LGBTQ Adoption from Foster Care

LGBTQ Adoption from Foster Care

More LGBTQ families are choosing to grow through adoption than ever before. Did you know that LGBTQ parents are 6x more likely to become foster parents and 4x more likely to adopt than non-LGBTQ families?  Today, among LGBTQ individuals and couples under 50, 48% of women and 17% of men are currently parenting a child under the age of 18- many of these families are formed through adoption from foster care (source).

The access LGBTQ adoptive families have to adoption agencies serving them proudly, directly impacts the children who are settled with loving, permanent parents providing them with the support they need to thrive. LGBTQ individuals and couples make some of the best parents, and we know you deserve the right kind of support as you begin your foster care adoption journey.

LGBTQ Adoption from Foster Care

LGBTQ couples and individuals are encouraged to pursue adoption from foster care, regardless of their race, religion, or socioeconomic background. Our team is proud to serve all families as part of our mission to connect children living in foster care with the support they need to thrive as they grow. Primarily, we want to ensure families you can provide a safe, loving environment for a child, regardless of the parents’ background. For children who have experienced life in foster care, this is most crucial.

Finding an LGBTQ Friendly Adoption Agency

As a same-sex couple, or LGBTQ individual, it is important to find an adoption agency that is welcoming to all families. As the number of LGBTQ families choosing adoption grows, the number of agencies serving LGBTQ families as part of their mission has expanded. The Human Rights Campaign’s All Children All Families Project has a convenient listing of LGBTQ-friendly adoption agencies that are ready to work with you.  Asking friends for referrals to LGBTQ-friendly agencies can help to identify providers who assisted the people you trust to grow their own families.

What Questions Should I Ask My Adoption Agency?

Same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals should approach adoption with several factors in mind.  In addition to the complex factors involved in becoming a new parent, it is important to find an agency that will welcome you.  Agencies whose practices affirm your identity will ensure your family is supported throughout the home study, foster care adoption training, matching, placement and finalization process. You may consider asking your agency to disclose the number of LGBTQ families with whom they have worked, what percentage of their adoptive families identify as LGBTQ, and whether they have undergone LGBTQ competency trainings to help them support you fully as you expand your family.  When visiting the agency’s website or building, be mindful of small cues, such as pictures- do these images portray a wide variety of family types?

What are the next steps?

If you’re considering adoption from foster care, you can contact us at any time to discuss your options. We are proud to serve LGBTQ families and individuals living in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia.  We look forward to helping your family grow!


Who Can Adopt from Foster Care?

Who Can Adopt from Foster Care?

We like to tell prospective adoptive families “there’s no such thing as a perfect parent!” This is a great way to help us recognize kids don’t need perfection, they need love, strength and support to thrive.  If you’re interested in adopting from foster care, you don’t have to be perfect!  In fact, all kinds of people can adopt from foster care.

Do I Have to Be Married to Adopt from Foster Care?

No! Families and parents from all backgrounds can adopt a child from foster care. We work with single parents adopting from foster care, partnered couples adopting from foster care, married couples adopting from foster care and LGBTQ couples adopting from foster care. The most important thing to us is that you’re prepared to parent a child who experienced life in foster care and you have the resources to support your growing family.

What Do You Look for In Families Adopting from Foster Care?

Prospective parents interested in adopting from foster care should be prepared for the reality of raising a child who experienced separation from their biological family. We prepare families by providing the required 27-hour foster care adoption training that focuses on effective parenting strategies, bonding skills and emotional awareness of the child’s needs and their own.

Each adoptive family undergoes a home study which ensures they can support a child. The home study process involves interviews with a social worker, foster care adoption training, a collection of documents and a review of your home environment. It is important to remember that the home study process is not designed to turn you away- rather, to help you move forward in your foster care adoption journey so that you can become a loving, stable parent for a child who needs you.

What Are the Next Steps?

If you’re interested in adopting from foster care, you can contact us anytime to learn more about the foster care adoption process. We are eager to help you through your journey and excited to be part of your family.


