Despite individual state laws and regulations that make it more difficult for gay and lesbian couples to adopt, only Utah and Mississippi prohibit gay and lesbian adoptions, and this New York Times article says that the number of same-sex adoptions rose 11 percent from 2000-2009.
According to the article “about 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in the house in 2009, up from just 8 percent in 2000.”
The article said that there are two big reasons for the rise in same-sex adoptions: “the need for homes for children currently waiting for adoption…and the increased acceptance of gays and lesbians in American society.”
While there is a rise in gay and lesbian adoptions, there are still many obstacles that must be cleared. One large hurdle is the fact that many states do not allow both parents to legally adopt each child. The family featured in the article solves this issue by bringing the children together with custody agreements. However, the article said that custody agreements do not provide full parental rights to each parent, and the two fathers need to keep individual insurance policies for the children they’ve individually adopted.
Gary Gates, who is a demographer at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law at the University of California, Los Angeles, estimates in the article that only 4 percent, or about 65,000 of adopted children have gay or lesbian parents.
While the number is small, it is growing, and recently the Obama administration “noted the bigger role that gays and lesbians can play in adoption” according to the article.
“The child welfare system has come to understand that placing a child in a gay or lesbian family is no greater risk than placing them in a heterosexual family,” Bryan Samuels, the Commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families said in an interview according to the article.
Obviously there is a long way to go for same-sex couples to be fully accepted as adoptive parents, and it is interesting that it took this long for the government to say that a child raised by a same-sex couple is at “no greater risk” than if he was raised by a heterosexual couple. With so many children in need of a loving, caring, and responsible home, it is great to see that more same-sex couples are looking to take on these challenges.