Open Adoption & Family Services has welcomed same sex prospective adoptive parents into our infant adoption program since we opened our doors in 1985. OA&FS is on the cutting edge of offering progressive and inclusive open adoption services. In 2008, OA&FS was recognized by the Pride Foundation for strengthening and serving the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Additionally, OA&FS was a significant contributor to All Children – All Families, an initiative launched by the Human Rights Campaign to develop Promising Practices in Adoption and Foster Care, a Comprehensive Guide to Policies and Practices that Welcome, Affirm and Support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Foster and Adoptive Parents. We were also included in the Transition to Adoptive Parenthood Project, a longitudinal study focused on the transition to adoptive parenthood among same sex couples and heterosexual couples. Abbie E. Goldberg and Katerine R. Allen have subsequently written a book based on this study, "Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children". This book additionally surveys many relevant studies on the topic of gay and lesbian parenting.
Approximately 25% of the adoptive placements at OA&FS are with same sex families. Typically, our pool of prospective adoptive parents is comprised of 35% same-sex families. These families come to OA&FS from throughout the United States.
Dan Savage, syndicated columnist, author, and regular contributor to NPR’s This American Life, is an OA&FS adoptive father and active advocate of our agency. To get a firsthand account of adopting through OA&FS as a same sex family, check out his book The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant. This book chronicles Dan and his husband Terry’s experience adopting through our agency.
Facts About Same Sex Parenting
Numerous well-respected authorities agree that children of same-sex parents are as healthy, happy and well-adjusted as their peers raised by heterosexual parents:
- On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association (APA) and other health professional and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish. (APA policy resolution, June 2012.)
- Based on more than three decades of social science research and our 85 years of service to millions of families, CWLA believes that families with LGBTQ members deserve the same levels of support afforded other families. Any attempt to preclude or prevent gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals or couples from parenting, based solely on their sexual orientation, is not in the best interest of children. (Child Welfare League Position Statement on Parenting of Children by Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults, 2003.)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s leading pediatric authority with 57,000 members, says that children who grow up with gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social and sexual functioning as children with straight parents.
- The National Association of Social Workers, with nearly 150,000 members, agrees that research on gay and lesbian parenting shows a total absence of pathological findings in their children.
- The Human Rights Campaign has compiled positions on LGBT parenting from numerous professional organizations. They say "The prevailing professional opinion is that a parent's sexual orientation has nothing to do with his or her ability to be a good parent. The nation's leading child welfare, psychological and children's health organizations also have issued policy or position statements declaring that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child.".
- In Abbie Goldberg's book "Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children", she dispels the notion that children who are raised by gay and lesbian parents are more likely to be bullied. “Vanfraussen, Ponjaert-Kristoffersen and Brewaeys (2002) compared school-aged children from 24 intentional lesbian-mother households with children from 24 heterosexual-parent families and found no differences in the rates of teasing between the two groups.”
- 25 years of social science research concludes that children raised by such parents fare well when compared to those raised by heterosexuals. Studies on lesbian parenting and the few extant studies on gay parenting have found that their children are not disadvantaged and, in some cases, receive unique benefits. (Donaldson Adoption Institute: Expanding Resources for Waiting Children II.)
- A 1995 National Health and Social Life Survey by E.O. Lauman found that up to nine million children in America have gay or lesbian parents (Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, 2002).
- There are no systematic differences between gay or lesbian and non-gay or lesbian parents in emotional health, parenting skills, and attitudes toward parenting (Stacey & Biblarz, 2001)
- Evidence shows that children's optimal development is influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by its particular structural form (Perrin, 2002)
- No studies have found risks to or disadvantages for children growing up in families with one or more gay parents, compared to children growing up with heterosexual parents (Perrin, 2002).
- The study "Adults Raised as Children in Lesbian Families" by Fiona Tasker and Susan Golombok found no significant difference between children raised by lesbian parents and those raised by heterosexual parents in the quality of the young adults' relationships with their mothers, in incidences of teasing or bullying in high school, or in their emotional well-being. (1995. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 65, No.2, pp.203-215.)
- In Abbie Goldberg's book "Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children", she references studies that found growing up with sexual minority parents had facilitated (their children's) capacity to tolerate differences among peoples and to embrace diversity. Specifically, many participants in these studies described themselves as open-minded, nonjudgmental, and accepting of differences.
- Gay rights in the US, state by state.
- Portland PFLAG. Promotes the health and well-being of GLBT persons, their families and friends through support, education, enlightenment and advocacy.
- Parenting/Pregnant Lesbians of Portland (PLOP). Monthly gatherings to share resources. Get information via request to join their Google group.
- Research-Based Best Practices in Adoption by Gays and Lesbians. A Donaldson Adoption Institute Report.
- Adoptions by Same-Sex Couples Still on the Rise. Adoptive Families article.
- Children of same-sex parents fare as well as others, studies say. Boston Globe article.
- LGBTQ Student Resources and Support. Creating more welcoming environments for LGBTQ teens and college students.
- GLAAD. This organization works with news and entertainment media of all formats and communications and digital strategy outlets to ensure the public is provided with powerful stories about the LGBTQ community that advocates for greater equality.
- Human Rights Campaign. With over 1.5 million members, HRC is the largest organization fighting for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
- National Center for Transgender Equality. Identifying as America’s premier social justice advocacy organization for transgender individuals, NCTE works at the federal, state and local levels to leverage political capital and change laws encouraging discriminatory behavior.