The times have changed, and it is no longer considered unacceptable by most of society for LGBTQ+ couples to raise children. Of course, not everyone is on board with the idea, but more and more adoption agencies are working with LGBTQ+ couples to find loving homes for children and build happy families. In fact, more than 80% of all public adoption agencies have placed at least one child with gay and lesbian families. Roughly 1/3 of all agencies (including private agencies) still reject LGBTQ+ applicants due to their religious beliefs or policies.
Do You Have Questions Concerning LGBTQ+ Adoption?
If you have considered adopting a child, then you probably have a lot of questions about how to start the process, the challenges associated with the process, and how long it’s going to take. You or your family might also have questions about the likelihood of your future adopted child experiencing problems associated with adoption or being raised in an LGBTQ+ family. Today, we’ll answer the most common questions that we hear about the LGBTQ+ adoption process as well as some of the questions that you family might be asking.
How Can LGBTQ+ Couples Prepare for the Adoption Process?
Like any other couple, you’ll need to give adoption a lot of thought before committing to it and beginning the process. Think about how long you’ve been with your partner and your level of dedication to the relationship. Be aware that the process can take a long time and it can be frustrating, overwhelming, and challenging for anyone. You also need to keep in mind that it takes time to develop a bond with your adopted child, and there will be hurdles along the way. Make sure that you are emotionally and mentally prepared for the unexpected.
What Does it Take for an LGBTQ+ Couple to Become Licensed to Adopt a Child?
The process of becoming licensed to adopt as an LGBTQ+ couple is no different than it is for heterosexual couples. There are multiple steps, which include attending interviews, filling out plenty of paperwork, and completing questionnaires. You will likely have to take some classes and you will have a home visit. The home visit or home study involves a social worker visiting your home, providing information, and collecting information. There is also likely to be a home visit from a worker from the adoption agency you’re working with. The requirements will vary based on the agency, but most will request personal references and documents, like birth certificates, criminal checks, etc.
What are the State Laws Concerning LGBTQ+ Adoption in South Carolina?
Every state has its own laws concerning LGBTQ+ adoptions. In South Carolina, a single LGBTQ+ parent can legally petition for a license to adopt a child. Same sex parents are also allowed to petition jointly for a license to adopt a child. Further, there is so specific law prohibiting an LGBTQ+ partner from petitioning to adopt a child in a step parent adoption.
How Long Does it Take to Get Through the Adoption Process?
These days, LGBTQ+ families do not usually end up dealing with a longer process than straight parents. LGBTQ+ adoptions have gained acceptance and support for many people, and more and more birthparents are making the proactive choice to place their children with LGBTQ+ couples. Even so, the process can be lengthy, and patience will be required.
There may be a requirement to take pre-adoption courses, there will be a home study, and it takes time to match any couple with an adopted child. The two primary phases of adoption are the pre-placement phase and the post-placement phase. The pre-placement phase is where the home study and necessary classes take place. There is a waiting period that will vary based on different factors. For example, with special needs children, the process doesn’t take as long. For infants, the process can take two to seven years. The post-placement period involves at least six months of supervision prior to finalizing the adoption.
Throughout this time, you can work on preparing your home and your family for the adoption. You may find that certain family members have questions (and you may even have concerns) about the wellbeing and challenges of raising an adopted child in an LGBTQ+ home.
Do Adopted Children in LGBTQ+ Homes Experience More Problems?
The big question on many people’s minds is whether or not an adopted child in an LGBTQ+ home is going to experience more problems than any other child, adopted or otherwise. Adoption itself comes with challenges, but no more in an LGBTQ+ adoption than any other.
Although plenty of people still want to suggest otherwise, there is no actual evidence that there is any impairment of parenting abilities or childhood mental and emotional wellness concerns associated with LGBTQ+ families. The number one factor in any adoption, regardless of sexual orientation, is the couple’s ability to provide a healthy and happy home.
Children from LGBTQ+ families are found to be just as intelligent, just as popular, and just as self-confident as children from straight families. Further, there is no indication that a child’s gender identity or sexual orientation is affected by that of their parents. The likelihood of a child raised in an LGBTQ+ family of being homosexual or transgendered is no greater than the likelihood of the same being true of a child from a heterosexual family. Gender identity, sexual orientation, and role-behavior develops similarly in all children from all backgrounds.
A common concern is whether or not other children will mistreat or reject a child because of their family background. The answer to this is that it is absolutely possible that the child will face adversity for this reason or any other. The child may also face adversity for their appearance, their academic or sports performance, their style and interests, or any number of things. This is certainly no reason to change your mind about adoption. In fact, as an LGBTQ+ parent, you have likely faced prejudice and discrimination, and you could be just the person to teach a growing child how to overcome adversity, whatever the cause.