And that means nothing is holding you back from becoming foster parents! But what does the latest study on same-sex adoptive and foster parents tell us?
A recently published study, ‘Same-Sex and Different-Sex Parent Families in Italy: Is Parents’ Sexual Orientation Associated with Child Health Outcomes and Parental Dimensions?’ has confirmed what many people have known all along – children brought up by same-sex parents are not at a disadvantage.
In fact, the study found that “children of gay fathers and lesbian mothers were reported as showing fewer psychological problems than children of heterosexual parents”.
And not only that, the same-sex couples in this survey seemed more satisfied in their relationships than heterosexual couples.
What do the findings of this report mean in the daily reality of fostering by same-sex couples?
LGBT fostering assumptions
For a long time, gay fathers were seen as people who would need the extra support to be able to offer a stable and loving home to a child in care. But this study turns that assumption on its head. Gay fathers, it was found, were not the ones who needed the extra support.
In this study, gay dads were older, financially stable, well-educated and in a stable relationship, four factors the report authors found, that contributed to better child and parent outcomes. And the four eminent psychologists who conducted the survey all agreed that these were more important than sexual orientation.
Furthermore, the study goes on to warn that making assumptions about people’s ability to parent on their sexual orientation means that looked after children would miss out on stable and loving homes.
LGBT fostering in the UK
In the UK, barriers preventing people from fostering because they are lesbian, gay, bi, or transgender were demolished some years ago.
Although the number of LGBT adoptive parents have increased year on year, LGBT fostering has been slower to catch on.
Fostering is a great way to open your life and home to a child when they need it most. There are different ways to foster, from offering long-term placement for a child or a group of siblings to short-term care, respite care and other specialists placements.
A child who can’t live with their birth families is a child who needs a safe place to call home, with adults who understand how to nurture, care and love them, unconditionally. Foster parents across the UK do this day in and day out.
LGBT fostering is making a difference right now in a child’s life but there are many more children waiting for a home and a family.
What does the child think?
Children who live with two dads or two mums, someone who is bi-sexual or transgender parents, are not negatively affected. In fact, most children didn’t see ‘gay’ dads or ‘lesbian’ mums; they saw dad or mum, the adult who showed them compassion and care.
Some foster children choose not to share they live with gay parents, while others do. Some say they have been teased for having gay parents, whereas others have said it is not a problem. What hurt them most, an Australian study found was the discrimination other people held toward their gay parents.
But like this latest study released in early 2018 shows, children are not ‘harmed’ or placed at a disadvantage by living with LGBT foster parents, carers or adoptive parents.
Foster Care Associates welcome applications from potential foster carers from across society, recognising the value in diversity for both the child and the foster family too.
** This is a guest post **