Norfolk County Council hopes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will apply to care for vulnerable children
- Credit: EDP picture library
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who want to adopt or foster children have been urged to help offer homes for some of Norfolk's most vulnerable children.
Next week is national LGBT Adoption and Fostering week and Norfolk County Council wants to hear from anybody who would like to be a prospective carer.
The council is particularly keen to find homes where teenagers and brothers and sisters will be able to stay together.
In Norfolk. around a fifth of people adopting are from the LGBT community. In 2016, the council placed seven children with LGBT adopters, - 14pc of all the children placed last year.
And, since April last year, two LGBT fostering families have been approved, with two more in the pipeline.
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Cliff Jordan, leader of Norfolk County Council said: 'Some people still mistakenly think they may not be able to adopt or foster if they are LGBT and are cautious about approaching us.
'I would like to reassure the LGBT community that anyone who wants to talk to us about adoption or fostering can be sure of a warm welcome.'
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Jeff and his partner Greg*, adopted three brothers who they had originally fostered. The boys, then aged 18 months, four and seven, had previously suffered from neglect and abuse.
Jeff said: 'When the boys first came to us we found looking after them was emotionally and physically draining.
'Each of the children's needs had to be dealt with very differently. The eldest had been through a very difficult time and was extremely insecure. All the children were very aggressive – even the baby would hit and bite and scream.'
The pair were worried, when a discussion with social workers about the boys' future revealed they would not be going back to their birth family and could end up being separated.
Jeff said: 'We both knew instinctively that we had to take them on and become a permanent family. So after discussions with our social worker, we started the adoption process.'
The boys are now settled into family life and Jeff said: 'One of the great things about adopting siblings is that they help and support each other. Our eldest boy understands he is adopted and is able to explain it to his younger brothers, so it's not really an issue for them.'
'It's not all plain sailing – when you have children there are challenges along the way – and sometimes it helps to have a sense of humour! But our boys are now in a loving, safe and stable home and this has had a really positive effect on their development.'
* Jeff and Greg's names have been changed to protect confidentiality.