How Does Foster Care Adoption Work?

How Does Foster Care Adoption Work?

When we work with families who are adopting from foster care, our job is to ensure they understand the complexities of adoption and how adoption from foster care works. We are often asked if children adopted from foster care can be “returned” to their biological families after an adoption takes place. The short answer is: No. Adoption is a legally binding process, and adoptive parents are the legal parents of their children once an adoption is finalized.

How Do Children in Foster Care Become Available for Adoption?

Children enter foster care for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are abuse and/or neglect.  It is important to remember that the purpose of the foster care system is to serve as a temporary safe haven for children who cannot live with their biological families while their parents become stable, safe caregivers.  Most children who experience life in foster care return to their biological families.

When it is not possible for a child to return to their biological family, a process called “termination of parental rights (TPR)” is undergone within the court system.  This process allows the child to be adopted through the foster care system without custody being granted back to their biological family. Once a parent’s rights have been legally terminated, the child may become available for adoption depending on several factors.  Children seen on websites like The Heart Gallery and AdoptUsKids have undergone the TPR process and are “legally free” for adoption.

How Does Foster Care Adoption Work at Adoptions Together?

Adoptions Together helps families to adopt from foster care by preparing them for the realities of parenting a child who has experienced life in the foster care system, completing their home study, and completing their required 27-hour foster care adoption training.  We also support families through the matching, placement and finalization process with children who are “legally free” for adoption (those whose TPR process has been completed).  Most of the children we work with are school-aged and we help families from every background to explore the option of foster care adoption.

 

If you are interested in learning more about adopting from foster care, you can contact us at any time to discuss the process in detail.


How Much Does It Cost to Adopt from Foster Care?

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt from Foster Care?

If you’re considering adoption from foster care, the first question on your mind is probably “how much does it cost to adopt from foster care?”  Misinformation about the cost of adoption makes potential adoptive parents hesitate to explore foster care adoption, so let’s talk about actual costs to adopt a child from public foster care.

How You Pursue Adoption from Foster Care Makes a Difference

There are two main ways to adopt a child from public foster care in the United States. Many families pursue adoption from foster care through their local Department of Social Services. Typically, a family becomes foster parents to a child before adopting.  Working with your Department of Social Services to pursue this type of foster care adoption can cost very little or nothing.  This process includes the cost of the home study and training that is required to foster children.

The second way families pursue adoption from foster care is through a private adoption agency who can help them to complete their foster-to-adoption home study, training, and match with a child (or sibling group) who is ready to be adopted from foster care. This method can be more expensive for families, as there are fees paid to the agency for services rendered, but some families may prefer working with an agency to adopt from foster care, as the process may run more smoothly and the family may receive more individualized attention. Adoptions Together’s current total fee for foster care adoption is $10,970.  Read more about how to offset the costs of adoption.

Many children adopted from foster care are eligible to receive financial assistance under the federal Title IX-E Adoption Assistance Program. This type of financial assistance takes many forms, including a one-time payment, ongoing monthly support, or programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  It is important to discuss the individual eligibility of Adoption Assistance with your adoption provider in detail.

What to Do Next

If you’re considering foster care adoption to grow your family, financial considerations are an important part of the picture. We believe that stable, loving parents come from all financial backgrounds, and that children have the best chance to thrive in permanent homes. Our team is here to discuss the option of foster care adoption, as well as which options are best for you as you begin your adoption journey.


What are the Age Requirements to Adopt from Foster Care?

What Are the Age Requirements to Adopt from Foster Care?

Have you considered adopting from foster care, but worried “I’m too old to adopt”, or even, “I’m too young to adopt”? You’re not alone- one of the most common questions we get from prospective adoptive parents interested in growing their families through foster care adoption is whether they are too old (or too young) to adopt a child from foster care.  The truth is, there are very few age requirements in place when it comes to foster care adoption. The most important thing is that your family is prepared to meet the needs of the child you’re adopting.

Am I too old to adopt from foster care?

