As we get ready to celebrate Pride Month, it’s not only important to recognize those in the LGTBQ community, but to understand equality in adoption. We know that the LGTBQ+ community, now more often referred to as LGTBQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, and asexual) have struggled to adopt legally.
In fact, it wasn’t until 1968 that Bill Jones became the first single man that identified as homosexual to adopt a child and it wasn’t until 1979, when John Kuiper, a reverend of the Metropolitan Community Church, and his husband, became the first gay men in America to win the right to adopt. Still, following this time, it was more common for a spouse or partner to adopt another’s biological child. In Alaska, a woman had to go to court in order to adopt her child’s partner in 1985. It took 12 years before New Jersey made it legal for same-sex couples to adopt together. It wasn’t until 2016 that it was legal for same-sex couples to adopt in all states.
LGTBQ+ adoptions haven’t always been as common to discuss and same-sex adoption has a very short history. According to consideringadoption.com, it wasn’t because gay and lesbian couples and individuals didn’t want to adopt, but because it was rare for people to discuss homosexuality at all. In the 1970’s to 1980’s, the gay rights movement escalated. Before that, it wasn’t just “frowned upon” for same-sex couples and gay individuals to adopt, but in most cases, it was illegal. And, in many instances, because of their desire to parent, those that were a part of the LGTBQ+ community, sometimes were in heterosexual relationships to have children or sought fertility treatment and a sperm donor or surrogate. Now, the ability to adopt is more accessible for anyone on the gender and LGTBQ+ spectrum. Though some are in jeopardy as we post this blog, federal laws have made it legal for those in same-sex marriages to adopt children both domestically and internationally.
Though many people argue that it is more likely for a heterosexual couple to seek adoption than a same-sex couple, the data doesn’t indicate that. According to census.gov, in 2020, nearly 15% of the approximately 1.1 million same-sex couples in the United States had children in their home, “compared to the 37.8% of opposite sex couples.” In fact, it is noted on the website that “same-sex couples are four times more likely than opposite-sex couples to have adopted children or stepchildren.” Furthermore, census.gov explains that same-sex couples were 3.1% more likely to adopt a child and state “in fact, 20.9% of same-sex couples with children had adopted children; the same was true for 2.9% of opposite sex couples with children.”
Like any other person, the process is the same for adoption and Adoption Choice Inc., is a great starting point to find out what steps you need to take should you be interested in adopting. However, some religious agencies may not be in the business of supporting same sex adoptions based on their views, there are countless places that offer support. There may be some discrimination based on your location and the ACLU has a very informative map that indicates where states support same sex couples seeking joint or second parent adoptions.
Pride Month, formerly called Gay Pride Month, is celebrated all of June and recognizes and commemorates LGTBQ+ pride. It began after the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and is celebrated not only in the United States, but other countries as well. The Stonewall Riots or Stonewall Uprising was the catalyst for change in the gay rights movement. Following the raid of a Greenwich Village gay club, the Stonewall Inn in the early morning of June 28, 1969, six days of violent incidents and protests spread throughout New York City.
Pride month is celebrated in many ways from parades to concerts, parties, and in workshops. Many companies and individuals take this time to learn about the challenges that have long faced the LGTBQ+ community and what allies can do to support. This is a great opportunity for those who identify as a member of the community to celebrate with their adopted children to share their history and culture. Additionally, check with your adoption agency as many adoption workers also take this time to share the history of same-sex adoption as well as to share information about policies and legislation that could take away this newly founded right.
If you’re interested in adopting, contact Adoption Choice, Inc. for more information and how to start the process.