Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gay and Lesbian Adoption

  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.

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.

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


  1. I think it will be much easier for gay and lesbian couples to adopt in the future. As mentioned in Monday's blog, our society is much more open and respectful of homosexuality now than it was decades ago. Celebrities and media are much more open about sexual orientation and still respected by society. It seems as though with the changes in legislation about gay marriage and media publicizing different sexual orientations, opportunities for couples who are homosexual to adopt will increase in the future. As for other countries, values and acceptance have not followed those of the U.S. in terms of sexual orientation so much, so international adoptions may still propose a few challenges for the gay community. I think with more conversation and display of acceptance for this issue, our society will grow to respect and understand the importance of equal rights for all people of different orientations.

    Elissa May

  2. I followed the link that stated where gay/lesbian adoption was legal and immediately went to my homestate of NH, where LGBT single adoption is legal, joint adoption is prohibited, and second parent adoption is unclear. I find it interesting that they are okay with children being raised by one gay/lesbian parent, but think having a second gay/lesbian is wrong. This would promote single parent households, while discouraging children from having a second parent to provide and care for them. I can't seem to find the benefit of their laws.

    In response to the question posed about which type of adoption I'd be likely to use, I think it depends on the type of child someone is looking for. I think the most popular is using an adoption agency because many American families want a newborn that resembles them. International adoption is also gaining popularity in America because parents want to help these children grow up in an environment that provides more opportunities. I'm partial to public adoption agencies though, because I feel like there are many children available for adoption in America that need help just as much as international children. I know most of the children in these agencies are older children (toddlers and older)and are typically minorities. These children are ignored due to their age and the physical differences they show from the adopting parents. I think this would most likely be the agency I would use in adoption.

  3. I found this post to be very interesting and opened up my mind to thinking about the various components of gay and lesbian adoption. I feel that gay and lesbian couples have every right to adopt a child just as everyone else does. Just because they are the same sex does not mean they cannot take care of an adopted child. I think that it will become more and more easier for same sex couples to adopt in the future only because our society is changing vastly and starting to accept it. It is not fair to the children if they are not able to be adopted by same sex couples. Society also has to think about what that is doing to the children who are in foster care and waiting to be adopted. If I were a same sex couple trying to adopt I would definitely go with the second parent adoption option. This seems like the best choice for me because it gives both parents equal rights without taking away any rights from the birth mom. I would want my child to have parents that have equal rights.

  4. I agree with most of the comments left by my fellow classmates: yes, gay/lesbian adoption has become more accepted, and yes it will probably continue becoming more and more accepted. I just want to point out that equal rights for the LGBT population doesn't just happen because people think it should. I would like to point the spotlight on the thousands of LGBT civil rights advocates and activists who've made it possible through their work and devotion to human rights for all.

    I think you guys did a great job discussing all the options gay/lesbian couples have regarding adoption. I'd also like to see specific policies- as they vary by state or by agency- regulating gay/lesbian adoption.

    As a human rights activist myself, I suggest to each person of this class; find out what the policies are in your state, or in your home town and ask yourself who is responsible for maintaining such discriminatory or nondiscriminatory policy. Write to those who have power and demand equal rights for all peoples regardless of sexual orientation.

  5. This post was also extremely interesting to me because the information was so thorough and brought up many issues I never considered. While I have heard general debates over gay/lesbian adoptions, I have never looked at a list of state-by-state laws or understood the different ways gay/lesbian couples can go about adoption. First, I thought second-parent adoption seemed like a really smart choice for couples as it gives them the opportunity to each have equal custody of the child. It does seem though like it favors lesbian couples who can or want to have a biological child and then follow with a second-parent adoption, because gay couples do not have this option. However, is it possible in places where second-parent adoption is allowed to have couples adopt the child one parent at a time? It almost seemed as though this loop-hole could work, but I'm sure there are reasons why it would be stopped? I also thought the discussion on second-parent adoption was interesting because in states that do not allow it or are unclear on the topic, aren't then also prohibiting straight re-married couples from adopting one another's children? That seems a bit unfair all around. Overall, it seemed like a great option where it is available, but definitely prohibitive in many ways where it is not allowed.

    Also, I think it is really unfortunate that international adoption can prove so difficult for gay and lesbian couples because it is such a wonderful option. However, it does make sense to me that nations around the world are all on different pages, all function on different structures, and many of these are built on strong religious or moral beliefs. While it may not be what Americans agree with, it is understandable that countries are going to create adoption laws that are in line with their other laws and guidelines. In the same way that we value our children here and make laws and rules that we think provide them with the most protection, other nations are doing the same thing. And it seems to me like one of those questions where - is it our right to impose our values and beliefs on them? However, again it is so unfortunate that there are many children abroad who could be finding safe and loving homes if beliefs and laws were in line and gay and lesbian couples were welcomed in more international settings.