There is no upper age limit for parents interested in adopting from foster care. In fact, many “older” parents decide that foster care adoption is an excellent way to grow their families after raising other children or fulfilling other parts of their lives’ journeys.  Each prospective adoptive family’s age is taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis with the child’s specific needs and situation in mind. If you think you’re too old to adopt from foster care, contact us and we’ll talk about whether foster care adoption is an option for you!

Am I too young to adopt from foster care?

This question is more complex for a few reasons. First, the most important thing for a child (regardless of his or her background) is that their adoptive parent can provide a stable, supportive family environment where their physical, emotional and financial needs are met.  For this reason, many states (like Maryland) require parents adopting from foster care to be at least 21 years old before applying.

Private adoption agencies may have additional policies in place to ensure your family is prepared to meet the needs of a child who has experienced life in foster care. Adoptions Together requires all parents adopting from foster care to be a minimum of 25 years old before applying in order to ensure they are stable and prepared for the challenge of growing their family through foster care adoption.

How old are the children eligible for adoption from foster care?

This is a great question. Although it is uncommon, it is possible to adopt an infant from foster care. Most often, children adopted from foster care are school-aged.  This is due to a variety of factors. but the primary goal of foster care is to help biological parents remedy the challenges which caused their child to be removed from their care, and help the parents gain stable ground in their lives.  There is a lengthy legal process to assist families, and when the parents are unable to reach stability, parental rights are terminated.  Typically, this process takes several years and may not occur until a child is old enough to enter school.  Most of the children Adoptions Together works with are school-aged children and teenagers.

What are the next steps to adopt from foster care?

If you are interested in learning more about the age requirements of adopting from foster care, feel free to contact us at any time. Our team can help you discuss the options that are best for you, and how you can begin the foster care adoption process.


Changes to 2018 Federal Tax Laws Are Impacting Adoptions Together & Other Non-Profits

The Issue

The fundamental reasons you donate to Adoptions Together have not changed. The need for your generosity has never been greater for us, and for the many 501(c)3 organizations you choose to support. But recent changes to tax laws have the potential to make a profound impact on both of us. Under previous federal tax guidelines, the charitable deduction was made available to roughly 35% of filers who itemize their tax returns. By doubling the standard deduction, the new tax law is estimated to reduce the number of itemized returns to between 5-10%. We know tax benefits are not the primary reason you choose to donate, but let’s be honest- it’s both a factor and an incentive.

Potential Outcomes

Estimates are that 60-75% of all non-profit donors are individuals- not corporations. As these donors file their 2018 tax returns, they may learn that itemizing will not be beneficial due to the higher standard deduction. The Tax Policy Center estimates this law change may reduce charitable giving in 2019 by up to $20 billion. A study by George Washington University also estimates this law change may result in the loss of at least 220,000 non-profit sector jobs.

Solutions

There are ways to give to and support Adoptions Together that will still be tax beneficial to you. Strategies exist that will allow your continued generosity to remain a tax write off. We are planning a short series of sessions with CPAs, Attorneys and Financial Advisors to help our donors learn about and become more comfortable with various donation options for both short-term and legacy giving.

Next Steps

Please sign up and we will inform you of upcoming lunch and learns or open houses to discover how you can still derive tax benefits from your contributions even if you no longer itemize. A few of the topics we will cover include:

  • Appreciated Securities
  • Bunching of gifting
  • Mandatory Required Distributions
  • Trusts and Charitable Trusts
  • CommunityFoundations- Donor Advised Funds

Adoptions Together appreciates the generosity and support you have given us over the years. We hope we can support you by making it easier for you to continuing to support organizations like ours as tax laws evolve. Thank you for being part of our family, and for making us part of yours.


Adoption and the Teen Years: Understanding Adoption and Adolescence

The teen years are defined by growth- your child is forming an identity that is separate from yours and building skills that will help guide them through the joys and challenges that lie ahead. As a parent, your job is changing, too. You may find yourself coaching from the sidelines more frequently, or even struggling with your new role. As the parent of an adopted teen, some of the complexities can feel harder to address. We are here to help you navigate the unique joys, experiences and issues faces by many adoptive families during the teen years so that you are prepared to navigate them head on.

