Same-sex couples are more likely to be more open in their choices in adoption when looking for a child because they could face discrimination, a LGBTI family charity has said.
People working with New Family Social has opened up about the difficulties of going through the process of adopting a child or children in the UK.
Because many LGBTI people in Britain believe that adoption agencies are more likely to favor opposite-sex couples, they will consider children four or older, siblings or kids with more difficult backgrounds – like those who have suffered abuse.
New research indicates three in four LGBTI people actively consider adopting siblings for this reason, while previous research by the National Adoption Service in Wales has found single children under the age of four are the most desirable to adopt.
More than half of the children waiting for adoption are in a sibling group and will wait longer than other children.
But despite LGBTI people being more likely to adopt with a broader range of considerations, they’re still facing discrimination.
‘Our first assessor was told to ask us what we did in bed!!!’ one couple said in a survey, with another asking a different same-sex couple, ‘What would happen in the morning if the kids woke up and then came into the bedroom?’
‘I don’t know what they were expecting,’ the couple said, ‘but apart from “wake up!!’ we were unsure as what to say’.
But it got worse.
‘Being asked by the social worker our opinion of sex with children and animals,’ one couple said. ‘Of the seven couples we trained with, it was only the three gay couples that received this line of questioning. Out of order.’
Many same-sex couples were told they were not as desirable options as opposite-sex couples, and had run into other instances of ignorance and homophobia.
Other gay couples were told to provide results of a HIV test, which was not required for straight adopters.
‘They explained it would be difficult to place children with us otherwise,’ one couple added. ‘In the end, the local authority placing the children were shocked that our agency had imposed this requirement and said it was something they would never have considered asking.’
‘These incidents are isolated, and they are illegal under the law,’ James Lawrence, of New Family Social, told Gay Star News, noting many LGBTI people across the country have positive and heartwarming experiences working in the adoption process.
‘But what’s imperative is agencies must stamp out these incidents from occurring. It takes one person for other same-sex couples to be put off from using the agency.’
He added: ‘The rate of adoption among LGBTI people has increased massively in the last few years. It has got to be a good thing. In order for it to remain this way, every agency needs to keep their staff across the board trained and to make certain the level of engagement with LGBTI people remains good.
‘Where bad practice is observed, it needs to be tackled right away. Nothing is going to persuade same-sex parents from not wanting to adopt than their friends saying they had a horrible experience. That shouldn’t be a typical experience as gay parents can be as good parents as anybody else.
‘Same-sex couples need to go to any agency in the country and be treated on their own merits on what kind of parents they’re going to be and not anything else.’
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