Blogging for Adoption: There Are No “Alternative” Families

The Family Equality Council is holding a “Blogging Adoption” day today in honor of National Adoption Month. I’ve written a lot about adoption lately—some great new resources have just come out, including a book looking at recent research on adoption by lesbians and gay men, edited by David Brodzinsky and Adam Pertman of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and a major new 69-page report on best practices in adoption by lesbians and gay men, from the same organization.

To my mind, the key takeaways from all of the above material are these:

  • Over 65,500 adoptive children and 14,000 foster children are already being raised by gay or lesbian parents in the U.S.
  • All of the legitimate, peer-reviewed, academic studies that have been done show that children being raised by lesbian or gay parents are as well-adjusted as any others. These findings are supported by major professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Child Welfare League of America.
  • Finally—do the math: Over 115,000 children are still waiting for adoptive homes, while over two million LGB people are interested in adopting. (Presumably, many transgender people are also interested in adopting, too, but there has been less research on them.)

Still, several states—including Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina,  and Utah—have legal barriers that prevent same-sex couples from adopting. Only 17 states plus the District of Columbia explicitly allow same-sex parents to adopt jointly statewide. Another 12 allow them to do so on a county-by-county basis.

I don’t need to convince most of you that this needs to change. Children will benefit.

Beyond the numbers and the research, though, I am struck on a personal level by the similarities between LGBT parents of all types (adoptive and not) and non-LGBT adoptive parents. We are creating families that are not all bound by biological ties; many of us incorporate birth families or donors into our family circles; many of us deal with the awkward situations engendered by not looking like our children. The number of families that do not consist of a mother and father and their genetic children is growing—and we should all try to understand and support each other, even if our particular circumstances vary.

Finally, as I mentioned to someone on Twitter the other day, I firmly believe that there are no “alternative” families. If it’s the family you embrace, there is no alternative.