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Adoption For LGBTQ+ Families

LGBTQ+ Fostering & Adoption Week runs from 4 March 2024, hosted by New Family Social to raise awareness and encourage the LGBTQ+ community to consider adoption or fostering.

In England and Wales, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 gave unmarried couples, including same sex couples, the right to adopt. This became law in December 2005. Prior to this, only married couples, or individuals (regardless of sexual orientation) could legally adopt. 

The rest of the world is also following suit. The High Court of Justice in Israel ruled unanimously in December that same-sex couples may adopt under the terms of a 1981 adoption law. The Court interpreted the 1981 adoption law to mean that children could be adopted by two-parent families, not specifically heterosexual couples, despite use of words ‘man and his wife’. This is a positive step and one, no doubt, welcomed by LGBTQ+ rights groups.

Since these major milestones, the number of children adopted by LGBTQ+ couples have grown year on year.  Now, 1 in 6 adoptions in England are with LGBTQ+ individuals and couples. 

If you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and are considering adoption, the main points are:

  • You do not need to be in a Civil Partnership or married to adopt, you will simply need to show that you are living together in an enduring relationship.
  • Single adopters can also adopt, whatever their sexual orientation.
  • Further steps towards equality for LGBTQ+ applicants were established in the Equality Act 2010, protecting against discrimination by adoption agencies.

Deciding to adopt is a big decision for anyone to make and here at Irwin Mitchell, we have the expertise and knowledge to support you through that adoption journey, once you are ready to take that first step. We have a dedicated Fertility Team of Excellence who would be more than happy to assist.