Historically, same-sex couples have faced numerous cultural and legal obstacles when trying to adopt a child. This ignorance and discrimination was in place in some parts of the United States until a mere four years ago; in 2016, Mississippi finally overturned laws banning LGBT adoption. However, many members of the LGBT community have raised successful children in loving, warm and nurturing homes, and more and more get to share their lives and experiences every day with an adopted child.
The Adoption Landscape Now
Now, gay and lesbian couples can adopt a child in all 50 states and many other developed nations, and these LGBT parents make up a significant portion of all adoptive parents in the US. Currently, same-sex couples are about four times more likely to raise an adopted child than heterosexual couples. In addition, research has shown that LGBT parents often make better parents than their heterosexual peers. Same-sex parents rarely become parents on accident, and are thus typically more intentional and motivated in parenting their children. Roughly 13% of same-sex couples are raising an adopted child, compared to just 3% of different-sex parents.
But sadly, there are still many ways that the LGBT community is put at a disadvantage in the adoption process. While they may technically be free to adopt, there is often little to protect LGBT prospective parents from being discriminated against. In 26 states, there is no state statute, regulation, and/or agency policy that prohibits discrimination in adoption based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. The majority of states have no explicit law that keeps the LGBT community from being discriminated against in the adoption process. With this being said, it’s likely that in the nation as a whole gays and lesbians are less likely to be chosen by birth mothers for adoption.
Changes in Adoption
Thankfully, things are swinging in the opposite direction, as the public consciousness is catching up to the research that shows that children raised by gay or lesbian parents become equally well-adjusted as adults as those raised by opposite-sex parents.
When it comes to the difference in the adoption process for gay couples versus lesbian couples, there is little data. Birth mothers may favor one or the other, but it is hard to draw any conclusions given any current data.
Same-sex adoptive parents still often face other obstacles, like personal prejudice from others towards who they are. LGBT folks that may one day adopt — the roughly 2 million in the US — need to be able to have a conversation about others’ prejudice.
The LGBT community is an invaluable resource to the US. To the needy and parentless children that need a home, LGBT parents are just parents — parents that will love for them, care for them and put a roof over their head. Both gay and lesbian couples are equally well-suited for parenthood, and the adoption process should continue to even the playing field for these couples in the form of legal protections.