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Can Same-Sex Couples Adopt?

Today’s families are more diverse than ever, especially in the world of adoption — transracial, multicultural, same-sex and single parent families are all often created through adoption.

Same-sex adoption statistics suggest that more and more gay couples are adopting. In fact, same-sex couples are four times more likely to be raising an adopted child and six times more likely to be raising foster children than heterosexual couples. Today, 4 percent of adopted children and 3 percent of foster children are raised by gay and lesbian parents, and 2 million more LGBT individuals are interested in adopting.

Adoption can be a great way for same-sex couples to realize their dreams of parenthood. If you are one of those 2 million LGBT individuals considering adoption, read on to learn more about same-sex adoption laws, the adoption process for gay couples and how American Adoptions can help you grow your family through adoption.

Gay Adoption Laws — Where Can Same-Sex Couples Adopt?

Throughout the history of gay adoption, same-sex couples have often faced barriers to growing their families and have had to fight for gay adoption rights. Fortunately, today there is much more support and acceptance for same-sex marriage and adoption, and all states now allow gay couple adoption.

Mississippi was the last state to pass laws banning LGBT couples from adopting, but a federal judge deemed the law unconstitutional in 2016. Combined with the federal marriage equality ruling in 2015, this court decision now protects the right for gay couples to adopt throughout the United States. However, like opposite-sex couples, there may still be restrictions on adoption laws for gay couples based on marital status, from state to state. Learn more about eligibility requirements to foster or adopt a child in your state.

While gay couples can adopt jointly in all 50 states, some adoption professionals are more LGBT-friendly than others. If you are pursuing adoption for your family, choose an adoption agency like American Adoptions that is open to LGBT parents and has experience in completing same-sex adoptions.

Adoption Process for Gay Couples

In general, the process for same-sex couple adoption is no different than for other parents. At American Adoptions, our costs, programs and wait times are the same for gay and lesbian parents as for heterosexual couples.

Same-Sex Adoption: Pros and Cons

Adoption is a great way for same-sex couples to grow their families, but there are some advantages and challenges of adoption to take into consideration before beginning the adoption process.

In general, LGBT parents enjoy all of the same benefits of adoption as other adopting parents, including:

  • The opportunity to share their lives with a child and experience all of the joys of parenthood

  • The ability to get to know and form special relationships with the child’s birth family

  • The opportunity to raise a child in need of a loving home

In addition, children of same-sex couples may have the added advantage of being more open-minded and sympathetic to differences, and they will enjoy all of the stability and benefits of being raised in a two-parent home.

While the benefits of adoption are clear, gay adoptive parents will likely also face many of the same challenges that heterosexual adoptive parents experience: addressing their children’s racial or cultural identity, managing birth parent relationships in an open adoption, talking to their child about adoption and simply adjusting to parenthood. In addition, there may be some additional considerations for same-sex couples to keep in mind as they begin the adoption process:

  • Gay International Adoption: In general, it is easier for gay and lesbian couples to adopt domestically than internationally. While many same-sex couples have successfully completed international adoptions, several countries still prohibit gay adoption. If you are considering international adoption to grow your family, carefully research countries that allow gay adoption.

  • Gay Adoption Effects on Children: While it has commonly been used as an argument against gay and lesbian adoption, studies have shown that same-sex adoption does not have a negative impact on children. Research shows that children raised by LGBT parents grow up as successfully as children raised by heterosexual parents. In addition, there are no significant differences in the development of gender identity and sexual orientation between children of gay and lesbian parents and children of heterosexual parents, according to gay adoption facts and same-sex adoption statistics

  • LGBT Parenting: While attitudes toward same-sex marriage and adoption are improving, same-sex parents and their children unfortunately may still face prejudice and discrimination from people in their communities. Adoptive parents should be prepared to talk to their children about the many ways families are made and how they can respond to potential negative comments.

As adoption rates for gay couples continue to climb and society continues to be more accepting of different family types, more hopeful parents are choosing to complete their families through same-sex couple adoption.

Resources for Same-Sex Couples Adopting

If you are a member of the LGBT community and are considering adoption, or if you have additional questions about your adoption options, contact one of our experienced adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION. The following resources can also offer additional information and support for gay couples considering adoption:

Thousands of gay and lesbian couples have realized their dreams of parenthood through adoption. When you are ready to start your own adoption journey, American Adoptions can help. Call 1-800-ADOPTION or request free adoption information to get started today.   

Disclaimer
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions accepts a limited number of families into our gender-specific program. Please contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn whether we are currently accepting families into this program. With this option, families pay an additional Gender-Specific Fee to help our agency locate and work with birth mothers meeting this additional criterion. This fee is in addition to other program fees and covers additional advertising. The fee is not considered part of your adoption budget. Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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