Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents: Life After Adoption

When gay and lesbian couples or individuals adopt a child, the finalization of the adoption does not mean the end of the unique concerns and issues. Here are some issues that must be addressed after the adoption.

Explaining sexuality

A discussion on sexuality takes place in every family sometime or the other. For same sex couples, this is a very sensitive topic to discuss. All families share the same core values of commitment, understanding, respect and love regardless of the sexual orientation of the parents. When talking to children, the parents must emphasize these values and recognize that the world is full of different communities, cultures and families. According to the Family Pride Coalition, parents should:

• Be honest about their identity and comfort level

• Let the children know that it is hard for them to talk about the topic (if they find it difficult)

• Listen to the child and let the child take the lead where possible by asking questions

• Be clear about their sexuality and family values

• Disclose information depending on the child’s age and maturity

Getting support

Once the adoption process is completed, it time to get down with the realities of family life. Like any other adoptive parents, same sex parents must incorporate the child into their lives and ensure a smooth transition for the child. Beside source of advice would be other same sex couples who have adopted children. There are also many support groups. Being part of such support groups help new same sex adoptive parents to realize how to cope with the issues as and when they come up.

There are many such support groups across the nations. The Philadelphia Family Pride has over 250 same sex families as members in the Delaware Valley. Besides being a platform for same sex couples to meet one another, these support groups also work with teachers and other who interact with the children. They organize conferences and meetings and spread awareness through newsletters, articles and books. Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE) is a network of older children of same sex parents.

For a family, a support network of friends and relatives is very important. Many same sex couples and homosexual individuals who have adopted have found that while their own parents had a tough time accepting their sexual orientation, their parents easily accept their new role as grandparents.

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