Adoption and Teenage Development

You’ve probably noticed some of the developmental changes in your adopted teenager. Things like hormonal changes, physical changes and emotional shifts that occur during the teenage years can impact how our teens relate to one another and to us. We know that many of these changes are developmentally normal for all children, regardless of their background. Brain development during the teen years also undergoes a unique shift that regulates behavior. For example, chemical changes in the pre-frontal cortex of teenage brains can encourage youth to seek out risky behaviors without considering consequences.

These changes are not unique to adoptees. However; their early experiences and family structure is. How can we be mindful of our backgrounds during this time? Let’s start by considering our child’s early experiences and how they can impact physical, emotional and brain developmental during this stage. Did your adopted teen experience trauma as an infant or child? Being mindful of how traumatic experiences can impact emotional experience as a teenager and young adult can have a positive impact on your relationship today. Helping your adopted teen to understand that you are present, caring and supportive when they are expressing fear, anxiety or other difficult emotions is a useful way to remain connected to your child. It is also important to consider whether your child’s medical history may impact their development so that you can best assist them throughout adolescence. Teens with a history of prenatal alcohol and drug exposure may have different needs from family members, teachers and therapeutic support teams.

Adoption and the Teen Identity

During adolescence, your teenager is learning more about their own identity, what it means to them, and how they can use their identity to help guide them through the world. For adopted teens, their unique background is a crucial part of this identity formation. Teens begin to grapple with questions like “Who am I?”, “Where do I come from?”, “What do I want to become?” and they must learn how they are connected to, and different from their parents, siblings and communities as a whole.

You might notice that your teen is beginning to connect more with friends than with you. You might also notice your teen is focusing more on things like his or her appearance or identifying with a particular music group during this time. These normal developmental processes are part of your teen’s expanding identity. For adopted teens, learning about identity can be more challenging because they have a more complex story. They may begin to ask more questions about their birth family, or their questions may be more complex. They may have an increased understanding of the complex concepts that touch some adoption stories, such as poverty or addiction, leading to more nuanced questions about their birth parents’ experience. Even if your teen has met members of their birth family, they may have new questions about their birth relatives that help them to understand their identity. Some teens may express interest in spending more time with birth relatives than they did during childhood- remember that this is a normal part of adolescence and supporting your teen during this time is an open demonstration of love and commitment to your family.
As adoptive parents, it can be difficult to navigate adolescence as your teen begins to form this kind of independent identity. Remember that it is normal to feel sadness, anxiety and even anger when your child wants to learn more about their birth family or expresses a desire to spend more time with biological relatives. Processing these emotions fully and safely with the right kind of support is important so that you can continue supporting your adopted teen. In the same way you successfully parented your adopted child, successfully parenting your adopted teen comes with new challenges you can prepare for. Building a community of support for your family is a good way to ensure you have help when you need it. Reaching out for additional support through adoption competent therapists is another way to bolster your support system.

Talking with Your Teen About Adoption

If you’re still reading this, you probably know adoption needs to be a safe subject. Adopted teens think about their birth parents and adoption more than most parents realize. Finding ways to reassure your child that they can broach the subject of adoption with you is more important now than ever. We know that children whose parents talk about adoption from the very start have an easier time talking about adoption throughout their lives. If you think your teen has adoption on their mind, don’t wait for them to bring it up- raise the topic with them so they know you’re thinking about it, too. One way to introduce the topic is to share you’re thinking about their adoption or their birth parents’, and inviting your teen to add what they may be thinking about. Showing your child that talking about adoption is okay can help them understand that talking about their birth family and asking questions won’t hurt your feelings or offend you.

