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Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Study Supports Gay/Lesbian Adoption

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a major new report today that offers recommendations to increase the pool of prospective adoptive parents for children in foster care by changing state laws and agency practices so they become more welcoming of gay and lesbian applicants.

“There has long been a consensus in our country, at its best manifested in legislation and practice, that we need to do all we can for vulnerable children,” said Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute. “But today - even though tens of thousands of children need homes and the research clearly shows that gays and lesbians make fine parents - there are efforts in states like Arkansas to impose restrictions on qualified applicants simply because of their sexual orientation.

“Every minute we retain the status quo, rather than expanding the pool of qualified prospective parents, undermines the prospects of boys and girls who need permanent, loving families,” Pertman added. “It’s way past time for the needs of these `waiting’ children to finally make it onto the national stage.”

The Adoption Institute’s 50-page report, “Expanding Resources for Waiting Children II: Eliminating Legal and Practice Barriers to Gay and Lesbian Adoption from Foster Care,” provides specific, research-based findings and recommendations relating to state laws and adoption agency policies.

The recommendations include:

  • State policies should explicitly recognize foster parenting by gays and lesbians, and laws that inhibit or prohibit adoption by non-heterosexual individuals and couples (such as in Florida and Utah) should be rescinded; applicants should be judged on their qualifications, not their sexual orientation.
  • State laws should serve children’s best interests by permitting joint and second-parent adoptions, and all states should give “full faith and credit” to adoptions legally completed in other states, without regard to the marital status or sexual orientation of the adoptive parents.
  • Agencies should assess their policies and practices to ensure that they are welcoming - in recruitment, training and post-placement services - for all qualified family resources who want to provide homes for children in foster care, including gay/lesbian individuals and couples.

This report builds on the Institute’s 2006 Policy & Practice Perspective, Expanding Resources for Waiting Children: Is Adoption by Gays and Lesbians Part of the Answer?

Among the findings in the new report are:

  • Research shows gays/lesbians are effective parents and are an important resource for waiting children. Major medical and child-advocacy groups overwhelmingly support these adoptions.
  • Excluding gays and lesbians from fostering carries significant economic consequences. A conservative estimate of a national ban puts the total costs to states at $87 million to $130 million.

For more information about this report, or to schedule an interview, please contact Adam Pertman at 617-332-8944 or

The Institute is an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit organization. Its mission is to improve the lives of millions of people by working for better laws, policies and practices. To learn more about our work, please visit our award-winning website,

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