Same Sex Adoption – Where Couples Stand

Right now, couples seeking a same sex adoption is more common and widely accepted than at any other time in history.  To live in an era of such freedom and social acceptance is quite fortunate to say the least – a far cry from just a few decades ago where the concept of gay and lesbian couples adopting children would have seemed quite alien.

At the time of the census in the year 2011, approximately 64,575 same-sex couple families were known to be living in Canada – an incredible 300% increase from 2006. The survey also showed that around 9.4% of same-sex couples had children at home, while over 80% of all same-sex couples with children in the country were female couples.

Unique Challenges

Despite the fact that the world’s attitudes toward same sex relationships and adoption of children may have changed quite dramatically over recent years, gay couples interested in adoption continue to face very specific and unique challenges.  Regardless of the enormous strides made by both governmental organizations and private adoption agencies to ensure all couples are considered fairly, there remains an underlying degree of prejudice in some areas and in certain circles which can pose difficulties for same-sex couples.  Nevertheless, it has never been more possible or plausible for any same-sex couple in an ideal position to adopt, to do exactly that. It’s all about knowing where to turn for completely honest, open and fair advice.

Available Channels

In terms of going about the adoption process, there are technically four different ways of approaching things which are:

  • ♦ Public Adoption – The Children’s Aid Society connects children living in foster care with adoptive families.
  • ♦ Private Adoption – Adoption professionals connect parents or expectant parents with adoptive families directly.
  • ♦ International Adoption – A process whereby children from overseas are adopted by families in Canada.
  • ♦ Relative Adoption – The adoption of a child by a close relative or step-parent.

Just like all other prospective parents, gay and lesbian couples have successfully adopted children via all four of the above channels and are legally entitled to the same opportunities and assistance as anyone else.  Unfortunately, the process can be made unnecessarily difficult in certain instances as expectant parents do not always agree with same-sex couple adoption, with exactly the same being said for many overseas adoption agencies.

While it may all appear to be a rather foreboding process on the surface, there are ways and means by which things can be given the best opportunity of running smoothly and problem-free.  The following tips for example may come in handy for same-sex couples looking to adopt though unaware of how and where to begin the search for their new child.

Study Laws and Regulations

It’s worth remembering that where you are will play perhaps the biggest role of all in determining your success when looking to adopt as a same-sex couple.  Along with studying all applicable laws and regulations, it is also worth researching general attitudes towards and statistics on the subject of same-sex adoption.

Consider All Adoption Types

While it’s probably true to say that most couples with an interest in adoption already have a preferred adoption type in mind, to limit yourself in such a way is to significantly reduce your chances of success.  The simple fact of the matter here is that the more types of adoption you are willing to consider, the more children in need of loving parents you will gain access to, and with whom you can become acquainted.

International Adoptions

If you are considering looking into an international adoption, Egale Canada offers a wealth of information on the process.

 Agency Choice

When it comes to avoiding any potential prejudice or roadblocks, there is nothing more important than making sure you work with the right agency.  Both governmental and private advisory services alike suggest that same-sex couples interested in adopting should make every effort to reach out to other gay and lesbian couples who have successfully adopted.  Rather than just choosing an agency at random, it is far more beneficial to head directly for an agency with a recent history of assisting same-sex couples you may already know personally.

Go With Your Gut

Following on the prior point, it is important to trust your first impressions and go with your gut if you begin to suspect that you are working with an agency with even the slightest degree of prejudice, or a tendency to make you jump through seemingly unnecessary hoops.  The problem is that no matter how far you may get through the process, if the agency in question has no real intention of allowing things to be approved, this is all time wasted that you could have spent with a more tolerant agency.

Seek Support

This can also be a great time to reach out to LGBT advocacy organizations and the support groups often established by adoption agencies themselves for those in need of support and guidance.  It’s inevitable that there will be certain rules, regulations and ever-present red tape that you yourself may not be aware of, so the larger the support system you build for yourself and your partner, the better your chances of being able to confidently address any issues you may encounter.

Costs

Prior to moving forward with any route to adoption, it is important to consider that each comes with its own specific costs.  Of course the exact costs vary exponentially in one direction or the other depending on the circumstances, but in most instances need not be cause for great concern.

In Canada, public adoption does not usually attach any costs at all, but can range from $0 – $3,000. Relative adoption cost are set and agreed to privately, though again the process is usually at a minimal cost. International adoption tends to be the most expensive of all (ranging from $20,000 – $30,000), followed by private adoption, which can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.

In Summary

So the long and short of it for same-sex couples interested in adopting a child is that in this day and age, any couple living in ideal circumstances has the same rights to apply and qualify for adoption, regardless of their sexual orientation.  And that’s good news for everyone.