Some adoptive parents struggle with what kind of information they should share with their adopted teen now that their child is older. Parts of their child’s adoption story that may be difficult or painful might seem tempting to conceal during your child’s teen years, especially if your adopted teen is dealing with other challenges. For example, if your child’s birth parent has a criminal history or dealt with substance abuse, it may be tempting to keep that part of the adoption story hidden. Consider that this may be the right time to share your child’s story so that he or she is able to understand their own identity fully, without imagining another version of the truth (that may be worse). This conversation can be intimidating for parents, and seeking the support of a professional adoption counselor can help you navigate discussing the complexities of your child’s adoption story so that it can be a positive, affirming part of your relationship.

Maintaining, Building and Growing Relationships with Birth Family Members

The teen years may not be the first time your child has expressed interest in their birth family. Or perhaps your child has never met his or her birth parents. But we all have a deep desire to understand our roots. Many adopted teens feel a need to connect or reconnect with their birth family during adolescence. It is important to be prepared to navigate this contact thoughtfully.

If your child’s adoption is open and you’ve maintained contact with birth family members, that’s great! Continue the conversation within the framework of your open adoption relationship so that your child knows they have support to continue building healthy relationships. Be mindful that your maturing child may have new questions that you can help them explore before reaching out to their birth family.

An important reminder if your child has an open relationship with birth relatives during their teen years: be familiar with social media use. It has become increasingly common for adoptees to connect with birth family members through social media. When teens know the names and locations of birth relatives, connecting with them online is relatively simple. Continuing open, safe discussions about supporting your child’s ongoing connection with their birth family is one way to avoid surprise contact with birth relatives that can cause confusion for your child.

If your child has never met their birth family, they may express a desire to do so during adolescence. This process is often referred to as “Search and Reunion”. One important thing to remember is that the “search” does not always go together with the “reunion”. If your adopted teen expresses a desire to learn more about their birth family for the first time, it’s important to listen to what they’d like to discover. Do they want to know the name of their birth parents? Find out where they were born? Discover more about their family tree? Or would they like to contact their birth family? Connecting with an adoption professional to begin the Search and Reunion process can be helpful in supporting your teen through this stage.

Giving Your Adopted Teen the Tools

Your role as a parent is to provide your child with the skills and tools they need to succeed. As an adoptive parent, providing your child with unique skills to face the world as an adoptee is equally important. During the teen years, it’s important for your child to feel secure as an adoptee. You can help your child feel more secure and confident in many ways. Prepare them to discuss adoption openly when it comes up in conversation. Help them to anticipate questions about your family, their background and to help their friends discuss adoption in ways that make them comfortable. Reassure your teen that they don’t have to share personal details, and that they are in charge of what information they would like to discuss about their adoption story. Teaching your teen that setting boundaries in discussions about adoptions is okay is a good way to show them they have autonomy. Finally, avoid using your child as an “example” for adoption in social interactions so that he or she understands adoption is a part of their story, not the defining characteristic. Reassure your child that it is okay to say “I don’t know” or “that’s not something I share about” if someone asks a question about adoption, and always ask before sharing part of their story with others.

Want to Continue the Conversation? Join Us!

Are you a teen adoptee? Parenting an adopted teen? Working with teen adoptees and their families? Join us for “Adoption and the Teen Years: A Conference for Teens, Parents and Professionals” on April 27th at the McLean School to help build your toolkit!


Convinced You Can’t Afford Adoption? 6 Ways to Offset Adoption Costs

How Can I Afford to Adopt a Child?

There are several ways to offset the cost of adopting a child.  Whether you adopt an infant or you adopt from public foster care, assistance is available to help families like yours afford the cost of adoption. We’ve outlined some of the ways to make adoption more affordable. Check them out!

1. Choose an Adoption Agency with Sliding Scale Fees

Adoption agency fees vary widely.  Adoption agencies with sliding scale fees charge families based on their income. Choosing an adoption agency with sliding scale fees helps ensure you’re not paying more than you can afford in total adoption placement fees.

