One in four adopted Cumbrian children placed with LGBT families

Two women outside swinging their young son between their arms

Adopters Kirstie, left, and Amy, with their son 'Archie'


One in four Cumbrian children placed for adoption in the last 3 years were adopted by LGBTQ+ families, new figures reveal.

Cumbria Adoption, the county’s adoption agency working for Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council, released the figures to celebrate national LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week, which runs from today.

Some 93 children in Cumbria were matched with a new loving family between 2020-23. Of these, 23 were placed with 18 LGBTQ+ families. This included five families where a child was adopted together with their brother or sister.

The one in four figure marks a doubling in numbers since 2018, when only 1 in 8 Cumbrian adoptions were with LGBTQ+ couples or single LGBTQ+ adopters. National figures, which exclude single LGBTQ+ adopters, show that 1 in 5 of the 3,000 adoptions in England in 2022-23 were to same-sex couples.

Zoe Chambers, Cumbria Adoption Recruitment and Assessment Team Manager said: “The rising number of LGBTQ+ adopters coming forward and progressing to adopting Cumbrian children is a welcome indicator of society accepting and embracing diverse family structures. Our LGBTQ+ adopters are now a really important group for Cumbria Adoption, in terms of numbers and the qualities they bring.

“LGBTQ+ couples are usually coming to adoption as their first option for starting a family,  and our experience has been that they are often more likely to be open to adopting those children who have waited longer – brothers and sisters, children aged over 4, and children with additional needs.”

Cumbrian couple Amy, 31, and Kirsty, 33, adopted their son ‘Archie’ (not his real name) in May 2021 when he was 23 months old.

The couple, who both work in health and social care, say they are pleased to see the LGBTQ+ adoption statistics rising in Cumbria.

“We have come a long way to have equal rights and surely it's a good thing as more children who need families are going to their forever home,” says Amy.

“We did have some initial concerns having experienced bullying ourselves, and we worried that our child would experience bullying because of having ‘two mums’, but our desire to give a child a home and a family outweighed those thoughts and we have had very good experience in nursery and school so far.”

They would both wholeheartedly recommend adoption for LGBTQ+ people and for everyone.

“It can be a very emotional process but it’s 100% worth it,” says Kirsty.

 “We don't feel any different as a family so don't let that put you off applying. We felt just as valued as any other couple during the process.”

Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cabinet member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills at Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “Cumbria Adoption welcomes prospective adopters from all walks of life, regardless of age, marital status, gender, sexuality, disability, or employment status. It is wonderful to mark how important our LGBTQ+ adopters are in providing the new families we need for children who have had the most difficult start in life. We would encourage anyone considering adoption to attend our information events or visit”

Cllr Emma Williamson, Executive member for Children and Family Wellbeing, at Cumberland Council, said: “These latest figures should be a matter of pride for us all that we are reaching a point where a child having ‘two mums’ or ‘two dads’ is no big deal. All that matters is that adopters can provide a secure home that’s filled with love.”

To raise awareness and support LGBTQ+ people considering adoption or fostering, Cumbria Adoption and Cumbria Fostering are hosting joint information events in both Cumberland and Westmorland & Furness, during the week.

They are:

  • Monday 4 March – Fostering & Adoption Information Stand at Kendal Library from 12pm to 2pm

  • Friday 8 March – Fostering & Adoption information drop in at Costa Coffee, Market Square, Whitehaven, from 12pm to 2pm.

Information events will also take place in Barrow and Carlisle later in March.

LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week is led by New Family Social – the UK’s peer-support charity for LGBTQ+ adopters, foster carers and special guardians. The campaign is supported by 120 adoption and fostering agencies from across the UK, including Cumbria Adoption and Cumbria Fostering.

All prospective and approved LGBTQ+ foster carers and adopters in Cumbria receive free Gold Membership of New Family Social, so they can access national resources and peer support in addition to the support provided locally by Cumbria Fostering and Cumbria Adoption.

You can follow LGBTQ+ Adoption & Fostering Week online and through Instagram(@newfamilysocial) and Facebook (@newfamilysocial).

Read the full story of Amy and Kirstie's adoption journey

Related news