Adoption and fostering information evening in Billingshurst for LGBT community

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Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community are encouraged to find out more about fostering and adoption at a special event in Billingshurst next week.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community are encouraged to find out more about fostering and adoption at a special event in Billingshurst next week.

As part of Adoption and Fostering Week, which runs from Monday March 2, West Sussex County Council is inviting single people and couples to come to Billingshurst Community and Conference Centre, Roman Way, between 7pm and 9pm.

The event will give prospective parents and carers – whatever their relationship status – the chance to talk to LGBT adopters and foster carers about their experiences.

Adoptive parents Hayley* and Jane* started fostering in West Sussex a couple of years ago.

Hayley said: “Both of us love children, but we had never considered having our own - it all seemed far too complicated. We liked the thought of helping lots of children so we decided to look into fostering.

“We originally went to an open day to have a chat as we weren’t sure how it all worked.

“It was all very nerve wracking - however everyone who came, including our social worker, made us feel very comfortable and relaxed, and gave us the growing confidence that we were going to be perfect for this job. We are also lucky to have a supportive network of family and friends.”

Hayley and Jane have since gone on to adopt the young boy who was their first placement.

Hayley said: “Ultimately he was a gorgeous little boy that just needed to be loved and to be given the attention he so deserved. In fact we gelled with him so much, he completely slotted into our family way of life and so we decided to apply to adopt him. We were so happy when we were approved.

“We would recommend fostering or adoption to anyone, no matter who you are, if you’re caring and patient and have a spare room, there are children out there that need your love, and the change you can make to a child will be the most rewarding job you have ever done.”

Debbie Kennard, county council deputy cabinet member for children – start of life, said: “Our foster carers and adoptive parents give vulnerable children or young people a safe and loving home.

“They give them security and stability at a time when they need it most and that’s an amazing thing to do.

“Our foster carers and adoptive parents come from a variety of backgrounds and they are all treated with the same care and respect as they go through the adoption or fostering process – whatever their background, marital status or sexuality.

“Quite simply, we are looking for people who will be good parents. People who are patient, energetic, with a good sense of humour and who will treat children and young people as individuals, whilst being able to maintain boundaries and provide the security our children need.

“If you think you might be interested in fostering or adoption, why not pop along to the information evening or contact the team to find out more. It really is an incredible opportunity for people who want to make a difference.”

To find out more about fostering or adoption, please call 0330 222 7775 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering or www.westsussex.gov.uk/adoption respectively.