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LGBTQ Adoptive Parents and Their Children


Increasing numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) adults are becoming parents through adoption. The adoption of children by LGBTQ adults does, however, remain a controversial topic across the USA and around the world. Several questions have been raised in these debates. For instance, to what extent do LGBTQ adults make capable adoptive parents? Are children who have been adopted by LGBTQ parents growing up in healthy ways? What factors contribute to positive family functioning in adoptive families with LGBTQ parents? A growing body of social science research has addressed these questions over the past 10–15 years. Findings from this research suggest that LGBTQ adults are successful in adoptive parent roles and that their children are developing in positive directions. Research on these families has, however, been subject to criticism on methodological grounds, and the issues raised by such critiques are considered. In light of the existing literature, directions for future research are noted. Overall, the findings to date suggest that parental sexual orientation and gender identity and expression should not be deciding factors in placing children with permanent adoptive families. Contextual issues, as well as additional implications for the legal system and for child welfare agencies, are discussed.


  • Adoption
  • Adoptive families
  • Child development
  • Child welfare
  • Family functioning
  • Gender identity and expression
  • Parenting
  • Policy and law
  • Sexual orientation

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-35610-1_3
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  1. 1.

    In stepparent and second-parent adoptions, legal parenting status is created for an additional parent without terminating the rights or responsibilities of another legal parent (Patterson, 2013). Stepparent adoption requires parents to be in a legally recognized relationship (e.g., marriage); second-parent adoption does not (Movement Advancement Project, 2018a).

  2. 2.

    A home study is the in-depth evaluation that any prospective adoptive parent must complete in the USA as a requirement of the adoption process. It is intended as a way to educate and support parents throughout the adoption process and also to evaluate their fitness as potential parents (Mallon, 2011).


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Correspondence to Rachel H. Farr .

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Farr, R.H., Vázquez, C.P., Patterson, C.J. (2020). LGBTQ Adoptive Parents and Their Children. In: Goldberg, A., Allen, K. (eds) LGBTQ-Parent Families. Springer, Cham.

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