Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents: Issues and Concerns

It is important to address some issues and concerns about same sex adoption. While some of these issues and concerns are genuine, some are unfounded. Addressing these issues is the key to ensuring that same sex parents get the support to ensure that their adoption attempt is a success.

Sexual Orientation

According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation is one of the four components of sexuality. It is distinguished by enduring affectionate, sexual, romantic or emotional attractions to persons of a particular gender. Gender identity, biological sex and social sex role are the other three components of sexuality.

Generally sexual orientation comes out in the early adolescence stage without any previous sexual experiences. It deals with innate feelings and self concept and differs from sexual behavior. A person’s ability to understand the source of sexual orientation will depend on which side of the debate he is on. Some consider hormonal or genetic factors as the source of sexual orientation while for others it is early childhood life experiences. Others believe it is a result of a combination of social, psychological and biological facts.


Most people fear that a homosexual parent will abuse an adopted child of the same sex. This is a myth. Homosexuality has nothing to do with pedophilia. The chances of a homosexual parent abusing a child are the same as a heterosexual parent abusing a child. A study revealed that out of nearly 300 cases of child abuse, only two involved homosexual individuals. In cases where the victim was a male child, the abuser was in a heterosexual relationship with the boy’s mother or some other female relative in 74% of the cases. The study concluded that the chances of a child being sexually abused the heterosexual partner of his or her relative is 100 times greater than by a person who is a homosexual.

Taunts by Friends and Peers

Another worry is that children of same sex couples will be subject to taunts by friends and peers especially during the adolescence. Many believe this will psychologically affect the children. Same sex couples are aware of the problems the child may face. Most have dealt with prejudice themselves. Many see it as an opportunity to allow their children to grow as human beings. In cases of child custody, the courts look upon the fact that the child may be subject to taunts by other children due to the sexual orientation of a parent as being against the best interest of the child claiming that the stigma of having a homosexual parent will lower the child’s self esteem. Many studies have proved this wrong. In fact studies have shown that the chances of a child having same sex parents being teased is the same as a child with heterosexual parents.

Despite this, many social workers and even same sex couples or gay and lesbian individuals wanting to adopt a child often wonder if the adoption is in the child’s best interest. According to Abby Ruder, who is a lesbian adoptive mother, some children, especially older ones who have preconceived notions about homosexuality find it difficult to accept a homosexual parent. Younger children tend to adjust easily as they haven’t been exposed to the societal biases against homosexuals. If the child being adopted in an older child, the parents’ sexual orientation should be disclosed to the child and if the child is comfortable with the sexual orientation, the social worker can proceed with the formalities of the adoption. If the child is a young child, same sex parents should decide how and when they will explain about their sexual orientation to the child. It’s a complex matter and should be addressed delicately.

Children of Same Sex Parents Will Become Homosexuals

This is another myth. There is enough evidence to show that children of homosexual parents and children of heterosexual parents have equal chances of becoming homosexuals. If there is no guarantee that the children of heterosexual parents will become heterosexuals, there can be no guarantee that the children of homosexual parents will become homosexuals.

There have been many studies on these issues. No study has revealed any evidence that having homosexual parents can affect the sexual identity of the children.


There have been widespread concerns that having same sex parents can adversely affect the self esteem, peer and social relationships and the psychological and personal development of the children. Numerous studies have concluded that children of same sex parents are no different from children of heterosexual parents. In fact there is not a single study that has concluded that children of same sex parents are significantly disadvantaged compared to children of heterosexual parents.

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