There is always a lot of controversy and different opinions that get riled up when talking about LGBT couples and singles adopting. Although society does form their own opinions, statistics show we have made a huge jump in progress from where our country was decades ago in allowing LGBT couples to adopt. Did you know that every state except Florida permits SINGLE gay and lesbian parents to adopt? And although the other states permit the LGBT community to adopt as singles, many of those same states ban LGBT couples from adopting. Confusing right? In this article, we hope to better clarify the different state-to-state laws and demonstrate the progress we have made as a nation opening up the world of adoption to the LGBT community.
The Change of Laws from Past to Present
Historically, gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual persons have been marginalized and punished by the judicial systems for expressing their sexuality. Within the past several decades, there has been a global movement toward greater visibility and increased civil rights for those considered sexual minorities. One of the most controversial issues around gay and lesbian parenthood has been the fight for equal adoption rights. Did you know in the past decade the number of LGBT individuals adopting children has nearly TRIPLED?
Statistics and Facts about LGBT Adoption and Parenting
Lesbian and Gay Parenting, a publication of the American Psychological Association (APA) reports that there is no credible research suggesting that lesbians or gay men are any less adept at parenting than heterosexuals. Research studies from the APA’s 2004 Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation, Parents and Children reported that lesbians and gay men may have superior parenting skills to their matched heterosexual peers, and that they are just as likely as non-homosexual parents to meet the emotional, physical, and psychological needs of their children. So why does a large portion of a society frown upon LGBT couples parenting? The beliefs held generally in society about the LGBT community and parenthood are often not based in personal experience but are frequently culturally transmitted based on stereotypes of what a family should look like.
Below are just a few more positive facts about LGBT adoptions and parenting taken from http://gayadoption.org/facts-supporting-gay-adoption/
- Approximately 2 million LGBT people are interested in adopting.
- An estimated 65k adopted children are living with same sex / gay parents.
- LGBT adoptive parents represent 1 in 6 single parents raising children.
- There are 5 states that represent the top percentages of LGBT parents
- Washington DC: 28.6%,
- Massachusetts 16.4%,
- California 9.8%
- New Mexico 9%,
- Alaska 8.6%.
- LGBT are raising 4% of all adopted children in the United States.
- Gays and Lesbians adopt at a slightly higher rate than married heterosexual couples. The racial/ethnic breakdown of children adopting by same-sex couples is 53% White, 14% African-American, 18% Hispanic/Latino, and 11% Asian/Pacific Islander.
- Gallup poll from May 2014 found 63% of respondents believed same-sex couples should have the legal right to adopt a child!
Different Types of LGBT adoption
Joint LGBT Adoption
69% of the LGBT population lives in states where LGBT parents can petition for joint adoption statewide. A joint adoption is when a LGBT couple adopts a child who was not previously the legal child of either member of the couple. After the adoption, the child has two legal parents. Joint adoptions by LGBT couples are tied to whether the couple has a legal status like a civil union or marriage.
Second Parent/ Stepparent Adoption
Second parent adoption, also known as co-parent adoptions, refer to a legal process in which a child who is already the child of one member of an unmarried LGBT couple is adopted either through a joint petition by both members of the couple or through an individual petition by the member of the couple who is not yet the child’s parent. After the adoption, the child has two legal parents.
Courts allow the same principles to apply to same-sex couples: just as in a stepparent adoption, the non-legal parent would petition to be a parent, and when that petition was granted, the child had two legal parents — the birth parent or initial adoptive parent, and the second adopting parent.
Getting support from a group of like-minded individuals can be very beneficial for same-sex couples looking to adopt. The adoption process and post-adoption placement can be overwhelming. Having a support system made up of individuals who have been through the process before can be very helpful. You can check for support groups run by local adoption agencies, LGBT advocacy groups, and fertility clinics. Support groups and events for your children when they get older can also be very beneficial. You should also consider joining a support group that includes same-sex couples with children so that your child knows that he or she is not the only one who has two moms or two dads and has other families to identify with.
To view a complete list of organizations providing social activities, meeting groups, events and gatherings for LGBT parents and children click here. http://www.gayparentmag.com/support-groups
See below for just a few of the many organizations that are working hard to end discrimination against LGBT marriage and adoption all together.
- Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.glad.org
- Human Rights CampaignPhone Number: (202) 628-4160
- Website: http://www.hrc.org
Last Minute Thought
Just keep in mind, whether you are a member of the LGBT who is looking to adopt or an expecting parent looking for that “perfect” family, there are not statistics out there that show that LGBT parents are any less suited to parent that their heterosexual counterparts. Sexual orientation does not affect one’s ability to parent.
Looking to adopt? Read more about some of our LGBT singles and couples that are waiting to adopt, check out our website where you can read more into their profile books and learn about their journey and how they ended up deciding to adopt. www.afth.org/meet-our-families