A couple who adopted a child through Northamptonshire County Council say becoming a family has changed their lives for the better.
This week is LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week, which aims to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to consider offering a loving, stable home for a child or young person in care.
Anthony and his partner John, from Northamptonshire, adopted their son, now 12, eight years ago.
Anthony said: "I've always wanted a family of my own, and being gay, adoption was a way that John and I could do this. The team was brilliant, our enquiry was welcomed and we were given support during the adoption process.
"We adopted our son two weeks before his fifth birthday. He’d had a difficult start in life, but we felt we could turn his life around. We were prepared, but it was a real wow moment when he came to live with us – our lifestyle completely changed! It was exhausting at the start, but so amazing at the same time.
"He’s 12 now and there have been challenging times along the way, but the post adoption team have been great when we’ve needed them. We also have a good support network of friends and family, including other LGBT families who have adopted.
"We were worried about what people would think because he has two dads, but he’s not phased by this at all. He's growing up into a strong, independent boy, and when he tells us he loves us and is happy we are his parents, it really puts a smile on our faces and we know we’re doing a good job.
"I'd say to anyone who is thinking about adoption to go for it – it will completely change your life. There are children who need you now, so if you're LGBT, don't worry that you will be judged or not accepted, the team will support you at every stage."
Children in need
There are currently more than 1,000 looked after children in Northamptonshire and the county council is always looking for prospective adopters or foster carers who can offer a stable, loving home to a child or young person in need.
There is a particular need for foster carers for older children, sibling groups or children with complex needs.
Northamptonshire County Council offers a full training and support package for its foster carers, and carers receive a competitive weekly payment which is higher than the government recommended rates.
Adoptive parents will benefit from a range of support services including peer support groups, a dedicated phone line and support for adopted children.
Find out more
To find out more about fostering, visit the fostering website or call 0300 126 1009, or for details on adoption, call 0300 126 1008 or visit the northamptonshire adoption website.