We Are Family: A Conversation with Carolyn Robertson
Today, when we think of family, no single image comes to mind. Nowadays, the typical family structure includes blended families, single parent families and same-sex parent families.
With this in mind, we have asked parent bloggers to share their experiences raising their families in today's world.
Joining us is Carolyn Robertson, adoptive mother and author of children's books that celebrate the diversity of LGBT and adoptive families.
Q: How did the family construct in which you now live evolve?
A: My partner and I decided to adopt because we were aware of the huge amount of children languishing in the care system and felt we could make a difference to a child's life. We went to an adoption information evening and did a great deal of research. It took about a year from our initial inquiry to placement with our first son. We adopted again three years later and we are now Mums to two brilliant boys.
Q: How do people in your environment respond to your family? Have you ever felt discriminated against as a family? If so, how did you handle the situation?
A: Generally we have had a very positive response to being same sex parents. Our larger difficulties have come from challenges we have faced from schools and wider society on understanding issues around adoption and attachment. Many people have a rose tinted view of adoption and it's perceived as a panacea and that once children are adopted everything runs smoothly. Every child adopted in the U.K will have spent time in the care system, most have been removed from their birth families for often very serious reasons. The impact this has on children is far reaching and traumatic and can affect children's behaviour at home and school.
Q: On a scale of 0 to 10: How much do you feel your family model is accepted by society? (0 = not accepted at all, 10 = fully accepted)
A: It depends which aspect of the family model you are referring to...if you mean as a Two Mum family then I'd say it's about 7/10 but incidents like the most recent with Parkfield School in Birmingham show that society's tolerance is lacking in many areas. If a government legally endorses and encourages same sex parents to adopt then it has a duty of care to ensure those children have their families represented within education, literature, public services etc. The impact on our children (adopted children are often vulnerable) of anti LGBT protests are incredibly damaging.
In terms of as an adopted family I'd say society is way behind understanding the needs and experiences of adopted children and their families.
As every family is unique, we want to hear from parent bloggers with different structures and experiences. If you are a parent blogger and would like to take part in the We Are Family series, please get in touch with sophie.moran(at)care.com. Hashtags: #wearefamily #familyforeveryone #familyfirst
Read Next: We Are Family: A Conversation with Daddy&Dad
Read Next: We Are Family: A Conversation with LesBeMums
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