Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 41 — Child to live with adopters before application

Part of Orders of the Day — Adoption and Children Bill — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 16th May 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Labour/Co-operative, Sheffield, Heeley 5:00 pm, 16th May 2002

I shall be brief, because I believe that much has already been said in this debate, and I commend hon. Members on both sides of the House for the way in which this issue is being discussed.

One of the problems with adoption is that we tend to approach the issue as we would that of two people having a natural child. Years ago, that was perhaps how adoption was most frequently seen—a couple who were unable to have their own children would seek to adopt a child from somebody who could not keep a child. We are now in a very different situation, in which most children who are adopted come through the care system, most are older children, and most have experienced some form of abuse and are likely to have significant emotional problems.

Today, adoption is about looking for families for children. Nowadays, in our society, families come in many types. In my view, we should not rule out any adult who, after rigorous assessment, is thought to be able to offer a loving, lifelong relationship to a child. We have heard a lot about what is considered the ideal, and about what our ideal would be were we to have children, but that is not what we are talking about. The ideal would be to have enough adoptive parents for all the children who currently seek adoptive families and for all the children whom we would like to seek adoptive families.

That is not the situation. In fact, there are more children awaiting adoption than there are adoptive parents. It is nothing short of political correctness to rule out unmarried couples whether of different sexes or the same sex. To suggest, as did Mr. Lansley, that it is okay for one person to adopt is wrong—we will be creating new legal relationships whether in relation to unmarried couples of different sexes or unmarried couples of the same sex. Indeed, it was those very technical and complex legal difficulties that delayed consideration of these amendments in Committee, as the Minister said, so I do not accept the arguments of the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire.

We must ensure that the needs of children are put first.