- LGBT+ parents now adopt one in every seven children in England.
LGBT+ individuals and couples who want to adopt a child say their sexuality is a barrier to the approval process.
A new survey found 28% of LGBT+ adopters currently waiting for authorities to match them with a child have found their sexual orientation is a barrier.
Likewise, 16% of LGBT+ people going through the adoption approval process have hit the same problem.
The findings come from New Family Social, a charity for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers. It interviewed LGBT+ adopters and foster carers across the UK.
One lesbian family told them:
‘We’re a lesbian couple and have been told that where there are lots of couples expressing interest in a boy, we are less likely to be chosen, because family finders will want a male adopter.
‘We’ve also been turned down twice so far with the reason given that the children (both girls) have a close relationship with their male foster carer so need a male adopter.’
Meanwhile a gay adoption applicant said authorities rejected them for one child:
‘The reason we were given by the child’s social worker was that my partner hadn’t come out to his parents until he was in his late 20s.’
Put vulnerable children first, not prejudices
Same-sex couples have been able to adopt in England and Wales since 2005, in Scotland since 2009 and in Northern Ireland since 2013.
And last year, one in seven adoptions in England were to same-sex couples.
Tor Docherty, chief executive of New Family Social, said:
‘While one in seven adoptions in England in 2019 were to same-sex couples, this doesn’t mean all LGBT+ people find the adoption and fostering assessment processes smooth and without incident.
‘In 2020 it’s unacceptable if a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is used to justify discriminating against them.
‘The needs of a vulnerable child should always be paramount in every case, not the preconceptions of decision makers.’
However, there may be some hope for the roughly 6,000 children who need adoption in the UK every year.
In recent years, the number of parents adopting children has fallen. Naturally, the number of kids in care institutions has risen.
Despite this, other UK adoption organizations are now noticing more potential parents are now coming forward.
Some may be considering a family because the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed how businesses operate. Many are now free from commuting and expect to work from home long-term.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 lockdown has helped people revisit their life priorities.
New Family Social interviewed 153 adoptive parents for its survey.