According to a study completed by Pew Research, in March 2006, public acceptance of gay adoption has risen from 38% in 1999 to 46% at the time the study was conducted. Those interested in gay adoption still face many hurdles, however.
Supporters of gay adoption are becoming more vocal. They state many reasons for removing the stigma of adoption by homosexuals, including the following:
- There isn't any research to substantiate the claim that gay and lesbian people can't be good parents.
- Homosexuals can provide a loving, nurturing environment to a child in need of a home.
- Homosexuals may be just as educated and financially secure as heterosexuals.
Child Welfare League of America
Rob Woronoff, a director at the Child Welfare League of America made the following statement in support of gay parents adopting: The CWLA supports the case by case placement of children in qualified adoptive homes, and those homes can include gay men and lesbians.
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is another strong supporter of gay parents adopting. This institute continues to campaign for more homosexual adoption friendly laws and legislation. Their Website proclaims the following: Every child deserves to live in a permanent, loving home…'
The following is a list of their public findings on this topic:
- Against a backdrop of increasing public acceptance, social science research concludes that children reared by gay and lesbian parents fare comparably to those of children raised by heterosexuals on a range of measures of social and psychological adjustment.
- Studies are increasing in number and rigor, but the body of research on gay/lesbian parents is relatively small and has methodological limitations. Still, virtually every valid study reaches the same conclusion: The children of gays and lesbians adjust positively and their families function well. The limited research on gay/lesbian adoption points in the same direction.
- Though few states have laws or policies explicitly barring homosexuals from adopting, some individual agencies and workers outside those states discriminate against gay and lesbian applicants based on their own biases or on mistaken beliefs that such prohibitions exist.
- Laws and policies that preclude adoption by gay or lesbian parents disadvantage the tens of thousands of children mired in the foster care system who need permanent, loving homes.
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association has issued the following official statement as well: On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.
Gay Adoption Stigmas
For many, the topic of gay parents adopting is a sensitive one. Those unfamiliar with research studies and the results of those studies often jump to conclusions based on common stereotypes. Of course, there are issues which surround this topic, and they must be addressed. But, supporters of gay adoption believe that these issues aren't any more prevalent or debilitating than many other issues that parents, both homosexual and heterosexual, face in society today. Common stigmas regarding adoption by gay men and lesbians include the following:
- Gender Confusion-Many believe that the children of gay parents will be confused as to their own gender roles. Evidence doesn't support this statement.
- Sexual Identity -Others feel that children raised by gay parents will develop confusion as to their own sexual orientation. Again, this is not supported by any concrete research.
- Relationship Problems-People also suppose that the child of a homosexual will have difficulty developing and maintaining social relationships throughout his or her own life.
Sexual Abuse-Finally, one of the most frightening stigmas regarding gay adoption is that a child is more likely to be sexually abused by his or her parent. There is no evidence to support this fear.
How To Adopt
If you are interested in adoption, you'll need to become familiar with your state's guidelines. Talk to other gay people who have successfully adopted, find a support group in your area or online, and speak to several adoption agencies. The following Websites will help you get started.