A gay couple have created a new online social network aimed at lending support to same-sex couples going through the adoption process.

The New Family Social group has been set up by Andy May and gives lesbian, gay and bisexual adopters around the UK a chance to chat online and meet with other couples in the same situation.

There are currently 60 families registered on the site, which offers free membership and a private discussion board where users can contact other adopters in their area.

May, who is currently going through the adoption process with his partner, founded the group after using online message boards to communicate with other adopters.

He told PinkNews.co.uk:

“My partner and I were using Adoption UK to chat with other people in the same boat.

“We felt there was a real need to help the growing band of LGB adopters throughout the UK and we decided to set up a private online group.

“We’ve had a great response and currently we have 30 to 40 adults and their children getting together every couple of months in Central London to spend time with like-minded families.”

The group is keen to raise awareness that adoption is now just as much an option for gay couples as it is for straight and is being recommended to adopters by London local authorities.

May continued: “There are two main benefits of joining the group.

“Firstly, prospective adopters can chat to other people in the same situation for support and advice.

“Secondly, the group is great for children that have been adopted by a same-sex couple as they get a chance to meet with other families that are just like theirs.”

There has been a large increase in the UK in the acceptance and incidence of gay and lesbian adopters since the passage of the Adoption and Children Act in 2002, when unmarried and same-sex couples were allowed to apply for adoption for the first time.

The Act, which came into effect on 20 December 2005, stated that any unmarried couple wishing to adopt would be permitted to if they were able to demonstrate that their partnership is an ‘enduring family relationship’.

Adopters who are interested in joining the website can register on the New Family Social group website www.newfamilysocial.co.uk.