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  • Adoption and the LGBT Community

    Adoption and the LGBT Community-1_compGay and lesbian adoption is increasing in the US. Approximately 16,000 same-sex couples are raising more than 22,000 adopted children in the US and 2 million gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders have expressed an interest in adopting.

    While gay adoption is controversial to some, LGBT couples and singles are four times more likely to adopt than heterosexual couples or singles, and six times more likely to be fostering children from state foster care systems. 4% of all adopted children in the US are being raised by LGBT parents. Childrearing among same-sex couples is highest in the South, Mountain West, and Midwest areas of the US.

    Our mission at Creating a Family is to educate and support these families because, as with all families, children do best with parents that are prepared and educated.

    + Types of Gay and Lesbian Adoptions

    • Single: an unmarried person adopts a child
    • Joint Adoption: a married or unmarried gay couple petitions to adopt a child
    • Second Parent Adoption: one parents adopts as a single and then the second parent petitions to adopt the child and share full parental responsibilities

    + Is Adoption By Gays, Lesbians, and Same Sex Couples Legal or Allowed?
    The legality of LGBT adoptions is changing in the US. Adoption is governed by state law rather than federal law, which means that there are 50 different laws (actually more, since the District of Columbia and each territory also have their own law) and 50 different answers to whether or not gays are allowed to adopt.

    Some states specifically allow gays and lesbians to adopt, while others have explicit restrictions on adoptions by those in the LGBTQ community. Other states don’t allow same sex couples to jointly adopt, but do not prohibit gay and lesbian singles from adopting. The vast majority of states do not mention homosexuality or sexual orientation in their adoption statutes, therefore legality and what is allowed is determined by case law or court rulings. Few states have statutes that specifically address second parent adoptions. The Human Rights Campaign maintains a current map of the gay adoption laws by state.

    Unless there is a specific state statute allowing or disallowing adoption by LGBTQs or a ruling by the state Supreme Court, you are somewhat at the mercy of the family court judge that will be hearing your adoption case. Acceptance of LGBTQ adoptions is increasing, especially with single or second parent adoptions. The best way to find out about where you live is to ask gay friendly adoption agencies or other LGBTQ adoptive families in your area.

    In a strange twist on logic and common sense, it is possible for marriage to work against your efforts to adopt. It depends on the marriage recognition laws, adoption statutes and case laws in your state. Contact gay parenting support groups and see what others have found and then contact an adoption attorney. Make sure that the attorney specializes in adoption.

    + How Do Kids Raised By LGBTQ Parents Fare?
    Same sex parents are not a generic group and making generalizations is no easier with homosexual parents than with heterosexual parents. However, we can look to the research, which almost universally finds that children with gay or lesbian parents compare about the same as children with heterosexual parents on a range of psychosocial measures of adjustment. If you are interested in this topic, listen to this Creating a Family radio show interview with Dr. Abbie Goldberg, researcher and author of Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle or our interview with one of the leading researchers on this topic –Dr. Susan Golombok, author of Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms.

    + Should Gays and Lesbians Use an Adoption Agency or an Adoption Attorney?
    If you are considering foster care adoption, you will work with either the state foster care agency or with a private agency with a contract to place foster children. In our experience, most people report getting better pre and post adoption support when using a private agency which finds homes for kids in foster care.

    If you are considering domestic infant adoption you have a choice between using an adoption agency or an adoption attorney. In our experience, adoption attorneys are less likely to discriminate against gays, but you will usually have to do more work on your own to find an expectant mother considering adoption.

    Not all pregnant women who are considering adoption will be open to LGBTQ adoptive parents, so there are some advantages to working with an agency that has access to a larger pool of prospective birth mothers. Statistics are hard to come by, but from our experience, we estimate that 30-40% of adoption agencies have written or unwritten policies prohibiting or discouraging placing children with gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgenders. It is best to choose an agency at the beginning that does not discriminate against you, since once you have invested time and money with an agency, your options are fewer. We provide you with the Top Ten Tips for Finding a Gay or Lesbian Friendly Adoption Agency or Adoption Attorney. Of course, acceptance of gay prospective parents is not the only criteria you should consider. Follow our 3 step process for choosing an adoption agency to find the right one for you.

    Creating a Family has resources on LGBTQ adoption. A few we think you will find particularly helpful are:

    More Creating a Family radio interviews with experts, videos, blogs, fact sheets, and Q and A’s with Experts on LGBT adoption can be found at the icons below.

    Sources: Creating a Family radio shows below, www.census.gov, williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu


    Additional Resources

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    Creating a Family Radio Shows on Gay Adoption

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    Creating a Family Blogs on Gay Adoption

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    Creating a Family Factsheets, Tips on Gay Adoption

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    Creating a Family Videos on Gay Adoption

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    Q and A's with Experts on Gay Adoption

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    Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.