The Adoption Option
When many gay men accept their sexuality, they tend to rule out the possibility of having children, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Attitudes towards gay parents who adopt are changing. We talk to David Adams about his experiences with being gay and adopting
“I approached my local authority, and I had some problems because I was a single man. Months went by and nothing happened. Their stance was that I couldn’t adopt because I was a single man, but they’d given children to single women.
“In the end I was looking on Be My Parent and I saw a profile and thought to myself ‘this is the child I want to adopt’, which is difficult to explain, but it was as if I’d written the profile myself. Even though my local authority hadn’t approved me, I emailed them but wasn’t sure if I’d hear anything back.
“The next day they rang me, and I was on the phone to the social worker for an hour and a half. He was asking me questions and telling me about the child. In the end he asked what I thought. I asked him to give me a little time to think about it, and he rang back the following week. We had another long conversation and he said if I was interested, they’d like to come to my house and meet me. They then contacted the local authority to get approval from them, and that was that.
“Due to social workers being ill, I didn’t hear back from them for six weeks. The initial phone call was in the February, they agreed to approve me in the April, and then my six-year-old son moved in November, which was quite quick.
“Everyone was really supportive about my decision. Sometimes people were a bit gushing about it and to be honest I didn’t want the whole ‘oh isn’t it wonderful what you’ve done’.
“My family told me to think about my life, my social life and money, but they are the same considerations for anyone having a family. They’re great now and I don’t really have any problems. The hardest thing about adopting when you’re single is you don’t have anyone to fall back on, so I actually pay a nanny now.
“The first six months were pretty challenging really. Mostly behaviour related, but even building that relationship with my son was difficult. We’ve come a long way, and I can even leave him with people now because he is much more secure. I don’t have any problems with him going to school anymore. Food was the biggest issue. He had huge problems eating and drinking, but all that has calmed down now.
“It’s not quite what I thought it was going to be but it’s certainly been a positive experience. It continues to be challenging and exciting and it’s great seeing them develop and your relationship with them develop. I’m just trying to bring him up to where he should be because he didn’t have the right input from an early age.
“If you’re in London, you can go to New Family Social for LGBT parents. It’s great because the other families understand you and you can talk to them. You’ve got the mix of both being gay and being the parent of an adoptive child, which is a very specific thing.
“In terms of relationships, I got to a point where I thought not many people would take this situation on. It’s a very odd thing trying to develop a relationship when you’re in this situation, because I don’t have a lot of time. I went on quite a few dates last year, and really it’s a bit of a novelty and it wears off quite quickly. Yet at Christmas I went on a date and we’re still seeing each other now. He’s very family orientated himself. He gets involved to a point. He’s very careful and considerate about the situation. My son’s accepted it quite well. I don’t really label it, but my son knows he’s more than just a friend really. We don’t go out a lot, so we have to do things at mine. It’s give and take. It’s just a different way to have a relationship really.
“For anyone wanting to adopt, if you’re prepared for a life change and prepared to take on a child whose had a difficult start to life then you can do it, so I would say go for it.”