Adoption South East, the regional adoption agency of East Sussex, Brighton and Hove, West Sussex and Surrey county councils, is celebrating LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week from 1 to 7 March and this year the theme is ‘Building a Family’.
LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week is run by New Family Social, the only charity led by LGBT+ adopters and foster carers. Adoption South East are proud members of New Family Social and as a region there is a strong history of assessing and placing with families who identify as LGBT+.
Last year one in six adoptions in England were to same-sex couples. Adoption South East would like to hear from people who identify as LGBT+ and are thinking about adopting.
Michael Wilson, Head of Adoption South East, says: “Our job is to help to build families for children who need them and to support those families over time. We need parents who know and understand themselves, and who have space in their hearts and their homes for some remarkable children. These are not qualities that are dependent upon sexual orientation or gender identity.
“If you believe yourselves to have these important personal qualities, and you can open your heart and your home to children who need a family and a loving, safe environment, we want to hear from you.”
Paul and Ben have two boys, who were aged seven and two when they were adopted. Paul and Ben discussed their experiences and their adoption journey.
Ben said: “Like any couple we were a little bit apprehensive about going along to the Information Event. But once we were there it was completely fine and everyone was so welcoming. There was no bias or prejudice towards us and we were treated with the same respect as the heterosexual couples. It was really valuable for us to meet existing adopters and to hear their stories and experiences.
“We always knew that we wanted to adopt older children, not babies, and we always wanted to adopt siblings. When our social worker told us about the boys we were really interested to find out more. Over the past five years seeing their bond grow and their relationship as brothers develop we are so proud of them both.”
Paul said: “Felix and Nicky have changed our lives dramatically, and wonderfully. The support we have had from our social worker and from other organisations has been fantastic. We would say to anyone thinking about adoption just go for it! It is the most amazing thing to be part of.”
Cllr Sylvia Tidy, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for children and families, said: “I am delighted to support LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week and help build more families for children across the region.
“Adoption really can help change the lives of children for the better, giving them a stable and loving family environment in which to thrive. I encourage people from our LGBT+ community who are interested in adopting or fostering to get in touch to find out more.”
For more information about adoption in the south east region visit the Adoption South East website www.adoptionsoutheast.org.uk or ring the information line on 0300 330 9470.