The UK’s Department of Education announced this week that adoption rates by LGBT parents have it a record high.
Loving, stable homes have been offered to more than 480 children in the past 12 months, thanks to LGBT couples and individuals.
The news comes as part of the UK’s LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week, taking place until 8 March 2015, marking the contribution and commitment of the nation’s LGBT adopters and foster carers.
The week is run by New Family Social, the UK support group for LGBT prospective parents. Events and panel discussions have been taking place throughout the week, in support of LGBT parents at all stages of the adoption process.
Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, thanked the LGBT community for their ‘selfless dedication’ to vulnerable children, and urged LGBT singles and couples to consider taking the first step towards adoption or fostering.
‘Having grown up with over 80 fostered brothers and sisters, I know as well as anyone that what matters in adoptive and foster parenting is not their sexual orientation or gender identity but their ability to love and provide for children in need,’ he said.
‘I would encourage anyone who believes they have the skills needed to become either a foster carer or adopter to contact New Family Social without delay, and take the first steps towards the challenge – and joy – of being a parent.’
Author of Two Dads, Carolyn Robertson, discovered New Family Social after putting out a message to find local gay groups. She is now the adoptive mother of two boys.
‘New Family Social have supported me in so many different ways, primarily through social contact with different adopters at different levels in the process,’ she said.
‘The information that you get from each other about how to handle social workers, about questions you might be asked, what you can do to prepare yourself as the child arrives – all those aspects of the process are helpful to chat through.’
‘The fact that we’re gay ultimately becomes quite incidental,’ she added. ‘It’s actually the adoption part of things that makes us different from other gay parents who have birth children, because the issues that come up for our children. We support one another to find resources to talk about that, and help our kids through it.’
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Adoption and Children Act in the UK, which gives LGBT adopters the same legal rights as heterosexual adopters. Since then, the number of children adopted by LGBT parents has risen year on year.