To continue our series on same-sex parented families, and as part of UK Lesbian Visibility Week, we are featuring resources and stories around LGBTQ+* adoptive parenting.
UK Lesbian Visibility Week 2021 runs from 26 April – 2 May, and its aim is to “show our solidarity with every woman within the LGBTQI community”.
The right to adopt, regardless of sexuality, marital and relationship status became law in 2002 in the UK as part of the Adoption and Children Act, and came into effect 30 December 2005. Currently 1 in 6 adoptions in England (from 2020 data) are to same-sex couples.
Same-sex adoption was legalised in all Canadian provinces and territories by 2011, British Columbia being the first in 1996. The current situation in the United States is more complicated as although the Supreme Court in 2017 ordered that when issuing birth certificates all states treat same sex-couples and opposite-sex couples equally, second-parent adoption and non-discrimination laws are not uniformly in practice in all States.
New York, USA, only recently allowed same-sex couples to be recognised as equal parents after birth, and not have to go though the expensive and gruelling second-parent adoption process. In March this year, Ireland also enacted a similar law, but at the same time other countries around the world, such as Poland, are rolling back on hard won LGBTQ+ rights including the right to adopt.
Our thanks go to a DDP Practitioner living in Poland who describes his experience:
“I am gay. I am deeply in love with another man and may adopt a child with my partner one day. I have worked with some wonderful gay parents who parent with care, with love and an understanding and support of their children which is awe-inspiring. I have also recently moved to Poland where none of these things are welcomed by the current governing party or president.
This is not all people there and for those who do feel these things, it is not their whole story. Poland also has a wonderfully progressive and inclusive history. Warmth is in the hearts of many Poles, I know because many of them have welcomed me with open arms and shared their warmth with me.
LGBTQ+ people are experiencing real attacks on their rights in Poland right now and we need to be aware of this. As an international DDP community who are committed to families of all types we need to educate ourselves and where we are able, add our voices in support of those who just want to live in freedom.”
Resources and links for parents and professionals
Are you thinking about becoming an adopter or would like more information on how to support same-sex adoptive parents through your practice?
New Family Social are a support organisation and UK charity. As well as a great place to find out about LGBTQ+ adoption and fostering it is also a member organisation and social network.
Pink Parents includes a Same-sex Adoption in the UK guide. PACT, an adoption charity based in the South of England, have an online guide called LGBT adoption which includes a short film as well as case studies by their same-sex adopters.
The LGBTQ+ podcast series, Some Families, is now on series two and available to listen to on all good podcasting platforms. Each episode explores a range of stories around LGBTQ+ parenting, fostering and adoption. You can find an interview with the hosts given as a part of UK Adoption week on the Guardian website.
The pink guide to adoption for lesbians and gay me 3rd edition, Nicola Hill, British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) 2020
The Different Dragon, Jennifer Bryan, Two Lives Publishing, 2006
In Our Mothers’ House, Patricia Polacco, Philomel Books, 2009
Mommy, Mama and ME, Leslea Newman, Tricycle Press, 2009
My Mommy, My Mama, My Brother, and Me: These Are the Things We Found by the Sea, Natalie Meisner, Nimbus Publishing, 2019
RESJ and DDPI
With the guidance and support of the new RESJ Committee, DDPI, a trauma-informed attachment-focussed organisation, is working towards including the experience of all types of family and caregiving. It is equally important to acknowledge the impact of intersectionality, how race, class, gender, and other factors “intersect” for children and their families. We strive to make the DDP approach and structure reflect the diversity in the families DDP serves.
*LBGT, LGBT+, LGBTQ+ and LGBTQI are all used in this news post. This does not aim to exclude and discredit anyone’s experience. Differences reflect the letters used by organisations and authors.