January 17, 2018

Introduction to Adoption for LGBT Parents

LGBT adoption is defined as the adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Are LGBT couples eligible to legally adopt children domestically?

United States federal law does not prohibit gays, lesbians, or same-sex couples from becoming adoptive parents. However, some states currently forbid gay and lesbian individuals, as well as same-sex couples, from adopting.

gay adoption

For more information about LGBT adoption on a state-by-state basis, please visit: http://www.hrc.org/issues/parenting/adoptions/adoption_laws.asp

For more information about adoption laws on a state-by-state basis, please visit: http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/state/index.cfm

Which states have allowed LGBT adoptions to take place?

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have granted adoptions (single, joint or second parent) to LGBT individuals or same-sex couples. At the present time, state laws do not address adoption by those who are transgender.

Are LGBT couples eligible to adopt children internationally?

At this time, there are still many countries that forbid gays, lesbians, and same-sex couples from adopting. If you choose to seek out an international adoption, it is advisable to find out the specific laws of the country from which you are seeking to adopt very early in the process. For more information about the laws of specific countries, please visit: http://www.adoption.state.gov/countryinformation.html

What types of adoption are available to LGBT families?

LGBT families may seek to adopt in several different ways:

  • Public Agency Adoptions: This is also known as a foster care adoption. This adoption is ultimately approved by the state’s agent and is finalized by the court after the child has been placed in the home for a certain amount of time.
  • Agency Adoptions: This is an adoption completed with the help of an agency. Before selecting an agency, it is important to make sure that the agency is well equipped and eager to accommodate the special needs of an LGBT family.
  • Independent Adoptions: These adoptions are arranged by the families involved and are facilitated by someone other than an agency or social worker. These adoptions are illegal in many states.
  • International Adoptions: As many countries do not support adoption by LGBT couples, this option can be complicated or even impossible.
  • Open Adoptions: This adoption allows adoptive parents, and frequently the adopted child, to maintain contact with the birth parents.
  • Joint Adoptions: This adoption allows the LGBT couple to file jointly for custody of the child.
  • Second Parent Adoptions: This option allows a second parent to adopt a child without taking any parental rights away from the first parent.

How can you locate an LGBT friendly adoption agency?

As adoption by LGBT families becomes more widespread, many agencies are implementing practices and policies to specifically accommodate the LGBT community. Finding an agency may be tricky depending upon your location, but there are several signs that you can look for when trying to identify the agency that is best suited to assist you in this process.

  • Make inquiries about the agency’s mission statements. Are LGBT families mentioned?
  • Request to see the agency’s non-discrimination statement. Be sure that the terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” are present.
  • Does the agency have advertising aimed at LGBT families?
  • Does the agency’s paperwork include information relevant to LGBT families?
  • Can the agency provide you with references relevant to LGBT adoption?

For a list of agencies that have publically pledged to welcome and support LGBT families, please visit: http://www.hrc.org/issues/parenting/adoptions/13364.htm

Where can you learn more about LGBT adoption in your community?

Your local LGBT community center may offer advice and support groups to aid you throughout the adoption process. You can locate your local LGBT community center by visiting this link: http://resources.lgbtcenters.org/Directory/Find-A-Center.aspx

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