by Chad Allison
When the topic of gay adoption is brought up, it is most
often referred to negatively. I have researched this topic
through various resources and compiled this paper to show
you the positive aspects of gay adoption that most people
refuse to notice at a first glance. Many people are simply
too closed minded to grasp the fact that gay adoption could
actually be very beneficial to our culture.
There are many things working against gay couples when they
try to adopt a child. Not only do same sex couples normally
have a more difficult time during the adoption process, but
in many cases are also subject to discrimination . A lot of
people are too ignorant to look at the numerous pros of “gays”
raising a child together. This paper will communicate the
difficulties of becoming a gay adoptive parent as well as
the positive aspects of gay parenting.
Even in these more open minded times, there are still highly
discriminatory laws in most states that are reluctant to allow
gay couples to adopt children. Even still there are a growing
number of households with gay and lesbian parents. It was
estimated that between 6 and 14 million children have a gay
or lesbian parents in 1990. Between 8 and 10 million children
are being raised in gay and lesbian households (craft, 2005).
Recently, when the American Association of Pediatricians gave
its public support of gay couple adoptions, many of the members
got angry. Some even left the organization, stating that the
support should be immediately withdrawn. Dr. Smart Cohen,
an AAP district official, said, “The academy is not
asking its members to promote gay adoptions, but rather to
be tolerant of alternative lifestyles that can provide children
with a stable home" (Silverman, 2002). There is no evidence
to suggest that the children of lesbian and gay parents are
less intelligent, suffer from more problems, are less popular,
or have lower self-esteem than children of heterosexual parents
(Gay adoption debate and poll, 2005).
The AAP organization has stated it simply wishes its membership
to acknowledge the "professional literature regarding
gay and lesbian parents" (Silverman, 2002) and to understand
that gay couples can offer adopted children loving and happy
The organization also supports the right for both parents
to adopt the child, which means that if something happened
to one parent the other would be sure to retain custody of
the child. These policies would also ensure that the child
was eligible for health benefits from either parent.
Those who oppose the rights to gay couples adopting children
claim, "The ideal is for children to be born into a home
where there is a mother and a father. I know in reality that
this isn't always possible, but I think the AAP should be
encouraging and teaching that ideal. In cases of adoption,
there are many heterosexual married couples that are willing
to adopt" (Silverman, 2002). The AAP still realizes it
is not taking a popular stance on the controversial subject
yet they still maintain that a child can grow up healthy and
happy in an adoptive home headed by same-sex parents.
In Florida, a state that bans adoptions by gay couples, two
gay men who have five foster children had been fighting to
adopt one of their foster children who had been termed unadoptable
because he was HIV positive.
Now that the child is no longer testing positive for HIV he
is considered adoptable. The State of Florida continues to
search for an eligible couple to adopt the boy. It was this
case that inspired Rosie O'Donnell, she says, "to come
out" and to fight for the right for same-sex couples
to adopt children (Parker, 2002).
Diane Sawyer interviewed the couple to publicize the trauma
the family was going through. While these two men never set
out to become adoptive parents, after fostering five unadoptable
children that had the HIV virus, they have become loving parents
and are doing everything they can to promote legislation allowing
gays to adopt children (Parker, 2002).
Mark Woodland and his life-partner David Blum are the parents
of Ashley and 3-year-old Scott. Both men are in their forties.
"I always loved kids and the idea of nurturing children,"
Blum said. "It didn't occur to me that ... sexual orientation
and having children were mutually exclusive" (Dubin,
In some states adoption is mutually exclusive against gay
couples. Just one generation ago gays never attempted to adopt
children because it was just unheard of, much less ever likely
to become a possibility. But today, according to Mark Woodland,
when he and his partner were allowed to adopt their children
his mother threw a big party at her country club. A woman,
a friend of Woodland's mother, came up to the gay couple and
congratulated them both and with tears in her eyes said that
this gave her hope that one day her son would be allowed to
adopt. Woodland's mother and her friend had never discussed
that they both had gay sons.
While our culture is changing, for many gay couples these
necessary changes are not coming fast enough. There are more
organizations now lobbying to change legislation banning same-sex
adoptions. Rainbow Families in Minneapolis started with 100
parents and 50 children in 1995. They have now grown to 750
parents and 350 children. Another gay rights organization,
Philadelphia Family Pride, organized in 1993 with "several
lesbian parents sharing stories and support in a living room.
Today, the group has 150 area families with about a dozen
headed by men" (Dubin, 2002).
According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the number
of gay-friendly adoption agencies has grown from 20 to more
than 130. Pennsylvania is a state that has several active
gay-friendly adoption agencies. These agencies report that
same-sex couples now make up nearly ten percent of their clientele
(Dubin, 2002). For those gay couples that have successfully
been allowed to adopt children, they find that "Being
a parent transcends being gay" (Dubin, 2002). They receive
support at work, parenting organizations and from neighbors.
Many gay couples will admit that adopting the child is only
the beginning of the battle. But for those lucky enough to
have adopted children, they are able to work out any potential
problems that might arise and work together to make the home
a happy and loving one. Hopefully it won't be long before
more people can wake up and see the light and understand that
being gay does not mean one can't be a good parent.
Dubin, Murray (2002, April). More Gay Couples Opt to Adopt:
Relishing the joys of
parenthood. Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, K1045.
Hunter, Nan D. (1991, October). Sexual dissent and the family.
The Nation, 253(11),
Nhu, T. T. (2002, April). Thousands of Gay Men Deciding to
Become Fathers. Knight-
Ridder/Tribune News Service, K1081.
Parker, Ray (2002, April). Fighting to Keep a Family. The
Silverman, Jennifer (2002, June). American Association of
Pediatritions Stand on Gay
Adoptions. Pediatric News, 36(6), 1(2).
How Many Children Have Gay Parents in the US by Carrie Craft.
(2005). Retrieved April
15, 2005 from http://adoption.about.com/od/gaylesbian/f/gayparents.htm.
Gay Adoption Debate and Poll (2005). Retrieved April 15,
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