How same Sex Couples Face Adoption Hurdles

Same-Sex couples face hurdles in every aspect of adoption, from the decision to adopt to begin with, all the way through the successfully adopted child’s life. As with ANY couple adopting, there are a number of decisions to be made from the get-go: Domestically or internationally, how old the child, are you willing to adopt a child with disabilities, do you want an open adoption (where the parent is willing to be known), etc.

Depending on the country or state of residence, couples may or may not be able to adopt domestically.

In Canada, same-sex couples are afforded the same rights as married couples, and are therefore able to adopt.

Only one American state, Florida, bans same-sex adoption entirely. However, while other states and agencies do not have official policies, many will make it extremely difficult for same-sex couples to adopt as a couple. Therefore, many couples decide to do “second parent adoption”, where one person adopts from the agency, and the other adopts afterward. This is an expensive inconvenience to an already expensive process, given the extra legal fees involved.

Internationally, the couple will likely have to adopt as a single parent. Cultural standards vary, but for the most part, one of the couple will have to try to adopt as a single parent (difficult if you are relying on a dual income). Further, parental rights are imperative for BOTH parents. The other half of the couple will have to adopt the child as soon as possible upon return to their home country. Otherwise, during an emergency situation, the “secondary” parent can be denied access or parental privilege.

If the couple elects to try domestic adoption, there are more decisions to make. If the age, race, and abilities (or disabilities) of the child do not matter, chances are better for a reasonably quick and successful process. If, like many families, the couple wants a young child that will look at least somewhat similar to them, problems arise. Is interracial adoption to a gay or lesbian family too much “otherness” for one child to bear? This is an important question for any family to address. Older children can also have behavioral problems stemming from a life of foster care. Is the couple or family strong enough to adopt a challenging child?

If you want an infant, it is possible that the child’s biological mother will have to ‘pick’ you from a list of candidates. This is frustrating for same-sex couples, as few women giving up their children voluntarily will pick a homosexual couple over heterosexual.

There are significant barriers to same-sex adoption rights, but it is possible. Many children have found stable adoptive homes in this way, and many will for years to come.