A same-sex couple from Northamptonshire are calling on other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) to consider offering a loving home to youngsters in care.
Northamptonshire County Council has revealed there is currently more than 1,000 looked after children in the county.
This week marks national LGBT adoption and fostering week and the council is calling on foster carers to come forward to take care of older children, sibling groups or children with complex needs.
Anthony and his partner John, from Northamptonshire, adopted their 12-year-old son, 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."
Northamptonshire County Council offers a full training and support package for its foster carers, and carers receive a weekly payment, which is said to be 'higher' than the Government recommended rates.
As well as this, adoptive parents will benefit from a range of support services including peer support groups, a dedicated phone line and support for adopted children.
Anthony added: “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.”