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Gay Adoption

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 Some even left the organization, stating that the support should be immediately withdrawn.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 family homes.

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, 2002).

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 Advocate, 20(1).

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

Gay Adoption Debate and Poll (2005). Retrieved April 15, 2005 from

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