Gay Adoption

An Overview of the U.K. Adoption Process From a Gay Dad Perspective

Here's how the adoption process works in the UK, as experienced by gay dad Jamie of the "Daddy & Dad" website

I'm Jamie, one half of Daddy and Dad with my fiancé Tom. In 2014 we adopted siblings Lyall and Richard – cheeky little boys aged 8 and 9. I blog about our experiences as adoptive gay dads via our website Daddy & Dad and our Instagram feed.


Here, I take a quick look at the British adoption process.

The Adoption Process

The adoption process is designed to prepare budding adoptive parents for the realities of adoptive parenting.

The UK adoption process can be broken down into five key stages:

  • 1.The assessment
  • 2. Approval panel
  • 3. Family finding
  • 4. Matching panel
  • 5. Introductions

The Assessment

During the adoption assessment, adopters are assigned to a social worker. Our social worker was lovely; a very well organised, friendly young lady called Michelle. First, your social worker will survey your house or apartment to ensure that it's a safe environment for kids.

Then, over a period of about six to eight weeks, you'll be assessed for your suitability as adoptive parents. You'll be expected to reveal some fairly personal stuff about your relationship, finances and any traumatic experiences that you've been through. It's not as intrusive as it sounds – in fact Tom and I found the assessment quite therapeutic.

Approval Panel

A panel of experts are provided with your assessment report to peruse and then they interview you to iron out any issues or concerns from your assessment. Our panel took place in an adoption agency meeting room with ten experts; a mixture of paediatricians, senior social workers, teachers and MPs. I won't lie – it is nerve-racking but the majority of adopters that reach this stage are successful so don't worry. I'm a panellist myself now and I still get nervous every time – that said, it's reassuring for adopters to see a civilian on the panel!

After your panel interview, the panellists make a recommendation (yes or no) and a decision maker provides an official decision in the post… eek!

Family Finding

This is the stage of the process in which you choose your future children. However callous that might sound, you have to approach the family finding stage pragmatically because every gorgeous little child is accompanied with an emotional and often devastating bio. It's very upsetting reading, even for thick-skinned boys like me and Tom.

We found this process less upsetting when we stuck to our preferences. For instance, we knew that we wanted two siblings and preferably boys, so we were able to narrow our search down considerably.

Anyway, as soon as we saw Lyall and Rich's grinning little faces on their profile we knew that they were our boys, despite their traumatic back-story.

Matching Panel

When both your social worker and the children's social worker are happy that you all make a good match, your assessment report and the children's equivalent report (can't remember what it's called) are presented to the Matching Panel. Another team of expert panellists will scrutinise the reports, discuss the potential issues and make a recommendation.

If the recommendation is affirmative, you can start to prepare yourselves (and the children) for the final stage of the process; the introductions.

Introductions

By this stage, your children (you can safely start to describe them as yours, now!) will have been thoroughly prepared to move on from their foster accommodation and will know who you are, through photos and videos.

But, unless you found your children during a family finding party or event, you won't have met them yet. Scary stuff, eh?!

The introductions usually happen in the children's foster care setting, in the company of their foster carers and social worker.

Prepare yourselves for the most beautiful but nerve-racking and emotional day of your lives! You can read about our introductions with Lyall and Richard here.

During the following few weeks you will gradually take on more and more of your children's daily routine in their foster care setting. When everybody is ready, the children say a tearful goodbye to their foster carers and come home with you. Get the tissues ready for that day… it's another emotional one.

And that's when the real fun begins!

Anyway, here were are – four years on and we're a happy, settled, loving family. Adopting our boys was the most wonderful thing we've ever done. We couldn't recommend adoption enough. It's magical.

If you'd like a more detailed (and revealing) account of our adoption process, you can find it on the Daddy and Dad blog here.

Follow Jamie and Tom and their boys on Instagram here and on their award winning blog.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Adoptive Dads Gained an Extended Family Through Foster Care

Adoptive dads Edward and Andrew have maintained a close relationship with their twins' biological family.

Celebrating gay, bi and trans fatherhood is what we do on Gays With Kids. We rejoice in whatever paths our community took to become parents. But many of those journeys come with heartbreak, sometimes for the intended parents, and sometimes for the biological family from whom the adoption or foster placement occurs. With an open adoption, the adoptive and biological families come to an arrangement which best benefits the child, and that's when something truly beautiful can occur. This isn't always possible in every scenario, but when it does, we're exceedingly thankful. Can a child ever have too many family members loving them? Not likely. This was husbands of five years Edward and Andrew Senn's experience.

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

Together, We Can Reinvent the Foster Care System

Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network calls on ALL adoption agencies to be LGBTQ-inclusive

There are nearly 500,000 children in the foster care system. We think it is time to dig deep into the roots of an imperfect system. We think it is time to create lasting change for the children in our communities who need it the most. We think gay dads are the perfect partner in this work!

Here is how we think the foster care system could be reinvented:

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

How Parenting Boys Helped This Gay Couple Discover New Strengths

Billy always imagined himself raising daughters — instead he's raising two sons.

Eight years ago, Billy and Joseph Saponaro, 31 and 33 years old respectively, met on a dating app. They both knew they wanted something meaningful, so they decided to go on a date. On July 9 this year, they celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary.

Keep reading... Show less
Coming Out

My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Keep reading... Show less

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner


Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse