LGBTQ adoption has made national news in the past months. Several state legislatures have passed laws making it easier for agencies to refuse service to LGBTQ couples, while other states have fought back against these controversial laws.
Lost in the political turmoil and debate about these laws is a simple truth: Everyone who dreams of being a parent should have the opportunity to become one. Adoption can be a beautiful way for a same-sex couple to grow their family.
In light of recent news and in celebration of Pride Month, here are three facts about LGBTQ adoption.
1) Same-sex Couples can Adopt in all 50 States
Even though some states have made it possible for agencies to turn down same-sex couples, it is against the law for any state to bar a same-sex couple from adoption on the basis of their sexuality. This is a significant achievement as society has become more open and accepting. Even less than a decade ago, there was still legal discrimination based on sexual orientation in some states. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.
However, as recent laws have shown, there are still some questions worth asking when you are deciding on which adoption professional to work with. It is important to make sure that an adoption agency is totally supportive of same-sex parents and will represent you to potential birth mothers in the best way possible.
2) Children Raised in Same-sex Homes Experience Healthy Development
Healthy homes create the opportunity to raise healthy children, and this is true regardless of whether the parents are a heterosexual or same-sex couple. As more opportunities for research into this topic become available, the results keep pointing in the same direction. Love is love, and children raised by same-sex couples develop similarly to any other child raised in a different-sex household. A recent study found no difference in “general health, emotional difficulties, coping or learning behavior in children raised by same-sex couples.”
For many years, there were false claims about same-sex households having a negative effect on children. While some people may still make this argument, it goes against research and experience. Along with celebrating the romantic love between partners during Pride Month, research has shown that parental love is just as real regardless of sexual orientation. And that’s worth celebrating, too.
3) Adoption can be a Great way for LGBTQ Couples to Grow Their Family
Adoption can be a beautiful opportunity. It provides a potential birth mother with the ability to give life to her child, adoptive parents with the chance to grow their family and a child with a loving home. Adoption is the best option for many same-sex couples who dream of having children.
The number of same-sex couples who chose adoption more than tripled from 2000 to 2010. Today, nearly 5 percent of children in the U.S. are being raised in same-sex households. These children will go on to be engineers, athletes, business owners, politicians and so much more, because a child supported by a loving family has the opportunity to thrive. Families make the world a better place, and that absolutely includes same-sex couples who grow their family through adoption.
Resources for LGBTQ Adoption
The adoption process can be challenging. It’s a long process full of complex legal requirements, and it can be emotionally trying. Any hopeful parents navigating the adoption process need support along the way. If you are a same-sex couple considering adoption, there are resources specifically created for you.
- Support Groups for Same Sex Parents
- The Human Rights Campaign
- Gay Parent Magazine
- American Adoptions
- The U.S. Department of State
- The GLBT Hotline
Supporting Same-sex Adoption as an Ally
Pride Month is celebrated around the country by all kinds of people, LGBTQ or not. The people who have decided to use their position in support of the LGBTQ community are known as “allies.” While there are a lot of great ways for allies to participate in Pride Month, here are a few adoption-specific things you for you to consider.
Remember that it’s not about you.
We all want to be the star of the show, but being a good ally is about placing yourself behind your friends. If someone in your community is pursuing adoption as a same-sex couple, remember to always put them in the spotlight. This is their big moment, and you’re playing the supporting role.
Ask how you can help.
Rather than assuming you know what people need, just ask. This seems simple, but it’s often overlooked. Each couple’s specific needs in their unique context will be different, and the best way to be a helpful ally to your friends’ adoption is to simply ask how you can help.
Be a safe place.
Even though cultural attitudes toward same-sex parents have shifted for the better, there are still people who oppose LGBTQ adoption. You have an opportunity to be someone who is always accepting, open and welcoming to your same-sex friends pursuing adoption. Make yourself available when you are needed. Every hopeful parent needs a strong support network, and you have a chance to be a part of that.