Gay Adoption

Adoption Advertising: What Gay Dads Should Know

Gay men pursuing an independent adoption may look to "advertise" to potential birth families. But the laws vary state to state.

Many gay men and couples opt to pursue an independent adoption for the freedom it provides. Rather than leave the work to find a birth family to an agency, independent adoptions allow adoptive families to be active participants in the search process. Often, this involves conducting extensive outreach or "advertising" placing notices in newspapers, on radio or online to help adoptive families connect with birth families.


Conducting outreach in this way can be a useful tool for gay men and couples interested in pursuing an independent adoption. In particular, it can provide gay men with an opportunity upfront about their sexual orientation, and connect with birth families that will embrace the idea of gay dads.

However, the extent to which adoptive parents are allowed to advertise varies widely by state. See below for more information on where your state falls:

States That Forbid Advertising in Adoption Proceedings

In 16 states — Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah — state law expressly prohibits advertising in adoption proceedings. Statutes in these states generally prohibit adoptive parents from advertising on any "public medium," including radio. The prohibition typically extends to adoption "intermediaries," who are professionals that help connect birth families with prospective adoptive parents. (Check out our glossary of adoption terms every gay man should know.)

Needless to say, pursuing an independent adoption in states that prohibit advertising can make the process much more difficult. Often, prospective adoptive parents pursuing independent adoptions in these states must already be connected to the birth family in some manner, which precludes the need for advertising.

States That Allow Advertising in Adoption Proceedings

At least 16 states — Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas*, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin – have laws on the books that specifically allow advertising in adoption proceedings. It's important to read each statute closely, however, as some detail certain requirements that must be met in order to legally advertise.

Colorado and Connecticut, for instance, require all adoption proceedings to occur via a state certified agency. Adoption professionals in agencies are allowed to advertise on your behalf, but you or an independent intermediary cannot do so on your own.

Other states, including Kansas and Mississippi, don't necessarily prohibit an intermediary from advertising on behalf of adoptive parents, but they do require those adoption professionals to state whether or not they are licensed, and by what agency. Some jurisdictions, such as North Carolina and Oklahoma, require adoptive parents to first complete a valid home study before engaging in any advertising.

States Without Regulations on Advertising in Adoption Proceedings

The last 18 states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming — and the District of Columbia have no laws on the books with respect to adverting in adoption proceedings. The lack of a law expressly prohibiting outreach has generally been interpreted to mean that adoptive parents, and any intermediary working on their behalf, are free to advertise as they see fit.

Still, adoption laws are constantly changing, and there is nothing stopping these states from enacting advertising restrictions at some point in the future. So regardless of the state you live in, be sure to check with your lawyer regarding the laws in your state prior to engaging in any advertising or outreach. And be sure you ask your adoption attorney (or agency) these 5 questions.

*The information included above is educational, and is not meant as a substitute for legal advice.*

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

Demolition Daddies: These Gay Dads Recently Appeared on House Hunters Renovation

The dads say their star turn on the popular HGTV show is all thanks to their two-year-old son, Theo, who charmed the producers

"I'm really not sure what our lives were like before having our son," pondered Matt. "I remember always doing stuff, but I have no idea how I wasted all that personal time that I find so precious now. I took so many showers without someone trying to pull all the towels down to make a bed on the bathroom floor. It must have been nice, but also wasn't as memorable."

Matt DeLeva and fiancé Joseph Littlefield met in 2014 at a Pride event at the San Diego Zoo, and have a 2-year-old son Theo through adoption. For this Los Angeles-based couple, and like many others, becoming dads was an emotional rollercoaster. Before being matched with Theo's birth family, they had two other connections with birth moms that didn't work out. "Each was upsetting," said Matt. "When you talk to birth mothers, you start to get excited and mentally plan your future. When it doesn't work out, it feels like a loss."

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Meet the Gay Dad Running For Common Council in South Bend, Indiana

Move over Mayor Pete Buttigieg! South Bend, Indiana may soon have another gay politico in the form of Alex Giorgio-Rubin, a dad of a 12-year-old adopted son.

You've probably heard of Pete Buttigieg, the young gay mayor running to be the Democratic nominee to challenge President Trump in 2020. But the town of South Bend, Indiana, may soon have another gay politico rising star in the form of Alex Giorgio-Rubin, a dad to a 12-year-old son.

Alex is running for a seat on South Bend's Common Council, in part, he says, to help make all families – including ones like his own – feel welcome.

As an out, married, gay dad, living in a Jewish household, raising a son who is on the Autism spectrum, Alex feels he can offer a unique perspective. "We come from the state that produced Mike Pence," said Alex. "We come from the state that made national headlines because of a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation; it's fair to say that the cards are stacked against my family, and many, many other families like mine."

Alex, who is currently a stay-at-home dad raising his adopted son, 12-year-old Joseph, is married to Joshua Giorgio-Rubin, a Senior English Lecturer at the Indiana University of South Bend. The two have been together for six years.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Two British 'Poofs' Blog About Their Journey to Fatherhood Via Adoption

In their blog "Two Poofs and a Pudding," Tim and Darran write about their adoption journey as same-sex parents in the U.K.

Tim and Darran met online in December 2015. They met for a drink on December 18, and by New Year's Eve they were "official." When the subject of becoming dads came up, they were both excited but at a loss as to where to start. In 2017, after deciding adoption was the right path for them, they began their journey and in the process, started a website to chronicle their experience and to help others who were considering same-sex adoption in the UK: Two Poofs and a Pudding. Fast forward 18 months, their "Pudding" is at home with his dads. Here's their experience with the UK adoption journey, so far.

Keep reading... Show less
Foster/Foster-Adopt

This Gay Couple Was Inspired to Become Foster Dads Thanks to the Show "The Fosters"

Matthew and Brian say they used to feel like "unicorns" as gay foster dads. They're happy to see more LGBTQ couples take the plunge into the foster system.

Matthew Hamparian and his husband Brian Lawrence have been together for over 18 years and live in Columbus, Ohio. "We had talked about children for a long time," shared Matthew. They were inspired by the show "The Fosters," and watched it regularly as one of the staffers of the show was a friend of Brian's. In one of the episodes, Matthew remembers a conversation between a foster child and the biological child of his foster parents. The foster child asks if he was okay with the fact that he had to share his home with foster siblings. He responds that he is okay with it, because he and his family have enough of everything.

"It was very meaningful to us as we were both raised that when you got up the ladder, you threw the ladder back," explained Matthew.

Keep reading... Show less

Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Learn How These Dads Used Social Media to Find Their Surrogate

In the latest "Broadway Husbands" vlog, Bret and Stephen discuss the rather unconventional way in which they found their surrogate: through a Facebook group.

In this, the Broadway Husbands' sixth video, Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna discuss the rather unprecedented process they went through to find their surrogate. The lucky couple also chat about winning an "Intended Parents" competition, which granted them the free services of a surrogacy agency who is now helping guide them (and their new surrogate!) on their journey.

In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Gay Single Dads Defend Andy Cohen's Right to Be on Grindr

After the Internet rushed to judge Andy Cohen for signing onto Grindr a couple of weeks after welcoming his newborn son home, fellow single gay dads rushed to his defense.

Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Well, suffice it to say that this judgment from people who are presumably not single gay dads of Andy Cohen certainly struck a nerve with our gay dad audience! We received well over 100 comments on this post on Facebook, the vast majority of them coming to Cohen's defense. We caught up with two fellow single gay dads to find out why the story struck a nerve.

"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

FOLLOW OUR FAMILIES

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse