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Tips for Same Sex Couples Who Want to Adopt

1st Oct 2017

In the recent past, there were few options for same-sex couples who wanted to have children. However, beginning the early 00’s many countries began to legalise adoption for same-sex couples, and now same-sex adoption is legal in over 26 countries, including most of western Europe, every state in the USA, parts of South America, the majority of the Australian states, and South Africa. Adopting a child can be both a challenging and rewarding experience for a couple, the following tips will help you to decide if adoption is for you and your partner and help you to know what to expect.

Young gay parents with their daughter having fun in park. Parents holding girl in arms. Enjoying in beautiful sunset. Caucasian ethnicity.

What are the laws where I live?

Different countries & states will have different laws regarding same-sex adoptions, so make sure that you do your research on what the laws are regarding adoptions in your country. These laws and regulations can take into account your age, financial situation and living situation among other things. In some countries, adopting a child as a same sex couple will be the same process as it is for heterosexual couples, however other countries have different processes or only allow certain types of adoptions for same-sex couples. For example, Italy only allows a same sex couple to adopt if one of the parents is the child’s biological parent, so only step parents of the same sex of the biological parent can adopt. The image below shows the 26 countries where same-sex adoption is legal in some form.

same-sex-adoption-by-country

Can we afford it?

Having a child is expensive, and many adoption agencies will look at your financial situation before they will even consider you as a suitable candidate for adopting a child. However, being on a low income will not necessarily disqualify you from adopting as adoption agencies want to see that a child is going to be provided for and loved, and money is only one thing that they will look at when you apply to adopt a child. In some countries, financial support is available to people who adopt children as this will actually cost the state less than providing long term care to a child. Check with your government or local authority to see what support is available, you may be surprised at the level of help that you can get.

Talk with your partner what you are both looking for from the adoption

It is important that you speak to your partner about finding a child that is a good match for the both of you. There are a few things that you will need to discuss:

  • Do you both have a preference as to the child’s age? Some people prefer to adopt babies or very young children as the child will only know them as its parents and it can involve fewer complications. This is why it can often be difficult for adoption agencies to find homes for older children.
  • Do you want a boy or a girl? Speak to your partner to see if you can both agree on a preference.
  • Are you happy to bring up a child of a different ethnicity or religion to yourselves? This can bring additional challenges as you will have to integrate the child’s culture and beliefs into your family and not force your own culture and beliefs on the child. Some parents have no issues with this, whereas others find it incredibly challenging.
  • Would you be happy for the child to have contact with their birth family? Some adopted children maintain links with their birth family after adoption. In some cases, this can be occasional contact with their grandparents and in other cases it can involve contact with their birth parents. You will both need to discuss how comfortable you are with this. It is also possible that even if you adopt a child without any links to their birth family that they will want to seek them out when they are older.

Seek out support

There are many charities throughout the world that offer support for same-sex couples who are considering adoption such as New Family Social in the UK and many of them will help you to meet other couples that are going through the same process as you who can give you advice on what to expect. If you are struggling with the legal aspect of adopting a child then you might find it helpful to contact a lawyer or solicitor that specialises in LGBT adoption who will be able to help you fill out any forms and give you advice on your rights around adopting a child.

If you are part of a same-sex couple and are looking to adopt a child, the process can seem overwhelming, but do not be discouraged, there is a lot of help and advice available and the process will be worth it in the end once you bring your adopted child home.

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