Same-Sex Adoptions * General Overview


Posted over 4 years ago. 3 helpful votes



First question...

Is whether adoption is right for you. Here is where the choices begin when considering the best way to go about adding to your family. * Know the adoption options for a gay family. * Remember that timing is important when adding to your family. * What needs can you meet? Spend time thinking about the age of child that would fit best into your family. * Knowing what the term special needs adoption means and whether a special needs child would fit into your family. * Know that adoption costs vary due to, for example, agency and lawyer fees, travel costs and birth family needs. * Read up on some pros and cons to international and domestic adoption. * Learn about foster care adoption. Foster care adoption is a great option and there are thousands of children waiting for homes.


Options * Agency adoptions

Public Agency Adoptions: This is also known as a foster care adoption. The outcome of whether an adoption is finalized with this route is solely left to the attitudes of the state and the agency as each state decides who can adopt. The court will make their decision based on what they think is in the best interest of the child in question. This is of course extremely subjective. Agency Adoptions: These adoptions are completed with the help of an adoption agency. Again, each adoption agency may hold different policies regarding working with gay or lesbian individuals. International Adoptions: This option is complicated as it means finding an agency willing to work with a gay or lesbian couple and a foreign country willing to place a child in an alternative family. Many countries are not as accepting of gay and lesbian adoptions. Some countries are making these decisions based on their cultural standards and again, what they feel is in the best interest of their children.


Options * non-agency

Independent Adoptions: These adoptions are facilitated by someone other than an agency or social worker. This could mean an attorney or physician. These adoptions are illegal in many states. With these adoptions the placement is left up to the families involved. Again honesty regarding who you are is important. Open Adoptions: Most of the above adoption options would be conducive with the choice of an open adoption. Open adoptions means a level of contact with birth family. Open adoptions are also usually in the best interest of the child. Consider an open adoption during your adoption research. Second Parent Adoptions: It's also important for the gay and lesbian family to be aware of second parent adoptions and whether they are legal in your area. This option allows the child to have two legal guardians. This option is typically used by a couple where one partner is the natural parent.


The Adoption Home Study & Gay Adoption

The adoption home study is one of the first hurdles in the adoption process. In the past, and perhaps in some areas of the country still today, gay couples have lied in order to adopt. Usually with one partner adopting and the other pretending to be a roommate or a friend. But it is necessary to realize the importance of honesty when adopting. It is legal to omit information, it is not legal to lie when asked a specific question. Lying in this instance is considered fraud and may be cause for an adoption to not occur or for an already established placement to disrupt. The adoption home study is a detailed written report of your family compiled and prepared by a social worker. This can take three to six months to finish. The adoption home study requires the prospective adoptive family to gather different documents, answer several questions, and explore their reasons for adopting. Through a series of visits and interviews the social worker can get a complete picture of who you are.


Other information #1

Autobiography/Family Background - Some states or agencies have a social worker working very closely with the family to finish this part of the home study, while others have a detailed list of questions that the agency wants answered. These questions are typically about your family, past and present; how you feel about discipline, your fondest childhood memory, or your greatest fears. We enjoyed this process as we learned so much about ourselves and each other. Neighborhood/Community/Schools - Be prepared to describe your environment. What is your school system like? Which schools will your child/ren attend? Do you have a relationship with your neighbors? What resources does your community offer to help you parent? Physical Health - You may need a physical or health exam. The social worker will also be interested in hearing how you have any health issues under control. Be prepared to explain how these health issues will or will not effect your ability to care for your child.


Other information #2

Financial Statements - You must be able to show that you can care for an additional person(s) with your current income. Be prepared to verify your income with paycheck stubs, W-4, or income tax forms. You may also need to show information on your savings, insurance coverage, investments and debts. There may be a worksheet to fill out that covers your bills, such as mortgage, rent, car payments, and charge accounts. Criminal Clearances - Most states require by law criminal record and child abuse record checks. Misdemeanors from long ago along with a good explanation of your behavior are usually not held against you. Felony convictions of any charge involving children or illegal substances will most likely not be allowed. References - You will need the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three or four references. Some agencies will contact by phone, others will require that your references write a letter of recommendation. Choose people who know you in a family context.


Foreign Countries

A same-sex couple in WA who successfully adopted a child in the US found doors closed to adoptions from foreign countries. In their own words; "there are currently no foreign countries allowing same sex couples from the US to adopt. China, in fact, has stopped allowing single parent adoptions because of the number of gay couples lying their way into adopting a child. That is not to say it would not be possible to adopt in a unique situation, but from my research, gay couples should not waste their time or money with the false hope that foreign adoption is a real possibility."


Final thoughts

It is more common for one partner to adopt and then for the second to apply as the second parent, or co-parent. Second parent adoptions creates a second legally recognized parent for the adoptive children. This is the only way for gay couples to both become legal parents of their children. Second parent adoptions have been granted by the courts in twenty-one states as well as D.C. See the list below. After the adoption is final or when your first foster care placement moves goes on. All families need support from family and friends. Some gay couples find that their parents, who may at one time have been upset when they came out, come back around when grandchildren enter the picture. Hopefully you have lots of support. Check out these references for more information.

Additional Resources

Where is same-sex adoption legal

Adoption Open - support resources

Families Like Ours

Family Equality Council

Amara Parenting

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