Gay Adopters what else?

(26 Posts)
MoreThanChristmasCrackers Sat 14-Dec-13 21:14:05

Ok, now I have your attention, sorry for the title I need your help please.

I have posted here before and am passionate about wanting to help dc and prospective adopted parents through the panel.
I have been given the opportunity to sit on panels in my area but have stalled because of fear of being wrong/getting something wrong.

I used to think that my views on gay people adopting were right and that under no circumstances should it be allowed because it isn't in the best interests of the child.
I then read a blog on here and it blew my mind as to how wrong I was.

I don't think myself homophobic and neither would anyone I know think I am, my child has a tutor who is gay and have numerous gay friends past, present and hopefully future. Took dd to the rainbow day? in Liverpool.

So getting the picture, I am really worried what else I could be wrong about and I know hardly anything at all.

Where can I learn more and how can I prove to myself that I could be of any benefit.

quietlysuggests Sat 14-Dec-13 21:16:13

If you have been asked to sit on panels shouldn't your local authority be educating you/ making sure you stick to their policies?
Bit frightening that you can just pop up on a panel then ask MN to identify any areas of prejudice you might have!

KristinaM Sat 14-Dec-13 21:19:54

Why have you been invited to sit on a panel?

I mean, what experience do you bring to the table ?

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Sat 14-Dec-13 21:24:32

None what so ever.

I am an adopted person, qualified teacher but don't teach.
I'm not sure of how it works at all and haven't gone further, that's what I'd like to know really.
I'm not suggesting I will have any authority at all and also don't know that authorities would offer training tbh.

Ledkr Sat 14-Dec-13 21:27:57

You shouldn't sit on panel really as you have pre conceived ideas.

floatyjosmum Sat 14-Dec-13 21:36:24

You'd be expected to read par's, ask social workers questions to be able to make a recommendation to the agency decision maker.

You'd be classed as an independent person - la's often use adopters and adopted adults.

Have to agree with ledkr though - you shouldn't sit on a panel with preconceived ideas about anything.

Moomoomie Sat 14-Dec-13 21:38:24

I suggest you politely decline from sitting on an adoption panel. Of course you will have authority, as all panel members would.
If you do want to go ahead, read, read and read so e more about the agencies policies and about adoption itself.

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Sat 14-Dec-13 21:42:11

Thank you very much for your honesty and its the reason the reason I stalled before I knew what would be involved.
However, I do know professionals who do have these preconceived ideas. I found out how wrong I was.
My first contact told me it would be as an independent person.

KristinaM Sat 14-Dec-13 21:56:41

I'm sure you are right, many professionals do have similar pre conceived ideas . And I think you have done the right thing in asking for advice and information here, rather than just assuming that you know it all because you are an adoptee.

But I have to agree with the others who suggest that sitting on a panel isn't the right job for you. There are many other organisations that work with children and most offer training and support in the role. I'm sure you will find another area where you can put your concern for children into action .

Good luck !

lovesmileandlaugh Sat 14-Dec-13 21:57:31

I actually think your ability to reflect and question your views is a positive thing. We all have prejudices, that is part of being human. But being professional is being aware of them, and being able to look beyond them and have a sense of professional detachment. Sometimes that takes experience. We all have ideas about what we think good parents should be, and there are many different and diverse parenting styles and family make-ups.
Your point was that you had a belief that gay couples should not adopt, but by finding out more information, your view changed. If other people challenged their prejudices, the world might be a better place!
Good luck!

Timeforabiscuit Sat 14-Dec-13 23:09:59

I also think your selling yourself short - you reflected on your preconceptions and challenged your behaviours.

That's a big deal in my opinion.

I would get in touch with the panel lead and tell them your concerns.

Lilka Sat 14-Dec-13 23:48:53

All the panels in my LA have an adoptee on, as far as I know. They also have an adoptive parent, both being independent

The whole idea of having an adoptee on the panel as far as I know is to bring that perspective in, and I do think that can be important and the adoptee voice is very important

However it is also vital IMHO, if you are going to be making decisions about modern-day approvals, matchings and whether a child should be adopted in the first place, that you get armed with knowledge about adoption as it is practiced now and what it involves nowadays - obviously it's very different to what happened decades ago.

So I would personally say that if you want to do it, you need to do some reading and thinking first. Get hold of a couple of books from the library, perhaps ones which cover or a memoir or two from a modern day adoptive parent/adoptee. Learn about what the process involves for the adoptive parent up until 'judgement day' in front of the panel, what leads to a child being taken into care and what happens before the LA decide to get approval to seek adoption, and read about the children - what their needs are etc. You don't need the level of knowledge a social worker or professional would have, because the point of having you on the panel is as a non-professional voice, BUT you do need enough knowledge that you aren't ignorant of the issues you will deal with, and you are actually equipped to make good decisions.

When it comes to things like gay parents - you can't discriminate. Your role as a panel member is to judge individual cases. You can't be against a group of people as a whole adopting - whether it's gay parents, single parent, interracial adoption, parents who have previous criminal convictions, whatever it is, you need to be able to see everyone as individuals, every case as different, and not have a blanket view. If you can't do that, then you shouldn't sit on a panel. Indeed I'm sure I remember the Daily Mail got all put out because an LA or agency sacked one of their panel members because they wouldn't support any gay couples adopting. Either way, if you are doing a job for the LA/agency, then you need to uphold their policies, including those of non-discrimination

Lilka Sat 14-Dec-13 23:50:23

Ooops - "ones which cover the needs of traumatized children and what it's like to parent them, or a memoir or two..."

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Sun 15-Dec-13 21:07:42

Thank you so much for your honesty and your advice everybody.

