September 2008, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a study which offers recommendations to increase the number of prospective adoptive parents for children in foster care by utilizing gay and lesbian adoptive homes. Expanding Resources for Waiting Children II: Eliminating Legal & Practice Barriers to Gay & Lesbian Adoption from Foster Care is a 50 page report adding to the 2006 study, Expanding Resources for Waiting Children: Is Adoption by Gays and Lesbians Part of the Answer?.
Children are waiting for permanent homes.
Gay and lesbian families add to the pool of prospective adoptive homes for waiting children.
Various studies have determined that children raised in same-sex families do as well as those raised in traditional families.
There are numerous organizations in favor of same-sex adoptive families.
There is a negative financial component to not allowing gay and lesbian adoptions.
State Law and PolicyKey Discoveries:
If gay and lesbians are not allowed to foster children, States will lose prospective adoptive parents as many foster families adopt the children that they foster.
- Thus, States lessen the number of adoptive resources.
Adoptions by gay and lesbian parents should be recognized across State lines.
The Institute Recommends:
Evaluations based on parenting ability and not sexual orientation.
An end to laws that prevent gays and lesbians from fostering and adopting. This will increase the number of families that may be an appropriate match for waiting children.
Allow children to receive rights and benefits from having two legal parents by States acknowledging both parents in a same-sex relationship.
All states should acknowledge all adoptions issued by other states.
Agency Police and PracticeKey Discoveries:
Each agency views prospective adoptive families in different ways.
New family assessments may need to be developed to better assess gay and lesbian homes.
Training used for traditional families for foster care and adoption may not be adequate in the training of gay and lesbian families for foster care and adoption.
Agencies need to determine if they have workers that are prepared to work with different populations.
The Institute Recommends:
Adoption agencies would do well to make it clearly known that they welcome all types of prospective adoptive families.
Issues of sexual orientation should be addressed in the assessment process. The agency should provide the gay and lesbian couple the opportunity to consider the impact adoption will have on different issues within their family.
Training programs used by agencies need to be explored to see if they meet the needs for gay and lesbian families.
Agencies need to create an atmosphere of diversity by hiring social workers, supervisors, and others who can bring a wealth of information and life experience to the agency. Agencies should also train staff to develop further skills in this area.