Read these 13 Gay Adoption Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Gay Marriage tips and hundreds of other topics.
Raising an adopted child as a gay couple can be just as beautiful -- and stressful -- as it is for heterosexual couples. If there is one thing every child needs it's love. Keep your focus on a loving environment for your child, even when times are tough. Expressing your love for each other as partners -- through tender acts and physical affection -- is a superior way to show your adopted child that s/he is living in a safe and caring environment. Adoption can be hard on the child, so be sure to relay to him or her that s/he was chosen to be part of your lives together. Giving your adopted child a sense of place will help him/her develop into a happy, healthy, and compassionate member of society.
Although you and your partner may be of the same sex, this has no bearing on how well you can raise an adopted child of either gender. Two men are just as capable of raising a healthy and happy girl child as two women are raising a boy child. However, keep in mind that your child will need gender balance in his/her life for the sole purpose of giving him or her a more well-rounded social education. Particularly if you are raising a child whose gender is different from yours and your partners, you will need to seek out positive role models who share your child's gender. These can come in the form of close friends and family members as well as teachers and community mentors.
It's no secret that gay couples have been adopting children for years. However, now that legislation has passed laws allowing legal adoption by same-sex parents in many states, the need for "secret adoptions" is over. In fact, when it comes to the standard adoption home study, it's best to be as open as possible.
Adoption home studies are an evaluation of your home life and living space. These are done to be sure your future adopted child will have a safe, secure, and happy life with you and your partner. Topics ranging from your financial status to the way you've set up your child's room will be reviewed. Regardless of any stigmas against gay adoption that you may still feel are active in our society, be as honest as you can. This will only improve your chances of being approved.
Adoption for any couple -- same-sex or otherwise -- can be a daunting task to undertake. As a gay couple, you may not even be aware of how to begin. Here's the first step all gay couples should take once they've decided to adopt a child: Do your research. Begin with a simple online search, using the phrase gay adoption , gay adoption + legal rights , or gay adoption laws , putting the words "gay adoption" in quotes for a more accurate return on listings. You can also contact local gay and lesbian community groups for assistance on how to begin your search for a child in need of adoption.
As today's laws stand, there are some states in the nation that allow both single and joint adoption of children by gay couples. You should visit your state's government website to get specific information, but in the meantime, these are the states that allow both single gay parents and gay couples to petition for adoption:
Countries that allow same-sex adoption include England and Wales, the Netherlands, Iceland, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, South Africa, and Andorra. Germany, Israel, Denmark and Norway allow partners in civil unions to adopt the natural or sometimes adopted child of the other partner. France has a law that both same-sex parents have parental rights over the biological child of one partner, reducing the significance of biological parenthood in a sperm donation situation.
In America, California, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington state, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, Vermont and New Mexico allow gay couples to adopt. Likewise, in Canada, adoption laws vary from state to state, but most states have gay adoption rights in some form.
The ACT, Tasmania and Western Australia allow same-sex couple adoption in Australia. Legislation in New Zealand may soon be introduced to allow gay couples to adopt.
The first step when deciding to adopt is to investigate the adoption laws of your state and country. The laws regarding gay and lesbian adoption vary from country to country. Most of Western Europe allowed gay couples to adopt, and many of the states in Canada and the US have laws allowing gay adoption. Only three states in Australia< allow gay adoption.
In the US, some courts have begun to apply a "best interest of the child" idea in deciding cases. Over 22 states have allowed gay and lesbian adoption of children through state-run adoption centres or private adoption agencies.
The next step in the process is to decide whether to go through state agencies or approach a private adoption agency. The state process involves a lot of red tape, but is guaranteed legal in every country.
Private adoption agencies can be expensive and it is important to ensure the adoptions are legal. Similarly, international adoption is possible, but very expensive. Check your country's adoption laws very carefully to ensure that as a gay couple you can bring a child into the country.
Gay couples have adopted children for a very long time through deception, but it is important to be absolutely honest in the adoption process. Assuring a legal adoption will keep your child safe. Even if you are unable to adopt as a same-sex couple, it may be possible for one partner to adopt and the other to have rights to the child as a stepchild. To estimate your chances of getting a gay adoption in your country, look at local gay adoption statistics.
In order for gay couples to best present their case for adoption, they should hire a lawyer with experience in this area. Look for lawyers who have worked on same-sex couple adoptions, as they will be better able to develop a convincing presentation on your behalf. You can search the Internet for ""gay cases + lawyers" or visit the American Bar Association online. In addition, take a look at the National Association of Social Workers and/or the North American Council on Adoptable Children for information on gay adoption as well as lawyers trained in presenting strong cases for same-sex couples.
It is very important when considering gay adoption or considering having children as a gay couple to examine what parental rights each partner has. If one parent dies or is severely incapacitated, it is essential that the other parent has parental rights. Having acted as a parent to the child does not add much weight in law, and if there are others with parental rights to your child, the child may be placed in another's care.
Not all countries allow gay adoption in their gay adoption laws. Bearing this in mind, although the only way to adopt in some countries is for one partner to adopt as a single parent, this can prove disastrous if that partner dies. In such a case, it is important to establish some form of parental rights for both partners from the outset.
Adoption by same-sex couples is not legal in most countries, even those who do offer gay marriage will not necessarily allow gay adoption. Couples should not be completely discouraged, however - as many gay rights support groups note, gay adoption has occurred for decades through single-parent adoption laws.
Couples looking into adoption in a country that does not allow gay adoption should carefully read all adoption legislation for loopholes. Use of such loopholes has resulted in the establishment of adoption laws in several countries as the law is tested.
Couples should always be careful to consult a lawyer before carrying out any plans, in order to ensure the legality of their adoption.
The arguments against gay couples adopting all center on the idea that a child needs a mother and a father to grow up psychologically healthy. There has been no definitive research to show that a child with two loving same-sex parents will be less healthy than a child with two parents of the opposite sex.
Another argument put forward is the idea that a child growing up in a gay household will be more likely to be homosexual themselves. This idea is not based in fact, but is often supported by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child section that states a child has the right to be free of political influence.
While raising a child related to you by blood is a satisfying endeavour, the same sort of love and pride can come from gay adoption. Gay and lesbian couples are in a unique place in culture where the adoption of a child is a regular practice, meaning the adopted children, growing up, will have a solid support system.
The most important reason to adopt is to provide a loving environment for a child to grow up in. Many children around the world have been orphaned or abandoned and need parents.
Before considering adoption, couples should be sure they understand the commitment needed to raise an adopted child. Adoption requires not only emotional but significant financial commitment. Couples considering adoption should also carefully examine the gay adoption laws in their area. As the number of infertile couples wishing to adopt children grows, various illegal practices have emerged that potential parents may not be aware of.
It is important to consider parental rights when adopting a child in case your relationship breaks up. If your relationship ends and you have no legal rights to the child, your partner is under no obligation to grant you access.
In cases where one parent is the biological parent, it is important for the other partner to either formally adopt the child or otherwise establish legal parental rights. If the child has been adopted by only one partner, some countries allow step-parent rights for the other gay partner, however, this does not apply to all countries. Be sure to carefully investigate all laws regarding gay and lesbian adoption in your area.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|