Across the UK there’s still a need for LGBTQ+ individuals to adopt and foster, it was reported that in 2020 there were 80,000 vulnerable children looking for families.
There’s a common misunderstanding that being LGBTQ+ will prevent you from adopting or fostering, but this isn’t the case, in fact, it was reported that 1 in 6 adoptions in England 2020 were same-sex families.
In honor of LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering weel, we spoke to Tom Cox who started his beautiful family in 2015, since then he’s been sharing special moments via social media.
What should LGBTQ+ adopters be expecting throughout the process?
To be honest you should expect no different for being LGBTQ+ than a hetero normative person/couple would experience. Like above, I’d say it’s important to be patient and keep focused. Your family will be created, it can just take a little while.
Saying that we were matched and brought home my little boy 9 months after our first social worker meeting.
There will be lots of meetings, questions, you delve deep into your life and that’s a good thing, for the SW to understand you.
There is training sessions with other prospective adopters and you’ll meet adopters and have the opportunity to ask them lots of questions.
The panel is where you are sat before a panel of professionals (doctors, teachers, those within the adoption and care arena) and they will assess you based on the report the SW has put together on you.
But don’t sweat it! You won’t get to the panel until you are ready, and you will nail it. You’ll be ready to start looking for your child.
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What do you wish people knew about adopting?
I have been asked a lot of inappropriate questions over the years. Like “What about his real parents?” etc. It’s insensitive, and one of the main reasons I started my Instagram account to show that we ARE his real parents and we are just as ‘normal’ as any other family out there (spoiler alert: there is NO normal!).
Adopted children will most of the time come with baggage of some form. Older children will have memories and will need special support in bonding.
Many children have additional needs that won’t come to light till they’re that bit older at school for example.
There is a lot to consider including things like contact with birth family (be it letterbox or visits) and how you evolve those conversations as the child gets older is something you’ll always have to tackle at age-appropriate levels.
I think if everyone knew that, they would be more understanding of what adopters do, and continually have to go through, for the rest of all their lives.
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What advice would you give to anyone considering adopting?
The best thing I could say to anyone starting the adoption process is to be patient and be an open book. No skeletons.
The social workers and local authorities aren’t trying to catch you out, they want the best outcome for you and a child/children in care.
So be honest with yourself on what you are willing to take on in a child and trust the journey. It can be frustrating and the process is famous for its delays, but pestering the social workers every now and then won’t do any harm!