Despite the law, there sadly remains a misconception that LGBT people cannot foster or adopt. Please let me clearly outline that this is not true. Fostering to Inspire positively welcomes interest from the LGBT community. We understand and recognise the importance of LGBT carers and the strengths they can offer our looked after children.
I am pleased to write that the level of prejudice received by some same-sex prospective adopters and foster carers has steeply declined over the years. Fears that children fostered or adopted by same-sex couples would face bullying, or that their own gender identities might be affected are unfounded. In fact, research by CoramBAAF suggests same-sex families are thriving. The evidence shows parent-child relationships are typically just as strong in same-sex couples as in heterosexual ones.
Over the years I have worked with many same-sex foster carers and I have been impressed by their level of resilience and commitment. These families are willing to consider and work with children and young people with complexities, and who see themselves as different. This willingness to foster young people struggling to make sense of themselves is also recognised by New Family Social, a charity for LGBT adopters and foster carers. They conducted a survey of social workers in the UK in 2011 and 76% of social workers thought LGBT people’s openness to difference and their ability to empathise with fostered children was a significant strength.
We know living in foster care can be a very challenging and confusing time for many looked after children and young people. They frequently experience feelings of being out of place and lost. They sometimes have to figure out who they are, working out what their histories entailed and navigating a difficult world around them. The strength of being a LGBT carer is that you may have suffered, and experienced many of these feelings. As a result, you will be able to use these experiences to empathise with a fostered child, and offer them strength and guidance to come through the other side. What better role model can you offer a child going through a difficult time – someone who truly understands and has the patience to reflect and help them make sense of their feelings.
If the above resonates with you, and you would like to learn more about the prospect of becoming a foster carer (as a single carer or as a couple) please give us a call on 01924 792 184 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be our pleasure to speak to you further and share our knowledge and experiences with you.
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