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“Having gay parents hasn’t been such a big deal. Having new parents was the bit that took some getting used to”.
Published: March 4, 2021
Steven Elvins is 21 and lives in Bristol with his Mums, Lynne and Emma. In a special blog for LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering week, he shares his adoption story.
Living in an LGBT+ family
People often ask me how I feel about having two Mums. To be honest, I’ve never really given it that much thought. It’s really not that important. It doesn’t matter if you have two Mums, two Dads or whatever combination of parents. What matters is that they can look after you. Whether you’re adopted or not, the most important thing is to have someone who cares for who can keep you safe.
Having gay parents hasn’t been such a big deal. Having new parents was the bit that took some getting used to. I was adopted when I was around 5 years old and I remember the first time I met my adoptive parents. I was living with my foster Mum in Norfolk. We made a Malteser cake – one of my favourite cakes – to welcome them. We met a few more times and, eventually, I went to Bristol to live with them.
I found it difficult at the start but not for the reasons some people might think. Although I moved from one safe environment to another, I was in a new place in a different part of the country. So, when I first moved, I was scared and nervous. It wasn’t about who my new parents were. Or whether they could care for me. It was just a huge change. It all worked out in the end, though.
Adoption myths & misconceptions
There are so many misconceptions – on social media and in real-life – about what being adopted actually means. A lot of people have a very black and white opinion of what adoption is. They may think you were adopted because you weren’t wanted. Or that you were “given away”. In fact, being adopted can be about knowing that your birth parents do care for you. It’s just that they aren’t able to look after you.
Dealing with prejudice
I was bullied a bit at primary school for being “the adopted kid” but I consider myself lucky. My experience has been nowhere near as bad as some adopted people I’ve spoken to. There’s been some name calling, though. Because I have gay parents, some people automatically assumed that I was gay myself. I don’t know how they came to that conclusion. I live with a dog too, but no one has ever suggested I might grow four legs and a tail!
Joining The Adoptables
I’ve learned a lot by being part of The Adoptables, Coram’s group for young adoptees. At first it was a challenge – sharing and being part of a group. I spent a lot of my teenage years keeping myself to myself. I was always the quiet kid in school and didn’t feel the need to talk to people. Now it’s great being able to talk with people who understand some of what I’ve been through. I think if I didn’t have that, I would have struggled a bit more. As a member of the The Adoptables I’ve also been asked to give public talks about adoption – which is really positive and inspiring and has helped boost my confidence.
My advice for other adoptees
When you’re adopted, I think the thing you’re worried about most is trying to fit in. You feel so different. Other people’s lack of understanding or outdated attitudes can make it harder to feel accepted. My advice to young adopted people is to keep hold of your adoption story. It’s your story and it’s made you who you are. Own those experiences. Good or bad.
Remember this is your life. Don’t let people spin it in a negative way or allow them to control your image of yourself. Your life is not something that other people need to know about. Unless you choose to share it with them.
Being adopted is not a negative thing. It can be painful because of some of things we experience in our early lives. But I feel like adopted people can have a greater appreciation of life – because we don’t take as many things for granted.
For more information about The Adoptables visit the Coram website here.
Watch Steven’s Mum share her adoption story here.