When we signed up with our agency they signposted us to an organisation called New Family Social, which promotes ‘Strong and happy LGBT adoptive and foster families throughout the UK‘
Following the change in legislation in 2006, which allowed unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to adopt jointly in England and Wales, NFS was formed in 2007 to support this growing demographic. The self-help membership organisation is now a registered charity, doing super-ace things. Check out their ‘what we do‘ page which describes the breadth of their work more clearly than I.
Basically, it’s pretty great; minutes after putting up a ‘Hi, we’re new’ post in the forum, we had a deluge of welcome messages in our inbox. Membership is free via our agency (as they subscribe to NFS), but as we hadn’t been assigned a social worker at the time, we parted with the heady sum of £5 pcm (or £2.50 for low income families) and jumped on-board.
Each region in the UK has a volunteer coordinator who looks after members in their area and organises, or empowers members to organise, meet ups. Historically there hadn’t been events happening in our county, but soon after we joined an event was scheduled IN OUR TOWN, what are the chances.
…Which is how we came to be sharing popadoms with local homosexuals. The experience on the whole was weird, yet not unpleasant. like chocolate coated pretzels. Imagine polyamorous blind dating with biryani and babies and you’re part way there.
All of the people present had children placed with them, through a variety of means, including traditional adoption; early permanence and adopting a fostered child, and it was fascinating to hear about these varied experiences first hand. The most surprising aspect was that TWO of the families had adopted relinquished babies. This may not sound unusual, but the adoption climate has changed considerably over the past few decades: whereas historically unmarried Mothers may have been encouraged (forced) to give up their children, it is now very rare for families to voluntarily relinquish their children.
We also had a surprise visit from a 5 month old baby.
I was wholly unprepared for the feelings this evoked: we have learnt a lot about the importance of being honest with children about their birth families; highlighting their positives, but sensitively explaining that, for whatever reason, they were not equipped to look after them. We hadn’t considered that conversation from the angle of a relinquished child. We will never know the unique circumstances that resulted in those little boys being put up for adoption, but looking at this tiny baby, I couldn’t help feeling a bit sad.
It also entirely altered my mindset about adopting a baby* But more on that later.
* Upon revision, I should qualify this statement – I’m not under the misaprehension that we’re going to adopt a horse or similar, but that I’d been considering an older sibling group previously.