From 5 -11 March it is LGBT Adoption and Fostering week and to help highlight the importance of this service in Sheffield, we have been speaking with two same-sex couples about their experiences and their exciting new lives as parents.
Jenny and Becki are 4 years into their adoption journey after adopting their little boy, Jack* through Sheffield City Council.
The couple had previously heard it was difficult for same-sex couples to adopt, but at the council we know that all our adopters have one thing in common; the ability to offer unconditional love to Sheffield children.
To find out more about their options for adopting a child, Jenny and Becki went along to an adoption evening.
“It was so valuable for us to meet existing adopters and hear their stories. We were provided with lots of information about the process and we also met other same-sex couples.
“There was no bias or prejudice towards us and we were treated no differently to heterosexual couples. We knew we wanted to adopt so, the very next day, we called the service to begin our adoption process.
“Jack has changed our lives dramatically, we have a whole new set of friends, and our lives are full of play dates and parties with us having more of a social life now than ever before. The support from the adoption service has been fantastic. Our lives our filled with enjoyment and we feel like we have a purpose to everything we do.”
Sheffield has around 25 children waiting for adoptive families, from birth through to nine years old. The adoption service provides support and training every step of the way to ensure that adopters never feel alone.
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said:
“Adopters like Jenny and Becki and Joe and Craig are fantastic, and they are just a few of many wonderful people that decide to adopt and help change the lives of children and young people in care.”
“I’m so proud that Sheffield is a non-discriminatory authority that welcomes adoptions from a wide variety of people. We need to find forever homes for children and young people of all ages and all backgrounds so I’d encourage everyone to enquire about the adoption process.”
“I really hope that through speaking to our existing same sex couples members of the LGBT+ community will get in touch, find out about adoption and decide to adopt.”
“The adoption process can take time because we want to make sure that we create the right partnerships for both the children and the adopters.”
“I’d encourage everyone to please consider adopting – we need more people to come forward to adopt so that all our children and young people in care have the opportunity to find their forever home, a great future and a happy life.”
We also spoke to Joe and Craig who are just starting out on their journey to becoming parents, with their little boy, Sam*
Joe had always known he had wanted to adopt and after meeting his partner Craig, they started looking into adoption agencies throughout Sheffield.
Speaking about why he wanted to adopt through Sheffield City Council, Joe said: “I wanted to give an existing child a better life, rather than bring a new child into the world and so myself and Craig went along to the adoption open evenings where the service explained the whole process. We would advise anyone who is considering adoption to go to these evenings – they are really helpful.”
With only weeks to go until Joe and Craig bring Sam home from his foster carer, Joe said:
“We are looking forward to summer days in local parks and starting our life as a threesome. Sam has already changed our lives dramatically; we are head over heels in love with him.
“To any LGBT+ members considering adoption, make sure you have a strong support network, be honest and most importantly, enjoy it – there is nothing to be scared of. We’ve had amazing support from the service as well as our social worker who has been brilliant throughout.”
Last year, 51 children were adopted in Sheffield, with 32 new registered adopters.
To find out more on adoption please visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/adopt
If you are interested in following Joe and Craig’s adoption story, visit their blog: www.mushandbean.co.uk