2. Adoption Assistance Programs Through Your Employer

Does your employer offer adoption assistance? You might be surprised. Many employers offer assistance to adoptive families.  Here are some examples of adoption-friendly workplaces who are helping their employers afford the cost of adoption:

In addition to offering generous reimbursement packages that help offset the costs of adopting a child, many companies offer paid parental leave to help new adoptive families bond.  The law firm Latham & Watkins, LLP offers at least 22 weeks of paid leave to adoptive parents. Like paid maternity leave packages, parental leave packages for adoptive families are becoming more common.

Read more about the most adoption-friendly workplaces in the United States.

To find out if your employer offers adoption assistance, contact your benefits department.

3. Adoption Loans

Adoption have become a popular way to offset or cover the cost of adoption.  Despite being financially secure, some families find the upfront cost of adopting is too high.  Here is how many families are borrowing money to finance an adoption:

  • Home equity loans: Some families choose to open a home equity loan in order to finance an adoption. This option provides access to a low-interest line of credit with tax-deductible interest.
  • Personal Loans: There are many companies that offer fixed-interest loans for the purpose of adoption. Some families select this option in order to avoid payments from becoming more expensive than anticipated.
  • Credit Cards: While most financial planners advise against paying for large purchases with credit cards, some families who qualify for reimbursements through their employers choose to pay for adoption-related expenses with a credit card because they know they will be able to quickly pay off the balance.

4. The Adoption Tax Credit

The 2018 Adoption Tax Credit is $13,810 per child.  In order to be eligible for the tax credit, you must have a federal tax liability, and you have 5 years to use the full amount of the credit.  There are limitations on gross income for claiming the full amount of the Adoption Tax Credit, so it is important to discuss filing for this credit with your tax professional.

5. Crowdfunding an Adoption

More families are turning to fundraising platforms like GoFundMe to raise money to finance their adoption plans.  While this method of peer-to-peer fundraising (known as “crowdfunding”) is appealing and often generates substantial income for hopeful adoptive parents, we encourage parents to be thoughtful about this approach.

This type of fundraising can expose very personal details of a child’s life, asking donors to provide financial support based on trauma or loss the child experienced before they found a family.  While this type of adoption funding is well-intentioned, we encourage families considering crowdfunding platforms to think about how they will discuss these fundraisers with their child as they grow older.  If you decide to move forward with adoption crowdfunding to finance your adoption, we encourage you to be mindful of the information you share online about your adoption plan, your agency and the child you plan to adopt.

6. Subsidies from Local Government Agencies

If you adopt a child with special needs from foster care, you may be eligible to receive a subsidy to help offset the costs of providing long term care for your child.  The amount of your adoption subsidy will vary depending on the jurisdiction you adopt from and the needs of your child.  Adoption subsidies are intended to ensure costs of caring for special needs children are not an undue burned on adoptive families and that your adopted child is able to receive the care he or she needs.  If you decide to adopt a child from foster care, your adoption agency or social worker can help you navigate the process of receiving an adoption subsidy.

Need more information about the cost of adoption? Contact us today!


Single Parent Adoption 101

Single Parent Adoption – Can You Adopt as a Single Parent?

single parent adoption

Single parent adoption has become more popular over the past 3 decades. Within the adoption community, single parent adoption can mean several things.  In most states, single parent adoption is defined as an unmarried individual petitioning a court to be the legal parent of a child.  Single parent adoption is legal in all 50 states.  In some cases, single parent adoption is more complicated.

How can I adopt as a single parent?

Both single moms and single dads can adopt in several ways. Domestic infant adoption, or the adoption of infants born within the United States by a parent living in the United States is a common way for single parents to adopt. Single parents can also adopt from public foster care systems.  Some countries permit international adoption by single parents.  If you are considering international adoption as a single parent, it is important to work with a Hague-accredited adoption agency to help you navigate the adoption process to ensure you choose a country that permits single parent adoption.

Important considerations in single parent adoption

Like most single parents growing families, it is important to consider many things before growing your family through adoption. Having a strong network of friends and family who can provide support to you as you begin your parenting journey will help you adjust to the joys and challenges of parenting.  Financial considerations are also important to take into account. Most single parents only have one source of income. Discussing your family’s financial health prior to adoption, and ensuring that you are prepared to raise a child is a good idea.  Additionally, discussion your adoption plan with your employer will help you plan for the time you spend away from work when your new baby or child comes home.

