Ohana. Perhe. Famiglia. Umndeni. Family. In any language, it means the same thing — family includes the people you love, trust, can count on, and work to protect. In many cases, family members are biologically related. But as we all know, many of the best families are made up of people you choose for yourself.
There aren’t just many ways to say family; there are also countless forms a family can take. Two people together can be a family, but many choose to add children to the mix. For LGBTQ+ couples, this can be complex to navigate. Many queer couples choose to have their own biological children, and there are a variety of ways to do so. For others, the path to building a family involves fostering or adopting children.
Today, same-sex couples are four times more likely than heterosexual couples to have an adopted child, according to the Adoption Network. However, that doesn’t mean the process is easy. In fact, laws and regulations regarding foster parenthood vary by state, and adoption by same-sex couples is explicitly banned by some private agencies.
If you’re considering fostering or adopting children as an LGBTQ+ individual or couple, it’s important to do your research and learn as much as you can about these processes first. Luckily, we’re here to help you get started! Review the information below and check out our recommended resources before embarking on your new adventure.
When you become a foster parent, you’ll work with a state-run or private foster agency to support children who have been removed from the custody of their biological parents. This can happen for any one of a variety of reasons. It’s important to remember that, in most cases, the long-term goal of foster parenting is reunification with the biological family. However, in situations where reunification becomes impossible, adoption becomes an option.
Foster parenting can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. Even in cases that don’t end in adoption, fostering is a great way for LGBTQ+ individuals or couples to build relationships with children they may consider family forever.
The history of LGBTQ+ adoption is long and complex, but same-sex couples have had the right to adopt in every U.S. state since 2016. Still, some faith-based private agencies continue to discriminate against potential LGBTQ+ parents by citing religious freedom. If you’re planning to grow your family through adoption, many inclusive agencies are prepared to help. To start your search, consider contacting these LGBTQ+ friendly organizations:
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of LGBTQ+-inclusive adoption agencies. There are many other resources available to you, and we recommend checking out the websites below before pursuing foster or adoptive parenthood.