Finding proper foster parents for the many children living in state custody is an on-going battle. Some families are happy to take in foster children in the hopes they find a supportive environment until they are legally adopted. It takes a generous soul with a unique ability to overcome heart ache to offer a home of this sort. Other faster parents find they have grown so attached to their foster children that they adopt the children and remove themselves from the fostering system. Gay and lesbian couples didn’t always have the “right” to open their homes to foster children, but growing concern about children growing up in orphanages and group homes has forced the foster care system to open the doors to gay and lesbian couples.
Why Were Gay Men and Lesbians Not Allowed to Foster Children?
The foster care system is based on the same laws as the United States government. As little as 10 years ago, gays and lesbians were allowed no legal rights as couples or as parents. Great advances have come in the last 5 years when experts started realizing the positive impact gay and lesbian couples could have on the lives of children who otherwise would be lost in group care for all of their young lives.
Gay and lesbian couples who wish to be parents have the option to apply as foster parents. They will have to undergo the same rigorous application process complete with home visits and references. Once approved, foster children will be assigned to the home and parents given a stipend to help cover care and expenses.
Foster care is not a permanent situation and children can be removed from foster care for a variety of reasons. If the foster parents no longer wish to care for the child, they can ask for reassignment. Other reasons a child may be removed from the home include personal wishes of the child or restoration of parental rights.
Some children stay in foster homes for many years without ever being adopted by the foster parents. Others remain in a foster home for years only to be pulled from the home by a biological parent leaving the fostering couple devastated at the loss of a child.
Gay and lesbian couples who wish to open their homes as foster parents need only apply at the local agency for approval. Some states are more respectful of gay and lesbian rights and others are not.