Gay Adoption

How Hard Is It For Gay Men to Adopt a Baby?

It's one of the most common questions that gay men considering fatherhood ask: how hard is it to adopt a baby?

As a social worker and new gay dad, the two questions I'm most often by people interested in domestic infant adoption are these: Is it hard to adopt a baby? How long will it take?

These are dreaded questions for an adoption social worker. When I disclose to a prospective client that my husband and I adopted a baby, they are always curious about how hard the process was and how long it took us. My answers are usually, “yes! It was hard, but not for the reasons you think" and “It happened a lot sooner for us than many, but often the amount of time it takes to adopt a baby is up to the prospective adoptive parent(s)."

Can I adopt a baby internationally?

I can go on for days regarding logistical difficulties in adopting a baby, whether it's internationally, domestically, or from the foster care system. The short answer is adopting a baby internationally is rare, especially if the prospective adoptive parent(s) are requesting a baby with little to no special needs.

Can I adopt a baby from foster care?

Adopting a baby in foster care is even more rare; unless the prospective adoptive parents started as foster parents, and undertake the emotional risk of growing attached to the child, only to have that child reunited with their birth family. Typically, the primary goal for a young child in foster care is reunification with their biological family. By the time parental rights are terminated and the child is legally free for adoption (especially in New York State), the child is a few years older.

How do I adopt a baby domestically?

Adopting a baby domestically, whether through an agency or an adoption attorney and social worker, is also no easy task. Of course, the steps prospective adoptive parents must take to become a "waiting family" (a.k.a. home study approved and currently waiting to be matched with a prospective birth mother) are difficult. Obtaining all the necessary documents, having fingerprints taken, background checks, references, birth certificates, marriage licenses, home visits, required trainings...it's a lot! The waiting period can be excruciatingly difficult, both from a financial and emotional perspective. Weeks or even months may go by without a peep from a worker or from a prospective birth parent.

What's the hardest part of the adoption journey?

Personally, and professionally speaking, one of the hardest parts of adopting a baby is after you have been matched with a prospective birth mother. The days, weeks, and months leading up to the baby's birth can feel like years, decades and centuries. This is especially true if the adoption is a semi-open or a totally open adoption, which is a whole separate topic.

Legally, a birthmother cannot sign surrender documents until after the child is born and in many states, days after the birth. It's during this time, regardless of how long you have been matched, my clients share that this is the most difficult part of the entire process. It's during this time that I've had clients call or email me asking what they should be saying or how often they should reach out to the prospective birth mother without seeming annoying and desperate. There is so much anxiety and fear during this time. It's immeasurable and unequivocally the hardest part. You begin to question if you said the wrong things and ask "Why haven't I heard from her?", "Should I maybe ask her if she got my text?", "Can I ask her if she's taking care of herself and the baby?" Please do not ask her these questions. This part of the adoption journey is probably one of the most agonizing and scary for a prospective adoptive parent, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel!

It's also during this time that you begin to develop a relationship with a woman who has decided to place her child with you and there is no better gift than that. She may ask you to accompany her at doctor's appointments and she may talk to you about her life and life circumstances that lead to her decision to make an adoption plan. This information will become invaluable as your child grows and begins to ask questions about his or her birth family.

So, the answer to the question, "is it hard to adopt a baby?": Yes! You have no idea how hard...but it's absolutely worth it!

Visit Mark's website and Facebook page, also you can follow him on Instagram as well.

Have a question you want one of our experts to answer as part of our Ask An Expert advice column? Send an email with your question to dads@gayswithkids.com with “Ask An Expert" in the subject line.

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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.

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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.

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Gay Dad Life

New Dad Andy Cohen Uses Today Show Appearance to Talk About Complications Facing Gay Men on Path to Parenthood

New dad Andy Cohen talked about the challenges facing many gay men when trying to decide between adoption and surrogacy

Bravo's Andy Cohen, who recently became a new dad via surrogacy, has wasted no time drawing attention to many of the complicated choices facing gay men on their paths to parenthood. During a recent appearance on the Today Show, hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb asked him how he made made the decision between adoption and surrogacy.

Cohen noted, first, that he was lucky to have the means to do surrogacy, which costs an average of $120,000. But he also noted there would have been complications on his path, no matter which route he had chosen. Surrogacy, he noted, is not legal in all 50 states. "It's incredible to me, as I've now learned, that surrogacy isn't legal in all 50 states," he said. "It's illegal in New York and New Jersey, which is why I went to California."

Cohen then also drew attention to the difficulty many LGBTQ people face trying to adopt. Though he stated it was "illegal to adopt" for gay people in certain places, this is technically not true. (The Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling in 2015 paved the way for LGBTQ people to adopt, legally, in all 50 states, but some states have since passed laws that make it legal for state-licensed welfare agencies to discriminate against LGBQT people on the basis of religion).

Still, we applaud Cohen, who also recently opened up to People Magazine about his journey to fatherhood, for using his platform to speak out about challenges facing gay men who want to become dads.

Watch the whole segment here.

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.

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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.

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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?"


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