Where Can Same-Sex Couples Legally Adopt Children In The United States?

LGBTQ adoption rights didn’t exist for a long time — in fact, historically there has been a prejudice that prospective LGBTQ adoptive parents have had to withstand when simply stating their desire to adopt or foster children, and this prejudice has failed to disappear even with the furthering of gay and transgender rights. Can same-sex couples legally adopt in the United States? 

Many of the laws that barred same-sex parents from fostering or adopting children have been struck down even though many of the aforementioned prejudices persist, but same-sex couples are statistically much more likely to foster or adopt children than their heterosexual counterparts (proportionally). That means they are an integral part of the lives of many children who have been churned through this system; a system that is far from perfect.

Two million LGBTQ people have shown interest in foster programs or adoption.

Thankfully LGBTQ individuals are legally allowed to adopt in every state after a federal judge ruled unconstitutional a Mississippi law that banned the practice in 2016. It was the last state to hold such a law. The 2015 marriage equality ruling helped pave the way for legal adoption rights for LGBTQ parents.

Unfortunately the prejudice still prevents many prospective LGBTQ parents from fostering or adopting children even when it is perfectly legal to do so. The problem is that some agencies or individuals within those agencies use these prejudices to prevent LGBTQ individuals from placing children.

LGBTQ individuals who would like to become adoptive parents are urged to thoroughly research the agency they would like to use, and its history of allowing LGBTQ adoptions. It is always best to choose an agency with your future child’s best interests at heart, but if you believe that a particular individual or agency is actively trying to prevent a child from being placed in your home because you are LGBTQ, then you have rights!

If this is happening or has happened to you, then you should absolutely contact a qualified family lawyer for a free consultation. We will work toward making sure the adoption takes place if possible. Same-sex adoption works the same way for you as it does for heterosexual couples — or at least it’s supposed to work the same.

You may also want to keep in mind that the attitudes of your neighbors may reflect the aforementioned prejudices: you need to be ready for this, which is the one disadvantage to parenting when LGBTQ. Otherwise, your children are as likely to be raised in a stable home as they would if they were raised in a home with heterosexual parents!