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Narratives of connection, diff erence and belonging: T e complexities that arise for gay and lesbian-headed families


Presenters: Sara Barrat and Julia


Granville Sara and Julia delivered a thought-


provoking presentation, exploring the possibilities and dilemmas for lesbian and gay families wishing to foster and adopt. T e fi rst exercise invited us to position ourselves when we were asked to refl ect in pairs on areas of comfort/discomfort when working with lesbian and gay families. T is brought to mind diff erent understanding of the word ‘family’. Sara and Julia explained that lesbian and gay parents tend to be generally bet er prepared than their heterosexual counterpart when it comes to refl ecting on issues pre-fostering/adopting. Lesbian and gay foster-carers and adopters oſt en wonder if professionals would consider them ‘good enough’. Ideas and discourses of fi t ing in, inclusion and exclusion enter into the experience of adoptive and foster


homophobia outside the home (school; birth families; professionals)?


• Complexities of adoptive children’s experience and understanding of mothering.


• Heterosexual male/female dominant gender-discourses imposed on lesbian and gay families; “Which of you two is the man?” questioning roles in lesbian households?


families from the outset of wanting to become parents/carers in the process of assessment. T rough video material and case


discussion, Sara and Julia invited us to refl ect on the following themes: • Children of lesbian and gay parents/ carers; how do they negotiate their way through key connections openly?


• How do you support children to develop resilience when encountering


• Mapping complex non-traditional families using a traditional genogram. Do we need another tool such as the apple tree?


• Creating a community around the child where the child can simply BE. We all refl ected on the need to open


practices and to creating new templates, encompassing and honoring of the network of connections around the lesbian and gay family, both biological and family of choice.


Kate Pelissier


Julia Granville and Sara Barratt Context February 2012


39


AFT National Conference workshop reports


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