LGBT adopters and foster carers – we need you!

05 March 2018

As national LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week gets underway from 5 to 11 March, Norfolk County Council is asking lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people to come forward and help change a child’s life.

Penny Carpenter, Chairman of the Children’s Services Committee, said:  “Norfolk County Council is proud to support LGBT Adoption and Fostering week.  Offering stability and a secure, loving home to a child who may not have had the best start in life, can be a very rewarding experience for all involved.  Every child has the potential to achieve their dreams and giving your time, encouragement and support can help to make that happen.  We welcome enquiries from the LGBT community – not just during Adoption and Fostering week – but every week.  You could make a huge difference to a child’s life.

“Last year we approved two LGBT couples as foster carers and four adopters.  Six LGBT couples have been matched with a child and are going through the adoption process.  But we always need more people, so if you’ve been considering adopting or fostering, please take that first step and contact us to find out more.”

Sarah and Ruth* adopted baby Jude* through the council’s Foster to Adopt** scheme.  “We had been trying to conceive for three years but I miscarried twice”, says Sarah.  “It was heart-breaking and we decided enough was enough.  We’d always felt we would either adopt or foster at some point in our lives – even if we had our own child – so we decided the time was right to apply.”

At first, the couple were worried that perhaps they were too old (they are in their forties) or that their same sex relationship might be an issue.  “We needn’t have been concerned”, recalls Sarah.  “We’ve been treated with care and respect by everyone we’ve been in contact with and received lots of support.  We haven’t felt judged at all.”

All prospective adopters and foster carers have to be assessed for their suitability.  This involves home visits, meetings with social workers and attendance at training and information sessions.  Sarah and Ruth brought baby Jude home eight months after starting the process and were amazed at how smoothly it all went. 

“With Foster to Adopt you do have to prepare yourself for the possibility that the child you are fostering could be returned to its birth family”, says Sarah.  “This didn’t happen to us but we talked a lot about the possibility and how we would cope with the uncertainty.  You really do need to be resilient and to truly trust in the people who are making the decisions in the best interest of the child.  But knowing that you’ve given a vulnerable child the best start in life that you possibly can, can help you to cope.”

Support networks are important too.  “Our family and friends have supported us all the way”, says Sarah.  “They love Jude to bits – he’s very special to us all.  We also met other adopters at our training and information sessions and it was great to share experiences with others going through the same thing.  We’ve kept in touch as a group and are planning to meet up soon with our children.”

Sarah and Ruth are thrilled to be parents and have some advice for anyone considering Foster to Adopt.  “Don’t be afraid – just do it.  The benefits are immense – Jude has brought great happiness and contentment into our life.”

For more information about adoption and fostering:

* Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
**Foster to Adopt involves placing young babies with potential adopters who are also approved as temporary foster carers while decisions are made about the child’s future within the court process.

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