Applications for Adoption (Clause 41)

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at on 21 November 2001.

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Family life in Britain has changed dramatically since the last adoption legislation was produced and current legislation will probably be in place for at least another 25 years. We are disappointed that the Bill does not consider the possibility of unmarried couples, and same sex couples adopting a child. More people will live in a relationship which is not confirmed by marriage and yet has all the components of it in terms of commitment to one another, and the capacity to provide a home for children in need.

The foster care service has provided a model. Unmarried couples and gay and lesbian carers have given children excellent care often for many years, until adulthood. These children have benefited from the love and care provided, and the security of the relationship. Many of the placements made have been of children with special needs who may not otherwise have benefited from family care had there been a need to wait for the perfect married couple to come forward.

Useful background information to support the case can be found in `Lesbian and Gay Fostering and Adoption—Extraordinary Yet Ordinary' edited by Stephen Hicks and Janet McDermott.