Lesbian, gay, bi or trans - you can foster or adopt
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If you're gay can you foster a child? If you're a same sex couple can you adopt more than one child? If you're bisexual and not in a relationship can you foster or adopt a child? YES YOU CAN!
Sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with parenting skills.
Fostering and adoption co-ordinators are determined to stamp out any misconceptions that those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or Trans cannot adopt or foster children.
Single people can make great parents. Couples can make great parents.
'One in eight of the children adopted in Norfolk and nationally last year was adopted by a member of the LGBT community,' says Ben Albery, Adoption Manager at Norfolk County Council..
'It is about your parenting, nothing else,' says Ben,
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'We can reassure members of the LGBT community that they are treated the same and welcomed the same as other would-be adopters. It is about what they can bring as an adoptive parent - if they would make good parents,' adds Tracy Collins, Interim Head of Fostering and Adoption.
That means being warm and nurturing, caring about children and giving them the security and stability they need.
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'We know the perfect adoptee doesn't exist, we know people will have had struggles and have their own stories. We look for evidence of resilience and how they have overcome struggles,' says Ben, explaining how this can help when they welcome foster or adopted children into their home.
'Children that come to be adopted or fostered may be traumatised. They may have been neglected, they may have been abused, they may have been through a lot and they will need support,' says Tracy Collins, Interim Head of Fostering and Adoption.
Experience in child care is an advantage and the fostering and adoption services advise all would-be parents and carers to gain some experience.
A foster carer or adoptive parent needs to consider if they can make a real difference to the life of a child, they add, whether they can help a child, or children, to enjoy life and to flourish.
On the practical side they need a room for the child, and ideally a room each if they are hoping to have more than one child. They need time, patience – and a sense of humour, says Ben.
Would-be foster carers and adoptive parents go through assessments and background checks and, if successful, will have training from the Norfolk County Council teams to prepare them for the challenges ahead.
The process typically takes about six months from the initial inquiry to the individual, or couple, getting the go-ahead to foster or adopt.
Being a member of the LGBT community, whether single or in a partnership, whether disabled, in or out of employment, does not make this process any different.
There are babies, children and teenagers in Norfolk who need a loving foster or permanent home. There are single children and large groups of siblings who want to stay together looking for foster carers and adoptive parents.
The fostering and adoption services help potential carers and parents to consider the child or children they could care for, offers training, support and advice and a buddy system so parents can talk to others in the same situation.
Those wondering if becoming a foster carer or adoptive parent is for them can go along to an information event (details on the fostering Facebook page and the fostering and adoption pages at www.norfolk.gov.uk) or talk to a social worker to find out more. Those interested complete a straightforward form and the assessment process begins.
Those interested and wanting to find out more can call 01603 306649 or visit the Norfolk Fostering Services Facebook page or the Norfolk County Council fostering and adoption pages at www.norfolk.gov.uk.