Same-sex adoption in the UK – new life as ‘Dad and Daddy’

Times Online offers a glimpse into one story of adoption in the United Kingdom, by interviewing new father – Phil Reay-Smith [pictured]:

“Adopting as a gay couple has been possible since 2005. When we first approached Tower Hamlets, our local council in East London, about adopting, they were at pains to point out that we would be treated like any other couple. The days of expecting gay adopters to take children who are ‘harder to place’ [as the social worker vocabulary delicately puts it] were over. Another London borough I contacted had refused to consider us, apparently because its books were closed to white adopters. Whether that was true, or was because we are gay, is impossible to prove.

“We don’t know what the first word he ever spoke was, but the first words I ever heard him speak were our names – ‘Philip and Michael’. Who can be certain, but he seemed to understand who we were. We came away from that first two-hour encounter elated. He had been affectionate and adorable.

“We are often asked what Scott calls his two fathers. Before the adoption, we asked ourselves the same question. Some gay couples we know who had adopted let their child use their first names, but that seemed to deny Scott the chance to use a word used by most of his friends. Others, where one partner is from a different country, used something like ‘Daddy’ and ‘Papa’ to differentiate. In the end, we settled on ‘Daddy’ [for Michael] and ‘Dad’ [me], uncertain whether Scott would be able to make sense of the distinction. We needn’t have worried. He gets it right all the time.”

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