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Children of gay parents are thriving, family experts say

British gay couples are being urged to consider fostering or adoption as a new study shows they make great parents
Gay couples are being urged to adopt or foster after a new study shows they make great parents.
Photo by Scott Nunn.

As a new study shows adopted children of same-sex parents are thriving, the UK government is urging more gay couples to adopt.

The report released by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) details the experiences of 130 adoptive families, 49 of which are run by heterosexual couples, 41 by gay men and 40 by lesbian parents.

Carried out by Cambridge University’s Center for Family Research into adoptive parenting, its release today (4 March) coincides with LGBT Adoption and Fostering week.

Professor Susan Golombok, director of the Centre for Family Research and co-author of the report, has said: ‘Overall we found markedly more similarities than differences in experiences between family types.’

Speaking to The Observer, she added: ‘The anxieties about the potentially negative effects for children of being placed with gay fathers seem to be, from our study, unfounded.’

The report concludes gay adoptive parents are raising children as successfully as their heterosexual counterparts.

It suggests gay men in particular are fairing well, and are effectively managing the challenges presented by children who have begun life in poor circumstances.

Sir Martin Narey, a UK government adoption advisor, has encouraged LGBT people to consider fostering and adoption.

‘I have seen how LGBT people, who tend to come to adoption or fostering as their first choice for becoming parents, bring a particular determination and enthusiasm to it,’ he said.

‘They find themselves parenting some of our most damaged children, do so with overwhelming success, and many more gay adopters need to be encouraged to come forward.’

About 4,000 children need adopting annually and a further 9,000 children require foster carers. Currently, only around 60 gay male couples and 60 lesbian couples are adopting each year.

To commemorate LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week, 30 events around the country are aiming to encourage more LGBT people to become adopters and foster carers.

Helen Donohoe, Director of Public Policy at Action for Children, LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week’s main sponsor, said: ‘We know how important it is to find the best possible placement for each and every child in care – and we know that LGBT people often come to adoption or fostering as the first choice for expanding their family, bringing love, real enthusiasm and resourcefulness.’

LGBT Fostering and Adoption Week runs from March 4 to March 10.

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