Though marriage equality has been the law of the land for nearly five years, same-sex couples and LGBT individuals may still run into governmental resistance when trying to adopt children. Recently, a rule change proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services in November would allow faith-based adoption agencies that receive funding from taxes to reject prospective LGBT parents on religious grounds.
The unpopular rule change was the subject of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union filed in late 2019, the current status of which is unclear. Though the rule change does not prevent LGBT parents from adopting, it could make the process more difficult, especially in underserved areas.
To avoid the frustration and disappointment of rejection as a potential adoptive parent, it is important to find an adoption agency willing to work with LGBT parents. Here is what to look at when trying to discern whether an adoption agency is LGBT-friendly:
An organization’s advertising often reflects what is important to it. An LGBT-friendly adoption agency will likely include inclusive images in its advertising. On the other hand, an agency with advertising that only shows different-sex couples with children may not be willing to work with LGBT individuals and couples.
- Mission statement
Take a careful look at the agency’s mission statement. If helping LGBT parents is important to the organization, this should receive a specific mention.
Adopting a child requires a lot of paperwork, and some agencies may make required forms available online. Check the paperwork to see if it uses LGBT-inclusive wording.
- Non-discrimination statement
Many adoption agencies provide non-discrimination statements. Look at this carefully to see if it makes explicit statements regarding “gender identity” or “sexual orientation.”
It is worth pointing out that just because an adoption agency is faith-based, it does not automatically mean that it will discriminate against LGBT parents. However, any organization with an explicit affiliation with a particular religious group warrants careful scrutiny.