LGBT Adoption Rights
The LGBT community in America has come a long way in recent years. In June of 2015, President Barack Obama announced to the public that The United States Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning same-sex marriage. A similar law was passed that prohibited businesses from discriminating against potential or current employees due to their sexual or romantic orientation. It was a huge step forward for the LGBT community. More americans were able to express their true selves, without fear of repercussions, and pride was in the air.
However, they still face many challenges, one of which being adoption rights. In many states, there are unfair laws put in place for LGBT parents who are looking to start a family. Some adoption agencies even refuse to allow LGBT couples to adopt through them. America needs to close the gap between LGBT adoption rights and traditional adoption rights. Adopting a child in The United States is already a difficult task, even for straight couples.
Although homosexual couples are now allowed to get married in all 50 states, many states have laws that make the process for them to adopt a child more difficult than that of a straight couple. Some adoption agencies claim to have religious affiliation, and therefore refuse to allow same-sex couples to adopt through them. There are currently no federal laws that prevent this.
In Alabama, a same-sex couple that wishes to adopt has to wait a whole year after they get married before they can even apply, which is a longer wait than straight couples have. Many same-sex couples face the issue where adoption agencies take their money, but end up not getting a child because something conveniently “went wrong,” such as lost paperwork or potential adoptions falling through. One gay couple has even had an instance where they thought a woman was pregnant, and was going to allow them to adopt her baby.
However, they soon found that she was lying, and that she was just using them for money. Furthering LGBT adoption rights would not only be a step forward for the community, but it could also benefit The U.S. economy. There are about half a million children currently in the foster system in The United States. With so many children in the foster care system, adoption agencies have trouble finding somewhere for the kids to stay.
Thus, the government has to fund recruitment agencies in order to find families that would be willing to take in children who are in the foster system, and then they have to pay the foster parents. That money comes from american taxpayer dollars. In opening up LGBT adoption rights, more families, who would be more than willing to take in foster children, or, better yet, take them out of the system altogether, would become available. This would mean less funding required to pay foster families for their service, and,in turn, lower taxes for american citizens (Macomber, 2005). LGBT families are just as, if not more stable than traditional families. Same sex parents tend to be more financially stable, and are generally older, and more well educated. (Macomber, 2005) Research shows that homosexual parents are also found to be emotionally stable and well adjusted.
Same-sex couples are generally more open-minded, and therefore more likely to support their children in whatever they wish to pursue in life. Thus, their children are likely to grow up happy, and with a good relationship with their parents. Opening up LGBT adoption rights would help get more kids out of the foster care system. Adoption agencies tend to have trouble finding homes for the children under their protection. Many couples just don’t have the space, or are otherwise just unwilling to accommodate children that are still in the system. Likewise, most traditional couples looking to adopt generally only want to adopt young children, usually ages 5 or younger. This leaves many children ages 6-17 stuck in the system, often until they turn 18, at which point they go out into the world on their own. Research shows that more than half of gay men and 41% of lesbian women want a child.
In a survey conducted at Sweet Home High School, Over 50% of LGBT identifying participants said that they were considering adopting a child in the future. In opening up adoption rights, many older kids in the system would have a better chance at finding their forever families. Kids benefit from both parents legally being their parent. In many cases, when homosexual parents have children, the child comes from a previous relationship of one of the parents, or the couple decides to go through a surrogate or sperm donor.
In most of those cases, only one of the parents is actually legally the child’s parent. If a child has two parents present, they have more than one person to turn to if they need something, whether it be emotional support or assistance with different things that come up in their life.
Additionally, if one parent dies, a child can rest assured that they won’t be separated from their remaining parent. Psychological studies show that children of homosexual couples feel more secure and protected knowing that both of their parents have legal custody over them (Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents, 2002). Children deserve to feel safe and secure in their own homes, which requires reformation of the adoption rights of homosexual couples. To deny this would be to deny these children of their basic human rights. Some LGBT couples try to adopt children from foreign countries when they have trouble adopting domestically. This type of adoption has increased due to a decrease in dangerous diseases in third-world countries, as well as lower availability of contraceptives.
However, this can be even more difficult. Some countries won’t allow children to be adopted by someone who identifies as homosexual, regardless of whether or not they are married or in a relationship. Even if they are able to adopt a foreign child, they then have to go through the process of making their child a U.S. citizen Many believe that children of LGBT parents are more likely to have developmental issues. This is due to factors such as bullying and discrimination. Many also believe that the parents’ sexual orientation could affect that of their child. However, research shows that children from LGBT families don’t differ much from children from traditional families. Teachers of children from both LGBT and traditional families are generally unable to distinguish any developmental differences between the children (Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children, 2016).
Obviously, the environment in which the family lives has an effect on the child’s development, as well as the well being of the parents. If a child grows up in an environment in which they feel supported and accepted, they, along with their parents, will flourish and blossom. They will be able to have a happy, carefree childhood, without fear of discrimination. This allows them to grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. This further proves the point of needing better rights for homosexual couples. If their children grow up in a welcoming, accepting environment, they will be able to further the rights of people that are growing up in their situation. (Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children, 2016) Furthering LGBT adoption rights would not only improve The U.S. foster care system, but it would also improve The U.S. as a whole. America is one of the world leaders of innovation and progression as a society.
However, there is still a long road ahead on the quest for a perfect society. America was founded on the principle of freedom. These restrictions on the rights of american families to live their own lives as they wish to live them are an infringement on their basic human rights. LGBT parents are just as deserving of the ability to build a family as traditional parents, and therefore deserve the same rights to do so. It’s time for The United States to give LGBT parents and their children the rights they deserve.