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Review of Proud Parents
As a gay parent I have heard past criticism from both the gay and straight communities that LGB adoption and fostering makes children the latest must-have accessory for gay people. Reading Proud parents by Nicola Hill gives a reassuring insight into the world of Lesbian and Gay fostering and adoptive parents, their motivations, their struggles, their successes, and the thoughts and feelings of young people placed with them. This book also demonstrates how things have changed over time, and that attitudes have definitely changed positively towards lesbian, gay, and bisexual fostering and adoption.
The book is an excellent resource for social workers, carers and prospective carers. It is very evident that the contributors have given their frank honest experiences. They are not trying to draw a comparison between gay and straight parenthood, they are sharing their reality, their methods, and what makes them good parents.
Proud Parents details the real life experiences of 16 families, a mixture of lesbian and gay, singles and couples, and adopters and foster carers. Each family describes their motivations to become parents, what sacrifices they have made, difficulties and joys they have experienced, and the battles along the way. Graham and Charlie adoptive parents of two boys state “We couldn’t love our children any more if they were our birth children”, Stephanie and Jenny also explain about their experiences of being foster parents “It is extremely rewarding seeing a child change from the time when they arrive at your door with a small bag of things to becoming a confident and mature young person, contributing to society and pursuing activities with a circle of friends”. One of the best things about reading these accounts is that sexual orientation is evidently just a small part of the way these families define themselves, and their motivations are to be parents and make positive and lasting differences to the lives of young people.
For social workers reading these accounts, they all contain handling tips for social workers, this gives an excellent insight into the how families see their experiences during the assessment and matching processes. Every social worker will put this book down having a greater understanding of the needs to LGB families and family’s needs in general, an understanding that is not taught at University. Eduardo and Colin stated “You also need to make sure you would ask a heterosexual man the same questions as you ask a homosexual man. Don’t make us jump through more hoops than straight men or women. Be supportive of lesbian and gay adopters.”
Overall the book made me smile, sometimes feel angry about the ways these people have been treated, and feeling warm hearted about the comments that young people have made about their new parents. It is an easy read, and is ideal to be left on your coffee table for anyone to dive in for ten minutes for inspiration and sometimes just to be a little bit nosey. This book is a true triumph for Nicola Hill, and I hope that this book is added to with future volumes.
Reviewed by Stuart Bray, Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator, Core Assets