Despite the increasing number of children raised in single-parent households today, the public perception that it takes two parents to raise a well-adjusted child can be stressful for those considering single parent adoption. Many single adoptive parents find it helpful to connect with other single parent households in order to foster a level of understanding a support surrounding their family structure.

Resources for single parent adoption

Flying Solo As a Single Parent (On-Demand Video Training)

Adopting and raising a child as a single parent has become more common and widely accepted over the last decade.  Yet, it can be a complex and challenging endeavor that requires careful thought and preparation.  Singles who are contemplating adoption often have many questions, and possibly even concerns about the process.  They may be filled with anticipation and excitement, or they may be unsure if parenting on their own is the right choice.  This seminar will cover BOTH the process of single parent adoption as well as the joys and challenges after a child is home.  Some of the issues addressed include going it alone, answering questions from nosy outsiders, helping the child make sense of his/her family, dating as a single adoptive parent, and the heightened sensitivity your adopted child has regarding loss and change.

Apply to Adopt as a Single Parent 

Complete our online adoption application and begin your single parent adoption journey!


LGBTQ Adoption 101

Adoption for LGBTQ Couples: Navigating the LGBTQ Adoption Process

LGBTQ adoption

Over the past several decades, more same LGBT couples are choosing adoption to grow their families.  The United States Census reports that between 2 and 3.7 million children under the age of 18 have an LGBTQ parent, that same-sex parents are more than 6 times as likely to become foster parents and more than 4 times more likely to pursue adoption as a path to parenthood.   So how can adoption professionals and LGBTQ families navigate the adoption process thoughtfully?

Choosing the type of adoption that’s right for your family

When it’s time to decide what kind of adoption is right for your family, LGBTQ couples have a lot to consider.  There are three main types of adoption to pursue: domestic infant adoption, international adoption, and foster care adoption. Let’s explore all three.

Domestic Infant Adoption for LGBTQ Families

In the United States, LGBTQ couples may pursue domestic infant adoptions in all 50 states.  However, some states have recently passed faith-based adoption legislation which makes adoption more challenging for LGBTQ individuals.  If you are considering a domestic infant adoption, it is important to choose an adoption agency or professional who is welcoming to LGBTQ families and understands the legal framework in your state.

International Adoption for LGBTQ Families

Once considered the most convenient type of adoption available to American families, international adoptions have become more complex in recent years.  Adoption agencies completing international adoptions are bound by the Hague Adoption Convention, which guides adoption ethics and principles. Under these conventions, agencies must respect laws and standards put into place by the countries in which children are born. For LGBTQ couples pursuing international adoption, this can present unique challenges.  LGBTQ couples and individuals interested in pursuing an international adoption should inquire with their placement agency about specific country restrictions related to LGBTQ adoption because guidelines vary greatly. Adoptions Together welcomes to opportunity to complete international home studies for LGBTQ couples and individuals if you meet inter-country eligibility requirements.

Foster Care Adoption for LGBTQ Families

Adopting from foster care has many benefits.  It is one of the most affordable ways to adopt a child, and local departments of social services make adoption through foster care readily accessible for families from all backgrounds.  LGBTQ families may adopt children from foster care as long as they pass the required home study and training.  At Adoptions Together, we work with dozens of LGBTQ couples each year who choose adoption from foster care to expand their families.

Choosing an LGBTQ-Friendly Adoption Agency

Choosing an agency with a proven track record is important for any family pursuing adoption. For LGBTQ couples who want to adopt, finding an LGBTQ-friendly adoption agency is paramount.  Since its inception, Adoptions Together has served on the advisory board of the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children, All Families project, which connects LGBTQ families with agencies seeking to provide comprehensive adoption services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adoptive families.  As a Gold Seal-recognized agency, we are well-prepared to serve all families, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender with compassionate adoption service.

To find an All Children, All Families approved agency near you, visit the HRC’s website.