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Top Tips for LGBTQ Adoption: Building Loving LGBTQ+ Families

LGBTQ Adoption

Embracing the journey of LGBTQ adoption is a profound and heartwarming experience. However, this path can be filled with complexities, challenges, and joyous moments. To help you navigate this life-changing journey with confidence, here’s an expanded guide featuring valuable tips and information:

1. Know Your Rights and State Laws

One of the first steps in your adoption journey is understanding your rights and the legal landscape. It’s essential to know that LGBTQ+ individuals and couples have the legal right to adopt in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., thanks to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on June 26, 2015, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. However, nuances exist:


      • Research State Laws: While adoption rights are protected, some states have passed laws allowing child welfare agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ+ prospective parents based on religious objections. Familiarize yourself with your state’s specific adoption laws to be prepared for any potential challenges.

      • Choose LGBTQ+ Affirming Agencies: Despite potential discrimination, it’s still your legal right to adopt in every state. The key is to find LGBTQ+ affirming adoption agencies or professionals who support your family-building journey.

    2. Choose the Right LGBTQ Adoption Path

    Adoption offers multiple paths to parenthood, and it’s important to select the one that aligns best with your preferences and circumstances:

    Private Infant Adoption

    This path involves adopting a newborn within the United States. You have two primary options:

        • Agency Adoption: Work with a reputable adoption agency that guides you through the entire process, including finding potential birth parents.

        • Independent Adoption: Instead of relying on an agency, you can hire an adoption professional, typically an attorney, to handle the legal aspects while you manage other elements of your adoption journey.

      Key Differences:

          • The Work: Agencies handle most tasks for you, while independent adoption requires more hands-on involvement.

          • The Costs: Independent adoption costs can vary widely, while agency adoption typically falls within a specific range.

          • The Law: Independent adoption isn’t legal in all states, and where it is, certain restrictions may apply.


            • The Timeline: Both routes usually take around 24 months, start to finish.

            • The Process: Both paths prioritize the birth parents’ choice in selecting adoptive parents.

          International Adoption

          International adoption, or intercountry adoption, allows you to adopt a child from another country. However, there are important considerations:

              • Research Eligible Countries: Currently, only Columbia and South Africa allow out and proud gay single men and couples to adopt. 

              • Understand Hague Convention: International adoption has become more regulated due to the Hague Convention, signed by many countries in 1993. While this has improved child protection, it also means more stringent standards and potential delays in the process.


            Foster care adoption offers a unique opportunity to provide a forever home to children in need. Here are some insights:

                • Reunification Goal: The primary goal of the foster care system is to reunite children with their birth families. While you may hope to adopt, be supportive of this ultimate goal.

                • Consider Age and Needs: Approximately 25% of the 400,000 children in foster care have been “legally freed” for adoption, typically around the age of 8. Be prepared to adopt older children and those with specific needs.

                • Financial Support: Foster-adopt placements often come with resources, including a monthly stipend to cover expenses until the child reaches adulthood.

              3. Prepare for the Home Study

              The home study is a mandatory part of the LGBTQ adoption process. It involves thorough assessments of your suitability as an adoptive or foster parent:

                  • Comprehensive Evaluation: The home study examines various aspects of your life, from background checks and interviews with household members to physical and financial assessments.

                  • Emotional Preparation: Use the home study as an opportunity to prepare emotionally for the adoption journey. It addresses topics like race, identity, belonging, and responses to potential racial bias.

                4. Budget Wisely

                Adoption costs can vary significantly depending on the path you choose:

                    • Private Infant Adoption: Costs typically range from $35,000 to $50,000. These expenses cover your home study, legal documentation, counseling for birth mothers and families, post-placement support, and attorney fees.

                    • International Adoption: Be prepared for higher costs, including travel and lodging in the child’s home country, immigration and documentation expenses, and legal fees.

                    • Foster-Adopt: You do not have to pay for adopting children from the foster system, although in some states you may have to front legal fees that are reimbursable. 

                  Financial Resources:

                      • Adoption Tax Credit: Explore whether you qualify for this valuable tax credit to offset adoption expenses.

                      • Grants: Organizations like offer grants to LGBTQ+ adoptive parents, including singles and couples.

                      • Employer Benefits: Check if your employer provides adoption benefits and discuss the possibility of implementing such benefits with your human resources department.

                      • Crowdfunding: Some families successfully use platforms like GoFundMe or Indiegogo to raise funds for adoption.

                    5. Seek LGBTQ+ Affirming Agencies

                    Choosing the right adoption agency or professional is crucial for a smooth journey:

                        • Diversity and Inclusion: Opt for agencies that prioritize diversity and inclusion. They should proudly showcase LGBTQ+ families on their website and social media platforms.

                        • Community Engagement: Look for agencies that actively participate in LGBTQ+ family-building events hosted by local LGBTQ+ centers and non-profits.

                      6. Prepare for Cultural Differences

                      If you plan to adopt a child from a different racial or ethnic background, be proactive in addressing cultural differences:

                          • Family Dynamics: Discuss how you’ll navigate cultural disparities, and raise your child with a healthy identity and sense of self that is based on your background and their own.Try to maintain strong relationships with extended family on both sides.

                          • Religious and Spiritual Differences: Consider how you’ll handle any religious or spiritual differences when raising a child from another faith.

                        7. Embrace the Journey

                        While the LGBTQ adoption process can be emotionally challenging, it is incredibly rewarding:

                            • A Loving Environment: Create a nurturing and supportive environment for your adopted child, emphasizing that love knows no boundaries.

                          8. GWK Academy: Your Adoption Resource

                          Consider enrolling in GWK Academy, a comprehensive resource designed to support LGBTQ+ individuals and couples on their adoption journey:

                              • Informative Content: Access informative videos, webinars, blog posts, and more to enhance your knowledge and readiness for adoption.

                              • Mentor Connections: Connect with mentor dads who have successfully navigated the adoption process.

                              • Family-Building Partners: Receive introductions to vetted family-building partners from across the USA.

                            By following these top tips and taking advantage of available resources, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your gay adoption journey. Your commitment to providing a loving home to a child in need is a beautiful way to create a forever family, and the bonds you form will be just as strong as any biological connection. Embrace the path ahead with open hearts and open arms.

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