Adoption is a complex family form that touches the lives of many. In a national survey of adoption attitudes conducted by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 64% of respondents indicated that a family member or close friend had either been adopted, had adopted, or had placed a child for adoption. Despite the large numbers of people who have a connection with adoption, there is no current attempt to collect one comprehensive national data set that includes information about public, private agency, and independent adoption. The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) tracks children adopted from foster care, and the State Department tracks international adoptions through the record of orphan visas issued each year. Brodzinsky & Pinderhughes (pp. 279-311) mention the most comprehensive figure for the number of total adoptions in the United States is provided by the 2000 Census, which for the first time included the category “adopted son or daughter” and places the number of adopted children under the age of 18 at 2.5% of the population (Brodzinsky & Pinderhughes, pp. 279-311). This number is a broad estimate because it encompasses a wide range of adoptions, including adoption of stepchildren, biologically related and unrelated children, and domestic, international, independent, and informal adoptions. The lack of a comprehensive system for collecting reliable adoption data hinders the accurate reporting of adoption statistics. This paper discusses gay adoption in a concise and comprehensive way.
Gay Adoption: A Discussion
There is no one description that can characterize adoption. Adoption is no longer limited to a married couple adopting a same-race infant whereby confidentiality between birth and adoptive families is paramount. Adoptive families reflect the diversity of family forms found in society. Kinship adoption (adoption by a non-parent relative or stepparent) is a prevalent way of forming adoptive families (Müller, Gibbs and Ariely, pp. 711-744). Although there is lack of precision in available data, the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse reports that kinship adoptions are the slight majority of adoptions in the United States. Despite the preference for married couples by adoption agency staff, birth parents, or both for non-relative adoptions, single-parent adoption has increased in prevalence. Single parents have a greater likelihood of adopting special needs children for whom finding a permanent placement may be more difficult (Müller, Gibbs and Ariely, pp. 711-744). There are also a small but growing number of adoptions by gay and lesbian couples. Controversy surrounds this practice, with some states banning gay and lesbian adoption, whereas the Child Welfare League of America asserts that gay and lesbian couples should be assessed the same as any other adoptive applicant.
Researchers said that if parents were satisfied with the adoption process, had a stable income and functioned well as a family the risk of emotional problems in children were reduced.
"We found that sexual orientation of the adoptive parents was not a significant predictor of emotional problems," Paige Averett, an assistant professor of social work at East Carolina University, said in a statement (Müller and Perry, pp. 5-38).