176 pages, 6 x 9
Very little material exists on the experiences of gay men and lesbians who have adopted, fostered or provided respite care for children. This book presents a collection of personal accounts, based on interviews and written testimonies, by lesbian and gay parents from many different social and ethnic backgrounds. Their stories record good and bad experiences, but overall, the accounts are positive and emphasise the rewards of parenting. This book will dispel a lot of misconceptions: it will also be useful to gay men and lesbians who are thinking about adopting or fostering children.
'This is a wonderful book! It brings together a diverse mix of lesbian and gay foster carers and adopters telling their stories, their way. At times funny, at other times poignant - the contributors relay the ordinary experiences of caring for young people. The carers are extraordinary in how they challenge traditional notions of family life and in the way they are prepared to expose their lives to 'professional' scrutiny. Each story is an inspirational testament to the creative and different ways lesbians and gay men find to parent'- Dominic Davies, co-editor of Pink Therapy, therapist, trainer and foster parent'The collection of seventeen stories about lesbian and gay households who have fostered or adopted children is a major contribution both to lesbian and gay studies and to the fields of fostering and adoption. This unique contribution records lesbian and gay carers' experiences, as well as offering a thorough analysis of this material through the medium of an editorial essay which draws out key themes arising out of the stories. The book offers much to consider about social work with lesbian and gay carers, but also documents more generally the experiences of foster and adoptive carers, something that is much needed and that will be greatly appreciated.' - Helen Cosis Brown, Head of the Department of Health and Social Care, University of Hertfordshire'A book written by lesbians and gay men, concerned exclusively with fostering and adoption, produced here and not in the US, is a very rare treasure! This book is immensely readable. It tells openly and honestly how it is, without resorting to jargon or becoming weighed down with politics. Many of the accounts are very moving. This is a powerful book which will be a valuable resource, and of enormous encouragement to lesbians or gay men considering adoption or fostering. However, it deserves also to be widely read amongst placing agencies to help counter the prejudice and misconceptions which appear to be still prevalent in some areas. Many of the contributors describe the negative reactions they encountered at different stages in the fostering or adoption process. It is a powerful testament, that with courage and determination, the lesbians and gay men in this book have all eventually been able to successfully parent a whole range of children and young adults... a very positive book which should be widely read' - Adoption Today 'This is a must read for all would-be foster carers/adopters who are lesbian or gay, as well as for social work practioners and studentsI could not put this book down, nor could my partner: in fact, we fought over it, such is the dearth of material on the lives of lesbian and gay foster carers and adopters. Drawing on the accounts of 17 lesbian and gay households, Lesbian and Gay Fostering and Adoption: Extraordinary yet Ordinary spotlights the many hurdles which would-be carers face, and offers a glimpse of the great joy and satisfaction to be experienced when getting down to the challenging business of caring for a 'looked after child'This is a land mark in publishing and deserves to be read by a wide audience. It can only whet your appetite for more.'- Young Minds'This book gives so much insight on the subject and is a `must read and inwardly digest' book for Fostering and Adoption Panel members, as well as family placement staff. This book allows the reader to understand motive, commitment and above all feelings. Carers describe in their own words some of the emotional devastation and some of the eventual euphoria they experienced, so that they, who are extraordinary, strive to give children a good experience of care'- Professional Social Work 'The overall impression I got from this book was the sheer tenacity of the contributors as they tell their stories. As with foster carers or adoptive parents anywhere the range of experiences in assessment, approval and placement was huge. And while some were very positive, other carers succeeded despite misapprehensions, suspicions or straightforward prejudice. There are tensions between the need for more and a greater variety of and the attitudes in society towards lesbian and gay men. Yet this book shows that they have very similar aspirations to their hetrosexual counterparts when deciding to foster or adopt. As well as allowing carers to tell their own stories, the book brings together all the issues, and links these with research in an editorial essay at the end. The editors say `All the contributors attest to the tremendous rewards which have made their persistence worthwhile and we hope that this book will act as an inspiration to other lesbians and gay men considering fostering or adoption.' I also think it is a must for anyone who has a view on who 'should' or 'should not' foster and adopt.'- Foster Care
Stephen Hicksis a lecturer in Social Work in the Department of Applied Community Studies at the Manchester Metropolitan University. He has been researching lesbian and gay fostering since 1992, and is a founder member of the Northern section of LAGFAPN (Lesbian and Gay Foster and Adoptive Parents Network). He has been a social worker for children under 11 years old at a voluntary organization in Manchester and has also worked in community mental health services. Janet McDermottis also a member of LAGFAPN Northern group. She works part-time as Co-Ordinator of an Asian Women's Training Project in Sheffield, and is also a writer and freelance trainer. Previously, she worked as a secondary school teacher and as a refuge worker. She and her partner have adopted a ten-year-old girl.
Foreword. Introduction. The Stories: Nita and Clare - `Arranged Parenting'. Simon - `Heavy-Duty Kids?' Kate - `A Mechaiya - A Complete Joy' Emma and Louise - `Staying Power'. Paul and Richard - `Out of Step'. Barbara - `The Eye of the Storm'. Dfiza and Anne - `No-One Ever Learned Us' Mark and Paul - `Caring Across the Spectrum'. Olivette - `Single Black Lesbian'. Sarah and Christine - `The Impossible Dream'. John and Rob - `Things Might Look a Little Cloudy Now, But' Jean and Trixie - `A Family, Not Pretend But Real!' Kath - `Matched'. Mike and Brian - `A Great Asset'. Sandra - `You may have to Count to Ten, No Twenty, Sometimes' Elizabeth and Mary - `A Special Mother's Day Card'. Shula - `No Regrets'. Editorial Essay: Themes from the Stories. Issues of Research and Policy. Appendix: Useful Organizations. Bibliography.
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