ups and downs, but we have loved every minute of it.’
Tor Docherty, New Family Social Chief Executive, said: ‘The need for more LGBT+ people to consider adoption or fostering is as great as ever, despite ten years of our successful campaign. When it started, few agencies could answer the question ‘How many LGBT+ applicants do you have?’ Now it’s the bare minimum of information agencies should have when speaking to potential applicants. If you’re LGBT+, you can find agencies that want to hear from you and will offer you dedicated support.’
Families for Children are the alternative to Regional Adoption Agencies and Local Authorities across Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset. They say a warm welcome awaits those considering adoption from a team of experienced social workers and family support workers. Families for Children is a specialist adoption agency that will guide you through the process and support you and your family when and if you need it.
Families for Children asks you to pick up the phone and talk to them about being the change a child needs through adoption. What you feel could be a barrier to you adopting may not be, and the time you spend agonising over it could be time spent moving forward with adoption.
For more details, please get in touch with Families for Children on 01364 645480 or visit https://familiesforchildren.org.uk/lgbtqadoption/