I can’t tell you how many people have asked me why Sara and I aren’t adopting. The question comes at very different times and from very different conversations. Sometimes, it will be after a conversation about the struggles of IVF and all that is involved with this fertility method. Other times, it stems from a conversation others are having about adoption and is usually in some sort of “Have you ever thought about it?” inquiry. And occasionally, it’s a flat-out, “Why aren’t you just adopting?”
I don’t mind the question-asking about my fertility journey. I truly don’t. In fact, I welcome it because I believe my answers lead others to a better understanding about gay families. But this question has started getting under my skin. Could you imagine asking your straight coworker after she announces that she and her husband are expecting, “How come you’re not adopting?” Don’t get me wrong: I think adoption is a beautiful and noble road to parenthood. It’s just not everybody’s road to parenthood. And while plenty of gay families adopt their children, there are many reasons and roadblocks why others do not — or cannot.
After the jump, find out a few reasons why all gay couples don’t “just adopt.”
Adoption by Gay Couples Isn’t Legal in a Majority of U.S. States 1 of 6Only 18 states and Washington, D.C. legally permit gay couples to adopt. While a gay person can sometimes adopt a child on their own -- without their spouse or partner -- that leaves the child with only one legal parent where there should otherwise be two, and the legal ramifications of that are endless. The states listed here allow joint adoption by a gay couple: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhose Island, Vermont, and Washington State. Gay couples in Colorado and Minnesota have successfully petitioned to adopt in some jurisdictions.
Source and Photo Credit: Human Rights Campaign
Many International Adoption Agencies Don’t Allow Gays to Adopt 2 of 6There are 14 countries worldwide, and a handful of jurisdictions, that legally permit gay couples to adopt, which means that the majority of the world doesn't allow gays to adopt. This greatly limits the choice of available international adoption agencies for gay couples to use.
The Language of the Law is Very Unclear 3 of 6Vague language can often be one of the biggest hurdles a gay couple faces when looking to adopt. The vagueness of some state laws gives individual judges and adoption agencies the ability to interpret and decide for themselves if gay couples should adopt. And the wording of other state law -- like that of Utah -- makes adoption by gays impossible without expressly banning it, as the law there states that no two people not legally married may adopt, and Utah both disallows gays to marry and doesn't recognize gay marriages from other states.
Some Religiously Affiliated Adoption Agencies Don’t Adopt to Gay Couples 4 of 6Many adoption agencies are religiously affiliated and some won't place an adoptive child with a gay couple. In fact, a Catholic charity in Illinois chose to close down instead of let gays adopt. Again, this limits the options for gay families, especially those with strong religious beliefs (yes, they do exist) who wish to adopt from a religiously based agency.
Source: It's Conceivable
We Have the Right to Have Biological Children 5 of 6Countless gay men and women wish -- just like their straight peers -- to raise biological children. There seems to sometimes be this idea that adopting the unwanted children of the world is the duty of the infertile and of the gays, and that is simply absurd. Gay people (and those with fertility issues) have just as much right to have biological children as anyone.
Photo: 123RF Stock Photo
Adoption is Expensive 6 of 6"But people do it all the time, it can't be that much!" Every family's financial situation is different, but many choose not to spend their child's college fund on the adoption process, some simply do not have the money to put up-front for adoption, and others decide not to start their family off in debt. Having children is expensive as it is; some gay families simply cannot afford to adopt, especially with the extra hurdles many have to go through.
Photo: 123RF Stock Photo
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right