As of March 2016, same sex adoption is legal in all 50 states. The final state to legalise LGBT adoption was Mississippi after a federal judge ruled that the ban was unconstitutional. A statistic in 2013 showed that an estimated 16,000 same sex couples were caring for over 22,000 adopted children. Now that same-sex adoption is universally legal across the United States, this statistic will only rise.
In this article, we’ll be providing some tips for same-sex couples on preparing for adoption.
Consider All Your Options:
There are a number of different options to consider when first deciding to adopt, primarily, which adoption method will you pursue? The two main options to choose from for domestic adoptions are Private Domestic Agencies and Public Domestic Agencies.
Whilst both types of agency fundamentally do the same things, there are a few key differences to note. Firstly, public agencies are significantly cheaper with the whole adoption process costing anywhere from $0 – $2500, whereas private agencies can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000+.
Public agencies also typically place children that are in the foster care system, meaning they are likely older and many have special needs. Private adoption agencies typically seek to place new-borns, but both agencies can place children aged 0-17.
Look For Agencies That Are LGBT Friendly:
Whilst all states now legally allow same-sex adoption, that doesn’t mean that all agencies are gay-friendly. If possible try to find out an agencies previous experience working with LGBT couples. These are a few ways you can go about checking if an agency is gay-friendly:
- Ask them directly, there’s no harm in asking prospective agencies for examples of them working with same-sex couples previously.
- Check the mission statement of the agency. Often there will be an anti-discrimination clause regarding same-sex adoption.
- Check the agencies literature if they have any. Do brochures use any imagery of same-sex couples?
- Word of mouth – talk to other couples in the LGBT community who have successfully adopted and find out the agencies that they recommend.
Ensure You Have A Support Network:
This tip goes for all families looking to adopt a child; adoption and raising a child can be tough and a good support network is recommended for any family. Whilst you may not think you need a support network, situations will occasionally arise where you will.
Your first choice for support should be with close friends and family, but other options include paid nannies, day-care providers and adoption therapists that will make the job of being parents to an adopted child significantly easier.
We also recommend connecting with local support groups, these are often run by local agencies and LGBT advocacy groups, here you will find plenty of others in a similar situation to your own.