Adopting a baby is something many couples consider each year. There are agencies all across the country that work hard to get children of all ages placed in their “forever homes”. As the years pass, gay adoption has become more accepted. Both gay men and women alike are deciding to add to their partnerships and raise a family. According to the 2000 U.S. Census report, 33 percent of same-sex female couples and 22 percent of same-sex male couples had at least one child under 18 living in their household. That report accounted for 65,000 children. In 2012, there are now 110,000 living with same-sex couples, just a little over a 100 percent increase from a decade ago.
When you hear the term “gay adoption,” most people automatically think of two men together, but that is no longer the case. Many same-sex female couples are also interested in raising a family together. Gay adoption now includes men and women, but also anyone else that does not fit the sexual norm, including transgendered people. The entire concept has only been an open issue for the last 50 years or so. Prior to that, homosexuals were perceived poorly, and that prevented any agency from considering placing a child with same-sex parents. Now that being gay has become more widely accepted, adoptions to same-sex homes are occurring more often. It is estimated that half of the adoption agencies in the United States will consider same-sex couples, and two-thirds of them have already placed a child with a same-sex couple in their home.
Acceptance of gay adoption has come a long way over the course of the last few decades. Florida is the only state in which these adoptions are completely forbidden to take place. Mississippi allows single parent adoptions, but does not allow a same-sex parent to adopt alone. In Utah and New Hampshire, a single person cannot adopt at all, their sexuality does not matter. Right now, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C all allow adoptions by same-sex couples. In many states there are slight issues with same-sex couples adopting because they aren’t married. Most states have yet to allow same-sex couples to enter in to a legal marriage, which means that when they apply to adopt a child, they have to fill out more complicated paperwork. This is called joint adoption, or a second parent adoption. The paperwork is more invasive, but the benefits at the end are nearly identical to what married couples enjoy. Many more states are beginning to recognize civil unions, which makes it easier for second parent adoptions to take place. The United States is behind on getting this accepted country-wide, especially because many foreign countries have made gay adoption legal. Sweden, The Netherlands, Spain, England, and Wales have all made it legal for same-sex couples to adopt. Belguim, Iceland, Norway, Germany, and Denmark allow “step-child adoption,” which means that the partner who is not the legal parent can adopt the child if they are in a civil union under the second parent laws.
Gay adoption can leave one parent out in the cold if the relationship fails. It is important that you know how to protect yourself from this issue before it happens. You should be looking into completing a second parent adoption right away. This is the best and most efficient way to ensure your parental rights are intact in every single state. Even if your state is gay-friendly and you have been placed on the birth certificate, you may not be granted any parental rights by the courts. You need to make sure all your ducks are in a row and protect both yourself and your child from being hurt. This is especially important if you are not the “primary” parent. Doing this will protect you, as well as your child from anything that could happen in the future.
As time goes on and things change, there will be new laws and regulations regarding gay adoption. Right now there are different rules in nearly every state, and one state that has completely banned the entire process. Making sure you do your research before starting this process will help you avoid wasting both your time and effort. It is not something that will come easily to same-sex couples, but gay adoption is more accessible now than it has ever been in the United States. The United States Census statistics are showing a direct increase on the number of children living in same-sex homes. It has come a long way in the many years since it was brought to light. As the numbers increase for children being adopted into same-sex homes, the acceptance level will rise as well. For now, gay adoption is possible, but the rules are still a little rough around the edges.