Adopting as an LGBT Family “I’m proud our three-year-old daughter will be growing up with two mummies!” To celebrate the start of LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week 2022, Adoption UK speaks to Emma about her experiences as a same sex adopter. The campaign encourages LGBT+ people to consider how they can #BeTheChange for looked-after children, through adoption or fostering. I think many of us same sex adopters have our own personal experience of what it’s like to be different, or an outsider, even in our own homes. We can use these experiences to help build a better home for those young people coming into our care. Myself and my wife Ann came to adoption after experiencing failed fertility treatment and for us this included a miscarriage. Our adoption journey began in 2018 when we made our initial call to the armed forces charity SSAFA, who were amazing. At no point did we feel judged by our social worker, or team. Our social worker was very good at us asking questions when he didn’t understand what something meant, or how to refer to it. Instead of seeing us as two women and just assuming we are a lesbian couple, he took the time to ask how we individually identify. Ann doesn’t identify as any label regarding her sexuality, whereas I identify as a gay woman. We went to approval panel in September 2019, paused while we moved house, and were linked with a child just before the pandemic hit. Thankfully, we went to matching panel and introductions took place a week later in June 2020. Bringing our daughter D home during various lockdowns and restrictions was definitely something we could never have expected and certainly made our experience as first-time parents more isolating as we were not able to lean on our support network as we’d expected to. Thankfully the online adoption community is amazing and has been a huge support to us. Our little girl’s adoption order was granted in December 2020 - the perfect early Christmas present. We’ve faced sleepless nights ever since but my word she is worth it! I run Adoption UK’s LGBTQ+ group which was set up in November of 2020 and we meet virtually every second Wednesday of the month at 8pm. We get together for an hour and discuss whatever people on the call want to cover. To date we have talked about introductions, letterbox contact, school advocacy, how to meet other adopters for growing support networks and more. I am so passionate about the group. Facilitating such a supportive environment for other adopters is important to me because, having adopted during Covid, I really felt the effect of not being able to build in person relationships with other parents. I also wanted to broaden links for LGBTQ+ adopters across the country. The adoption community is unique and special and I am so proud to be a part of it. My advice is once you’re approved make sure you take time for you as a couple, or as a single person, to do all the things you love to do – something Ann and I struggled to do because of the pandemic - and get lots of sleep! Everyone’s journey to parenthood is different, regardless of your sexual orientation, and by no means is adoption or fostering an easy route, but in my own experience it is by far the most rewarding journey I have ever been on. And I’m so proud our three-year-old daughter will be growing up with two mummies! To follow Emma and her family on Instagram head to @familym_m Throughout the week New Family Social, who lead the campaign, will share inspiring stories from LGBT+ people who have adopted or fostered. They will also publish new research and polling results from LGBT+ people who've adopted, or who currently foster.