How to explain our relationship?

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We are a new couple entering the world of Adoption and are at Stage 1 of the process. We are making a list of questions that we may face along the journey and would like to know if anyone has any tips or pointers on how to "Inform an Adopted child(ren) that we are a gay couple and what advice to give when approaching school years"?

Were sure this has come up before but would like to know if anyone has:

1. Already faced this question at the panel

2. Been asked by their SW

3. Asked each other the question

it would be interesting to see a varied mix of answers.

Thank You.

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Hi there! I'd say just be totally open about it. Children will accept things at face value generally speaking. They'll also catch on very fast if you're trying to hide anything, or if you're anxious about things. You'll be asked quite a lot at panel about how you'll support your child through having same-sex parents, and dealing with the 'difference' that brings with it. You have to think this stuff through and show everyone you're ready to take it on. It's not always easy - you get asked ridiculous, sometimes insulting questions by children, parents, total strangers etc - but if you're confident and upfront it's quickly dealt with.

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In my experience (birth children born into same sex marriage) children are very accepting - I've always taught my children that people are different- start young with tall short blue eyes brown eyes etc then as they get older discuss difference to include skin colour etc then include religion, ethnicity and cover families- what makes a family. Mummy and daddy, two mummies, two daddies, one mummy, etc etc there are loads of books! As the child gets older you can share more information on love and relationships leading onto LGBT etc issues. My children are probably the most informed most accepting mature children in their peer group. Kids do ask daft questions naturally but honest, age appropriate responses work best! The days of traditional nuclear families at long gone and most children know all types of different families by the time they're in school. My children have not encountered any bullying or difficulties with peers or staff or other families in school. I do know one little boy who had two mummies who fabricated a story about an incredible superhero type father to impress his friends (anonymous donor) but this isn't unusual in all children anyway! Don't worry and good luck - there are a million books out there to help you too Smile (hope this helps a little bit)

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The only question we faced during assessment was how we would provide male role models. We were advised to nominate one of our many close male friends as a secular kind of godfather to our son. We were not questioned at all about the issue at either approval or matching panels. The only issues we have faced thus far have been from our son himself, who was nearly 3 at placement and is now 4. We had not anticipated that he would question his situation at such an early stage, given that he has never lived with a father figure. However from starting nursery last year, he has asked why he has two mummies and not a mum and dad. A couple of times he has seemed upset about this and we have heard him talk to friends about his fictional "dad". Although I feel sad sometimes that this is something that worries him, I also feel glad that he is able to talk to us about it. I am hopeful that as his attachment to us continues to grow, he will become even more accepting of our type of family. Joining New Family Social has ensured that we have met many other same-sex adoptive parents and their children, which we think will be really important for our son as he grows older. We have loads of books about different types of families too. Good luck!

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Our youngster had the idea of having 2 dads 'subtly' mentioned so much in the last 2 weeks before meeting us that he said on the day he was told he was being adopted by 2 men "it's not 2 dads is it?" - fortunately finding out about the dog won him over. He has never rejected us based on our gender and we try and give a gender equal house hold view. His friends just accepted us unquestioning.

As I'm sure heterosexual adopters do, we are not sexual towards each other infront of our child. We do however kiss each other goodbye and he knows we are married and share the same surname because of it. We do occasionally get the comment one of us have a girlfriend which we quickly correct him and add a little more about what it means to be in a committed relationship.

completely agree with other comments about being honest and trying to meet other same sex parents and their kids.

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Hi, we (a male same sex couple) have adopted 3 children at different times and therefore we have been sat in front of many panels; we have never been asked at panel how we planned to explain our relationship (instead they focused on how we would adapt to having children and how (as the family grew) we would balance the needs of our children) – although we did discuss this we our social worker(s) during the process over the years! And simple put – we don’t. We don’t feel the need to “Explain” our relationship nor do we feel the need to explain anyone else’s relationship, instead we teach our children that all families are different, and they except it.

We do explain that sometimes people they meet will not understand or that they may think that having 2 dads is “Not Normal” and “A bit strange” (After all we do live in the real world) but we also tell than that this is not their issue.

They are proud that they have 2 dads and will correct people who assume that they have a mother. We don’t hide who we are or what we are and we feel comfortable being close to each other in front of our children and like most children they shout “yuck” when they see their parents kissing!

The eldest is in high school and the middle child in primary school (Youngest still at home) so the conversation has been raised a few times in the school yard! But it’s more curiosity and people wanting to understand. All we try to do is ensure that our children know they are loved, have a safe home and feel comfortable to talk to us openly and honestly about how they feel.

Good luck with the adoption!

12 users have supported this.

Some great advice here. I would also add that 'different' is a concept that adopted children will also need to process as part of their own identity, and you can help them to embrace what being 'different' means to you, and in a positive light.

12 users have supported this.

Lots of good advice here, and agree strongly with the advice and comments here, in particular that children are generally very tolerant and accepting - it is the parents you need to worry about.

We're a straight married couple with three adopted daughters, and we meet up infrequently with friends we made on the adopters course and their children, including a same-sex (female couple). I remember one time early on we were going to meet the other families and one of my children, who was probably aged about 5 at the time, started the conversation thoughtfully,

"so Janet and John have got two Mums?"


"not a Mum and a Dad?"

"no, there are lots of different types of families, Mum and Dad, two Mums, two Dads etc."


I knew there was a question coming, and was all ready to do some fast thinking about answering in an age appropriate way whatever the question might be...

"but what do they call them? They can't call them both Mum, that would be confusing!"

It did make me laugh - children are very practical. (Anyway, turns out they are Mum and Mummy!)

Good luck on your journey.

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To be honest we were never asked a question like this, they focussed more on how the child would cope with bullying in school, we were asked at least 6 times about this along the way!

I think it's worth mentioning that you will bring a child/children up in an environment celebrates all sorts of different families, and get involved in social groups that share similar family set ups to yours, therefore it will not be a 'different' family to them.

Good Luck!

11 users have supported this.

Sorry about the delay in answering this.

We were asked at panel how we would deal with our children asking about our sexuality. We talked about explaining differences in families and that it would be a positive way of discussing how their being adopted is a a different way to make a family. It seemed to work as we were approved.

The social workers will work really well with about how to talk about your sexuality with the children. We went with Corum who have lots of experience of working with gay couples so if you're near one of their offices they might be worth a call.

Hope that helps.

12 users have supported this.