Until recently, the adoption process for homosexual couples has not been easy. In fact, same-sex adoption has only taken shape over the last 40 years, but it really became more common over the past 20. Since it was illegal for members of the gay community to marry until 2015, it was also illegal for LGBTQ people to adopt. In the 80s and 90s, members of the LGBTQ community often turned to fertility services in order to have children. However, gay adoption did not become officially legal until much later. The right for LGBTQ members to adopt started at a state level in 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay adoption. Eventually, many other states passed laws enabling this, and in 2015 when gay marriage was legalized, many of the remaining barriers were broken down.
The Remaining Challenges:
Today, while gay adoption is finally accepted by law in America, the stigma that the LGBTQ community faces is still very prevalent in the culture of its citizens. Some private agencies still discriminate against the gay community by setting up a hierarchy of preferred individuals based on age, race, and sexual orientation. Some birth parents in independent adoptions refuse same-sex couples because of their sexual orientation. Finally, it is harder for gay couples to adopt internationally as gay adoption is banned in many countries. However, LGBTQ adoption has become significantly more accepted in recent years.
The Good News:
The stigmatization of LGBTQ adoption is becoming much less prevalent as more birth parents are choosing same-sex couples and many agencies are becoming much more accepting. Agencies like Adoption Choices, make it their mission to place children in loving homes and do not discriminate against the sexual orientation of adoptive parents. Many states are continuing to create new laws to help protect gay adoption. Recently, the state of Mississippi overturned a law banning gay adoptions. New councils have been created to help members of the LGBTQ community connect with the resources they need in order to adopt. New research has indicated that the long-standing misconception that same-sex adoption has negative impacts on the adoptees is actually false. The adopted children of homosexual families succeed just as much as adopted children of heterosexual families. As more barriers are broken down, LGBTQ adoption is becoming more and more accepted in society.
In the American foster care system alone there are over 400,000 children. Half of those children are eligible for adoption. Worldwide there are over 18 million children that are living in orphanages or homeless shelters that are seeking adoption. This does not include yearly statistics of the women who go through unwanted pregnancies and place their child for adoption. Of these incredible numbers, only 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year. With all of these children needing loving homes, it is now more than ever of utmost importance to put stigmas aside and allow members of the LGBTQ community, who are desiring to create families, to help give these children the families that they deserve.
While it has been a long road for acceptance, gay adoption is finally becoming more prevalent in America. Adoption is a beautiful way to create a family and LGBTQ adoption is a wonderful route to starting a family. There are many children in the world who need loving homes and there are many gay couples looking to expand their family. Ultimately, adoption is a great way to start a family and no prospective parent just be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
About the children. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://www.adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/children-in-foster-care/about-the-children.
Adoption Statistics. (2019). Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://adoptionnetwork.com/adoption-statistics.
American Adoptions, Inc. (2019). “What does adoption mean to a child?” Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://www.americanadoptions.com/adopt/LGBTQ_adoption.
Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.). Adoption Options Overview. Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://www.hrc.org/resources/adoption-options-overview.
What to know about the history of same-sex adoption. (n.d.). Retrieved April, 10, 2019, fromhttps://consideringadoption.com/adopting/can-same-sex-couples-adopt/history-of-same-sex-adoption.
Julianna McKenna is a college student at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana double majoring in English Writing and Psychology. She is passionate about adoption and foster care and is considering a career in adoption law or counseling. In January 2019, Julianna became an intern for the Adoption Choices Inc., team. She is incredibly dedicated to promoting children’s rights and is excited to research and advocate for children.