When gay and lesbian couples choose to adopt they are faced with many challenging decision. Although gay adoption is nothing knew, more and more research and adoption options are becoming available for these families. In general, adoption is a very extensive process that families think through very carefully before coming to their final decision. Gay and lesbian adoption only adds additional concerns for the parents to think about when going down this route.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Gay and Lesbian Adoption
Since there are many different types of adoption options for families to choose from, it is key to research all of them. Listed below are some options gay and lesbian families can choose from:
Question: What Options Are Available for Gay and Lesbian Adoptions?
Public Agency Adoptions: This is also known as a foster care adoption. The outcome of whether an adoption is finalized with this route is solely left to the attitudes of the state and the agency as each state decides who can adopt. The court will make their decision based on what they think is in the best interest of the child in question. This is of course extremely subjective.
Agency Adoptions: These adoptions are completed with the help of an adoption agency. Again, each adoption agency may hold different policies regarding working with gay or lesbian individuals.
Independent Adoptions: These adoptions are facilitated by someone other than an agency or social worker. This could mean an attorney or physician. These adoptions are illegal in many states. With these adoptions the placement is left up to the families involved. Again honesty regarding who you are is important.
International Adoptions: This option is complicated as it means finding an agency willing to work with a gay or lesbian couple and a foreign country willing to place a child in an alternative family. Many countries are not as accepting of gay and lesbian adoptions. Some countries are making these decisions based on their cultural standards and again, what they feel is in the best interest of their children.
Open Adoptions: Most of the above adoption options would be conducive with the choice of an open adoption. Open adoptions mean a level of contact with birth family. Open adoptions are also usually in the best interest of the child. Consider an open adoption during your adoption research.
Second Parent Adoptions: It's also important for the gay and lesbian family to be aware of second parent adoptions and whether they are legal in your area. This option allows the child to have two legal guardians. http://adoption.about.com/od/gaylesbian/f/gayoptions.htm
With the many adoption options available for gay and lesbian couples to consider, research indicates that second parent adoptions are the most common. Second parent adoptions or stepparent adoptions are “The most common way in which same-sex couples adopt is that one partner already has legal custody of a child (either by birth or adoption) as a single parent. Then the second partner, at some later date after the adoption has been finalized, petitions the court to allow the second partner to do a second parent adoption of the other partner's child using the streamlined stepparent adoption process. Stepparent adoptions are the most common and least regulated types of relative adoptions in the United States. Second parent adoption allows a homosexual couple to adopt a child so that both partners have equal parental rights. For instance, the non-biological mother can adopt the child born to her lesbian partner without terminating the parental rights of the biological mother.” http://www.adopthelp.com/alternativeadoptions/alternatives2.html
In today’s society it is much more common to see gay and lesbian couples adopting children to start families of their own. This being said, there are also some fears that are presented on the topic of gay adoption and gay parenting. Studies show that much of the concern is focused around the child’s understanding of sexual orientation and identification when they are brought up in a gay or lesbian household as well as if they will have additional problems due to their parents. There has not been any evidence of these concerns being true although other fears have been arisen.
Question: Will children be teased if they have homosexual parents?
Society has become more open and accepting to gay and lesbian couples but there will always be the people who disagree with same sex relationships. Answers given to this question vary depending on the child’s age when adopted into the gay family as well as many other factors. Research states that, “Gay and lesbian adoptive parents must also think about how they will explain to younger children, in age-appropriate language, not only how and why the child was adopted but also about the parents' sexual orientation. Both are complex subjects that should be addressed a number of times as the child grows and matures, each time adding new information as the child asks and is able to absorb and understand more. Then both topics become accepted facts of family life.” http://adoption.about.com/od/gaylesbian/f/teasing.htm
To conclude the topic of gay and lesbian adoption here are some questions to think about as well as some added cites to check out relating to different aspects of the adopting process.
Case Brief: Homosexuals and Adoption - Equal Protection – Gay adoption in Florida
Questions to think about:
What is your opinion about gay and lesbian adoption?
Which adoption option would you choose to go through with? And why?
Do you think it will become easier for gay and lesbian couples to adopt in the future?
Posted By: Laura Koehler, Rachel Cina, Molley Foley, Laramie Ruggiero and Laura Hickey