With over 64,000 children in the care system in England and adoption levels reaching a new low, Barnardo’s says there is ‘no room’ for discrimination when it comes to potential adopters.
Adding to recent concerns that race is acting as a barrier to adoptions in the UK, a poll commissioned by the children’s charity and released today on day one of Barnardo’s Fostering and Adoption Week, shows that more than one third (32%) of the public do not think gay couples can parent as well as heterosexual couples.
Only 3.75% (120/3200)* of children adopted in England in 2010 were adopted by same sex couples, yet children are still desperately waiting to be adopted with a quarter** of those with adoption plans never finding a family.
New Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie says:
“The poll not only highlights a disturbing and prevalent belief system, but also a deepening concern that children in the care system are continuing to lose out on potential parents.
“Society’s attitude plays a pivotal role in discouraging people from considering adoption. The idea that gay parents are second best must be challenged. To suggest that a same sex couple is not as able to raise a child as a heterosexual couple is at once absurd and unsubstantiated. To continue to discourage potential adopters simply because of their sexual orientation is severely diminishing the chances of securing loving, stable homes for the children who are waiting.
“This debate needs to be urgently raised and myths surrounding how sexuality, race, marital status and gender can affect your parenting dispelled.”
Marcel and Meryl became adoptive mothers to their two sons, now 17 and 18, via Barnardo’s. In response to the poll results Marcel says:
“I think the boys would have something very strong to say about that. I feel the result is based in ignorance because nobody knows if they are going to be good parents and no child comes with a manual so everybody does the best they can – I don’t think a same sex couple is going to find that any different to a heterosexual couple.”
Barry and David are in the process of being approved as Barnardo’s adopters, they say:
“Love is love at the end of the day. There is nothing we can’t offer a child that a heterosexual couple can. We live next door to a couple who didn’t see how two men adopting would work for a child but once we spoke to them and told them how we felt and what we could offer the children it really changed their view and now they are excited for us.”
Barnardo’s wants to hear from anybody who is interested in finding out more about adoption. Barnardo’s does not exclude anyone from consideration on the grounds of sexual orientation, race, marital status, gender, disability or employment status.
To find out more about adoption and fostering, visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fosteringandadoption or call 08000 277 280.