Gay parenting, lesbian parenting, single parenting and heterosexual parenting all come with the same set of difficulties in terms of child development, mood swings, stages and conflict. The only thing lesbians, single parents and heterosexual couples have that gay men do not, is the support of the adoption system. In the past 10 to 15 years, gay couples have gradually become a significant part of the foster care and adoption system. At first, lesbians were the only gay parents to adopt, but gay men soon started easing social workers into the idea that gay men can be parents too.
There is a quote about adoption that sums up the needs of the adoption system. “…adoption is not about starting a child – it’s about taking over and parenting damaged children, and that’s a skill”, says Paul a gay father of two boys. Paul goes on to say, “There was a lot of prejudice in the adoption system, even though it's not allowed and the law states you must treat everyone the same and with respect.”
Gay parenting is relatively new to social workers and the state childcare system. As few as 10 years ago, gay male parents may not have attempted to even begin the application process involved with adoption. Surrogacy, or asking a female friend to carry a biological child, would have been more favorable than facing persecution from the state childcare system. Today, men are taking a stand against the prejudices because they want others to believe what they have always known – gay men are great fathers too.
The legal process for adoption starts with a social worker meeting. If the meeting goes well, the social worker can start the application process. It can take 18 months to two years for a gay male couple to be approved as applicants for adoption. After the applications have been approved, the couple must then be matched up with a foster child or other child available for adoption. Most often, gay male couples are forced to adopt on the bottom of the list. Older children and sibling groups tend to fall on the bottom of the list. Adoptive parents want babies and infants before older children.
Is it harder to become a gay male adoptive parent, but it is certainly not harder to love a child. Gay male couples are adopting more often today than ever before and with at least 28 states passing second parent adoption rights, both dads can be legal guardians.