I do believe this was the only area in which I held strong views and wasn't open minded.
There is nothing else I am aware of and have soul searched.
After this thread I realise I have a lot to learn if I decide to go ahead with this.
However, please be assured that because I am adopted and whole heartedly support adoptive parents and of course the dc in the system, I would never go any further until I was 100% sure it was the right thing to do.

32flavours Mon 16-Dec-13 00:48:38

Out of interest could you explain why initially thought that gay people shouldn't be allowed to adopt? Me and my dp are adopting and some of her family aren't supportive because we're a same-sex couple. It would be really helpful if we could understand more about the reasons behind their opinions. They haven't been very forthcoming with their reasons so far, apart from to say it's wrong.

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Mon 16-Dec-13 23:13:34

Hello 32.

Just come in from a concert with dd, but didn't want to not respond to you.

I believed that a child would need parents that were considered normal by society as adopted children these days have been through a lot.
I am not saying I was right but how I felt.
I suppose an example would be considering bullying at school, being even more different than their peers x2 rather than either gay parents or being adopted.
I'm not sure if I'm making sense really, sorry.
Much of society is still pretty conservative when it comes to parenting, and even though I wasn't against gay parents, I was against adoptive gay parents.
I read a blog and thread on here and it totally blew my mind about how wrong I had been.
Maybe that person if still around could link to this and you could show the people concerned.
I am so sorry I was so narrow minded, it isn't in my nature really. I just could not see past it not being right for the child.
This blog showed how any other situation wouldn't have been right for this persons dd.
I hope the people concerned can get passed this and I wish you well, and apologies again.

Lilka Tue 17-Dec-13 00:49:19

I think you are talking about my DD1's and my blog post? If so, it's here

I'm pleasantly surprised (and glad) that we actually changed at least one mind, I have to say. I was expecting that we would at most give a new perspective to people who already agreed with adoption by gay couples/singles.

I have quite a lot to say on this subject but I'm so tired now I can't think straight enough to write a coherent essay post wink smile

pixiepotter Tue 17-Dec-13 07:28:10

i ao not saying your previous point of view was right , but you are very naive to be so influenced by ao internet blog. It could be pure fiction !

readysteady Tue 17-Dec-13 07:36:02

Why pixie? Pure fiction or not it would have offered the OP a perspective she hadn't considered before. Something didn't need to be factual to do that surely.

Kewcumber Tue 17-Dec-13 21:43:50

I have over the years been influenced by many things I've read on MN. It has opened my eyes to some things I'd not considered and made me a lot less judgmental (I'd like to think)

Of course everything on MN could be pure fiction.

Kewcumber Tue 17-Dec-13 21:50:19

When I was a great deal younger (I'm really very old now) I probably had a similar idealised view of adoptive children needing parents who were much more plain vanilla. Which is particularly ironic when you consider that I eventually became a single parent to a child of a different race and are now the poster child for non-nuclear families! (Devora and LIlka like to think they are but sadly the circulation figures prove them wrong).

There are times when I still feel guilty that I can't make DS's like more perfect. But I can't. And we're happy, he's happy and doing well. Thats the simple aim really. Not to make childrens lives perfect but to make them as good as they can be and there's really no way of knowing who the right parent will be for that child, I just know that by not considering a whole group of people means the "right" parent might never be found.

Lilka Tue 17-Dec-13 22:08:32

Whilst of course there's no way to anonymously prove the truth of one story, it would be naive for anyone to think that there are NO children for whom this situation is not the reality.

You would not need to search far to find more children like my DD. For instance I see quite a few profiles of waiting children and quite a few of them say things like 'is not comfortable around <gender>s' or 'a single mom or two moms would be ideal'.

Kind of like, when I read someone's account of domestic violence on the relationships board, I don't know for certain that they personally are telling the truth, but I do know for certain that domestic violence exists and that what they are describing also happens to other people

Therefore I see no reason why our blog post should not influence somebody. Many people who responded to us told us that they had never considered this one particular aspect of gay adoption before

However MorethanChristmasCrackers I must say that whilst our situation is something that most certainly exists, if you were on an adoption panel, most of the cases you will come across (whether approving a same sex couple to adopt, or offocially matching a same sex couple with their new child) will NOT be our situation. They will be children who could be adopted by a heterosexual couple in theory, but either a same sex couple has been been selected in preferance to the interested heterosexual couples, or no heterosexual couples put themselves forward for consideration in the first place. There will be same sex couples seeking approval who only want to adopt young children/babies or who do not feel comfortable with children with a history or needs such as my DD's. Therefore you need to be comfortable with approving these situations as well, because they are the ones you will be considering most of the time

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Tue 17-Dec-13 22:29:24

Thank you Lilka

I do appreciate everything you have said in your last paragraph and have considered this, and believe me I would not have a problem anymore.
To anybody who says it could be fiction, well yes of course it could.
It was just that I was moved to tears by this story and whilst I'm sure my gut feeling was right and it was completely true, even if it wasn't it changed my view from naïve and ill educated on the matter, to understanding. This to me can't be a bad thing.

I am so glad I read your blog, it moved me to tears, apart from the learning aspect I was touched by the love for your dd and your commitment. As an adopted person I had wonderful parents and I know how blessed both you and your dd are. I think you are a wonderful mum

5HundredUsernamesLater Tue 17-Dec-13 23:39:45

I've just read the blog and although I was never against gay couples adopting it has made me realise how important it is to be FOR it.

BillyBanter Wed 18-Dec-13 00:37:36

You will get things wrong sometimes. Everyone does. Having a panel rather than one person will help counter that, I suppose.

KepekCrumbs Wed 18-Dec-13 01:16:04

500, totally agree.

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