Adoptions: What Same-Sex Couples Experience
Is it still difficult for same-sex couples to adopt a child in the United States? What are some of the most important statistics regarding LGBT adoption? Even if the laws have changed for the better in recent years, the process may be tough to grasp at first. If you wish to become an adoptive parent, explore our guide on what same-sex couples experience during the LGBTQ adoption process.
Should You Adopt?
It’s been a few years since marriage equality was introduced legally into the U.S. In 2015, the supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages. However, even after several years, adoption is still a big concern for many same-sex couples. So what happens when same-sex couples want to adopt?
Primarily, anyone who adopts a child does so out of love. Prospective parents are always aware that family means more than human biology. And nowadays, there is more diversity in families than ever before. This is evident in adoption, which often creates multicultural and transracial families as well as those with only a single parent. When it comes to same-sex couples, it’s important to consider the benefits and disadvantages of it all. You need to know the laws, statistics, different types of adoption processes, and possible problems.
Currently, state laws pose the biggest challenge. They are a cause of struggle for many LGBT couples. In fact, there are even some laws that threaten gay adoption. Nevertheless, the options for adoption have increased due to the overall change in legislation. If you want to adopt, note that every couple will face a unique adoption process. Still, you’ll also encounter standard steps and procedures.
The Same-Sex Couples Adoption Statistics
Currently, you and your partner will most likely be able to explore all variants of adoption. That includes traditional, foster care, and international adoptions. Concerning same-sex couples adoption statistics, they show that all adoption is legal in all 50 states. If you are based in another country, adoption may be illegal for LGBT individuals and couples.
Overall, data for the U.S. shows that there are over 16,000 LGBT parent couples. They are currently raising around 22,000 children through adoption. Regarding foster care, the numbers are a bit lower. That includes 2,600 couples and 3,400 children. And in total, there are nearly 95,000 same-sex families with one child or more. According to estimates, over 2 million LGBT couples and singles are looking to adopt. Also, current data shows that 4% of adopted children in the USA are living with lesbian or gay parents. Even if that percentage seems low, LGBT couples are four times more likely to adopt compared to different-sex couples.
And in most states, couples may need to be in a legally recognized bond. That includes marriage, domestic partnership, or a civil union. Some states that specifically encourage second-parent adoption are New York, Connecticut, Idaho, California, and Illinois. Others are Maine, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
The Adoption Process
LGBT adoption process should be no different compared to opposite-sex adoption. Also, the process should be the same in all U.S. states. However, it’s possible to encounter some restrictions or special rules that are specific to your state.
Firstly, you’ll need to contact an adoption agency and create your own adoption profile. This requires you to include many important details about yourself. The profile can include information about your lifestyle, home, and your plans for adoption. It may also contain your plans for raising the child as well as your reasons for doing it. Also, the profile should contain images that can clearly portray your lifestyle, such as those of your home environment. Then, the agency will share this profile with the birth parents or birth mothers. Like that, they can choose the best adoptive parents and home for their child.
What to Expect
Following that, you will need to go through the adoption home study. It’s a procedure during which an employee of the adoption agency will pay a visit to your home and interview you. This process needs to be as transparent and honest as possible. If caught lying, your case could be denied.
Concerning second-parent adoption, it requires one partner to legally adopt the child. The other will take the role of the co-parent or second parent in court. This process doesn’t require couples to be married or have a relationship that is legally recognized. This is why second-parent adoptions are popular among LGBT couples. The end result is a legally recognized parent. Also, they provide nearly identical rights that all parents/children have.
In any case, the process completes once the welfare workers determine that the couple is able to raise a child in an appropriate living situation.
It’s also important to note that costs, wait times, and programs should be the same for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. However, you could encounter agencies that are not gay-friendly. There are many that consider opposite-sex couples as more important. This is just one example of why you will need to focus a lot on research.
Gay Adoption Laws and Threats
Like we’ve said, even if same-sex adoption is legal in all states, some do not agree with those laws. Their legislators are constantly trying to overturn them. For example, in 2018, many state lawmakers tried to create anti-LGBT bills. States like Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado attempted to limit the rights of LGBT people. But many other states followed. Some examples include new Indiana bills that planned to ban discussions about LGBT challenges in schools. Other states, like Georgia, attempted to permit foster care and adoption agencies to legally discriminate against same-sex parents. Luckily, those efforts were quickly defeated.
However, other bills have become a part of state law. Perhaps the most shocking is SB 1140, which was signed by Oklahoma’s Governor. This law permits foster care and adoption agencies to reject qualified couples according to the religious beliefs of those agencies. Essentially, this enables those agencies to reject same-sex couples and in turn, limit their freedom to adopt. SB 1140 was criticized all across the nation. It serves as an example of what states can do to limit same-sex couples.
Support and Resources
When same-sex couples want to adopt, they should investigate as many resources as possible. As mentioned, legislation and processes can greatly vary by state. Thus, it’s recommended to research the laws in your state and discover their stance on LGBT adoption in great detail.
There are many portals and online articles that can guide you through the process for your state. Moreover, you can consult with experienced adoption professionals. Another road to take would be to contact Human Services and Child Services. And perhaps the most helpful option would be to reach out to other LGBT parents who have successfully adopted a child. They could give you a first-hand account of the process.
Fortunately, it’s much easier to find the right information online nowadays and even get in touch with LGBT communities that could shed more light on the process.
If you are interested in adopting, follow some of our tips before you visit an agency. They will save you some time and resources, and they’ll set you on the right path. Good luck!