There are nearly 2,500 children waiting to be adopted in England but according to the most recent statistics, children are waiting longer to find permanent families. However, LGBT+ adoption is on the rise, boosting children’s chances by offering them the much-needed love and stability of a permanent family. 

As we mark National Adoption Week from 18-23 October, one 1 in 6 children were placed for adoption with same sex couples across the country in 2020, up from 1 in 7 the previous year, making this the highest proportion since records began. At Coram, one of the early pioneers of LGBT+ adoption, the increase was even more pronounced with over 1 in 5 children placed with loving lesbian, gay, bi or trans adopters.

Many children placed for adoption will have had difficult experiences such as abuse or neglect before being removed from their birth families. Supporting children to recover from the circumstances that led them into care and helping them thrive in a family environment needs consistent love, attention, patience and empathy. Studies suggest that same-sex families are particularly motivated, attuned and sensitive to children’s needs. They score particularly well in assessments of family relationships, parental wellbeing and child adjustment. Research published by CoramBAAF also suggests that gay fathers in particular show greater levels of interaction with their child than other types of parents. 

Research has also shown that LGBT+ adopters are more open minded about the type of children they would consider adopting such as those children who often wait longer to be adopted including children with disabilities and additional needs, older children, and sibling groups.

———————– All names have been changed to protect the identity of the family.———————-

Ben and Adam adopted siblings, Lydia and Spencer, in 2016. Lydia and Spencer – aged two and one at that time – were the first children Ben and Adam were put in touch with and Ben recalls feeling an “instant excitement and connection.” He continues: “I remember the night before the confirmation on whether we would be their adoptive parents –  the waiting then was the hardest part of everything, we couldn’t sleep because of excitement and nerves. But it was a wonderful process.”

The couple were approved to adopt the children and the whole process took around a year in total. Ben says that the support from Coram as the children settled into their new family was invaluable. The support from Coram has continued for the family in the years since the adoption, particularly around Spencer’s needs. Ben explains: “Spencer had some problems relating to trauma, and it manifested in different ways over the years. Coram was fantastic – we had psychology, play therapy, stay and play sessions, and he now has regular occupational therapy funded through the adoption gateway, all supported by Coram which we are so grateful for. The support has been absolutely second to none.”

Ben and Adam have also attended Coram’s ‘incredible years’ parenting group which they found very helpful and say that since the children have started school, they are using more and more of the strategies that they learned and would ‘really recommend’ it to other adopters.

The children are now both at school and are doing very well. Ben says: “They are very confident, funny and outgoing. We’ve seen real changes in their personalities. Spencer had a complete turnaround – he is the most outgoing person, he loves school, he is so funny, cheeky, interested in everything, and Lydia is so affectionate, caring and thoughtful.”

Ben and Adam’s experience of adoption has been so rewarding that they recently adopted another little boy through Coram.

“A one-year-old little boy, Leo, joined us at the end of 2020. He has been an absolute joy. Supporting our existing children to adjust to a new adopted sibling has taken a lot of care and consideration but has gone really well. There is a real love and tenderness between the three of them. It’s very busy, but never boring!”

While Ben and Adam’s lives have changed and they have experienced some challenging moments, they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Adopting our children is absolutely, one hundred per cent the best thing we ever did, no doubt about that.”

To find out more about Coram Adoption or join an information event please see the website.

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