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Parenting

First single gay man to adopt a child in Scotland shares his joy after becoming a dad

Emma Powys Maurice March 8, 2020

Thomas Anderson was the first single gay man to adopt a child in Scotland

On the day Thomas Anderson found out he was going to be a father, he nearly fainted.

He’d known from a young age that he wanted children in his future, but as a gay man he thought it was “impossible” for him. And when he entered his 30s as a single gay man, it felt all the more so.

“It was heartbreaking,” he told PinkNews during LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week. “People dream about high flying careers, seeing the world – mine was to become a dad. To have the belief that that would remain a dream was horrible.

“I have so many amazing children in my life and I genuinely believed I was blessed with so many tiny humans around me because I would never have one of my own.”

LGBT+ people in Scotland have had the right to adopt children since the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 came into force in 2009, but like many people Thomas assumed that it only applied to couples.

Even after he realised that the law allowed him the opportunity to adopt as a single gay man, he still feared this being snatched away from him.

“[I was] still thinking that, as much as there would be so many people supporting me and cheering me on, there would be just as many folk trying to burst my balloon and stamp on my dream,” he said.

The years following the Adoption and Children Act saw a surge in same-sex couples adopting children, but throughout his 20s Thomas saw no single gay men taking this path to fatherhood.

When he experienced a close friend’s pregnancy and realised he couldn’t bear to wait any longer, he decided to take the plunge and become the first.

“I thought, ‘Nope, I’m not waiting any longer to find someone, I will do this myself…’ and I did!”

A two-and-a-half-year “rollercoaster ride” of highs and lows lay ahead of him, but as it turned out, his fears of homophobes stamping on his dreams were unfounded.

Thomas applied to adopt through St Andrew’s Children’s Society, an independent, voluntary adoption and fostering agency in Edinburgh that works in partnership with local LGBT+ organisations.

Thomas was helped by St Andrew’s Children’s Society in Edinburgh

“Those guys welcomed me with open arms and held my hand every single step of the way. They were and are incredible,” Thomas said.

“On our first meeting I told them, ‘I’m going to be a dad, this is going to happen for me, I just need St Andrew’s Children’s Society to help me’, and they certainly did.”

His excitement at being approved for adoption was rivalled only by his family’s. He remembers his mother’s living room filled with people “screaming, crying, shouting” – followed soon by “the day I found out my boy was going to be mine.”

Thomas was at work when he got the all-important call: they’d found him a son. He was so overwhelmed with joy that he laughed, cried, then nearly passed out right there in his office.

His boss sent him home and he promptly went to buy his mother a ‘Happy birthday Nan’ card. “Best present I have ever given her,” he gushes.

“She was getting a grandson and I was getting my boy. I was becoming a dad. This dream, this need, it was coming true and I was beyond ready.”

Thomas’ son ‘D’ is now six

Unsurprisingly, fatherhood came naturally to Thomas and his son ‘D’ immediately “slotted into our family so organically and confidently”. Now an energetic little boy of six who loves Netflix, adventures and Pokémon, ‘D’ is thriving – and so is his dad.

“My life has completely changed in every possible way,” Thomas said. “I always wanted to be the person to be relied on, always a shoulder to cry on, the friend that drives over when needed, to buy the break-up drinks. I still am that guy but my priority is my son.

“He’s my world, my heart, my boy. Everyone comes after him.”

Thomas has nothing but encouragement for other LGBT+ people – single or not – who are considering adoption.

“Please shut out any negativity you come across. If you believe you can be the best parent to a child in need then go for it. Your forever family is waiting.”

More: adoption, gay dad, LGBT parenting, Scotland, St Andrew's Children's Society

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