Any type of family unit considering adoption has a lot to think about, including their level of preparedness, how the family will be affected, cost, location, and so on, but LGBT families find themselves under more scrutiny. While same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United States, certain states may have more restrictive adoption policies for LGBT couples. Make sure that you’ve looked into what your state requires and any policies that they have in place so that you’re prepared, and decide what professional assistance you might benefit from.

Common to All The adoption process itself is already a fairly long and thorough one, regardless of who the adoptive parents are. The first step is to learn about what the process entails, and make sure that you’re willing and able to meet the requirements. The home study process, a well-documented part of the process, for example, is common to all adoptions. While it takes 3-6 months to complete, it is a thorough way to vet families and make sure that they are good matches with the potential child. An official will come to your house, check it for suitability (there is no hard and fast rule of what you need to have--the key is that you’re prepared, thoughtful, and ready for a child), and ask you questions. They will also do a criminal background check, interview family members, compile healthcare records, and other things to create a profile of your family to ensure that a good match is made between you and the child. Also be prepared for the wait: while adoptions don’t have to take years, they can. Making sure that there is a good match between the child and the adoptive family--or the birth mother and the adoptive family--takes time, and won’t happen immediately. Meeting the birth mother can be a good step to ensure that you’re right for each other. Policies and Agencies Finding an adoption professional that is working with you will help to navigate some of the trickier policies that exist for LGBT couples. LGBT adoption can face a different set of struggles than a heterosexual couple. It’s a good idea to research carefully and find a professional that will support you and your goals--reading reviews, asking LGBT friends who have been through the process for recommendations, and asking questions will assist you in locating that perfect person. It is important to ask the adoption professional about how they present LGBT families to birth mothers, or how they are prepared to work with local/state policies to make the process as smooth as possible. Being open and honest throughout the entire process keeps you, the adoption professional, and the birth mother on the same page and builds trust and comfortability. Building the birth adoption plan is also crucial to make sure you remain on the same page throughout and up until the actual birth. Finalizing the adoption is an exciting moment, so work closely with your attorney to ensure that the documentation is done and filed--but you are not quite done yet. Lastly, you have the court hearing, where the judge decides whether or not they will recognize--legally--the adoption. The best tip for LGBT adoption is to know your rights. This can only happen with quite a bit of research on your part, so take the time to learn what is legal in your state and be prepared to defend those rights when necessary.