Bristol

More LGBT people in Bristol and North Somerset urged to adopt

Mother and child
Image caption Authorities say figures of people putting themselves forward as adopters have hit a 10-year low

"I have always wanted to become a father," said Peter McKinniss, a teacher from St George in Bristol.

"Obviously, being gay it wasn't considered a normal thing to do."

But Mr McKinniss' dream was realised a year ago when he and his partner Nick adopted their six-year-old son.

He said that following initial inquiries, the process took three years.

"After speaking to my partner we made the decision that we were probably in a time of our lives when we could actually take on children, plus the fact that the law had changed to say that we could," he said.

"We haven't faced any kind of criticism - we've been supported by our son's school, doctors, all members of the community.

"And no one's batted an eyelid to the fact that he's got two dads - they're all just very supportive."

'Hard struggle'

For a long time, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people tended to be seen as a "last resort" when it came to placing children, Bristol City and North Somerset councils said.

But as figures of people putting themselves forward as adopters hit a 10-year low, the authorities are launching a campaign to encourage more LGBT people to foster and adopt.

The campaign is part of the nationwide LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week.

Clare Campion-Smith, Liberal Democrat councillor responsible for children and young people at Bristol City Council, said: "We are becoming a far more open and accepting society.

"It's been a long, hard struggle and we've still got a long way to go but I think it's very important that we are looking at people as people.

"It isn't a last resort. We are trying to get as many of the right people into our adoption and fostering as we can for the sake of the children."

An information evening aimed at encouraging potential LGBT adopters and foster carers to come forward is due to take place at the Colston Hall in Bristol from 18:00 GMT until 20:00 GMT.

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