Two Million GLB People Want to Adopt, Study Says
A major new study on GLB adoption and fostering has found that an estimated two million GLB people are interested in adopting. More than half of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians want to have a child. The study, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, by the Williams Institute at UCLA, also concluded that:
- More than one in three lesbians have given birth and one in six gay men have fathered or adopted a child.
- An estimated 65,500 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.
- More than 16,000 adopted children are living with lesbian and gay parents in California, the highest number among the states. [New York is second, with 7042.]
- Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the United States.
- Same-sex couples raising adopted children are older, more educated, and have more economic resources than other adoptive parents.
- Adopted children with same-sex parents are younger and more likely to be foreign born.
- An estimated 14,100 foster children are living with lesbian or gay parents.
- Gay and lesbian parents are raising three percent of foster children in the United States.
(The study does not look at transgender parents. Given its extensive use of government data sets (like the U.S. Census) that do not indicate gender identity, the omission is likely because of the limits of the data, not the inclusiveness of the researchers. There is clearly more work to be done here, however.)
The researchers reiterate many older facts about the negative effects on children when they are moved among many foster placements. They estimate that banning same-sex couples from fostering or adopting could displace 9,300 to 14,000 children nationwide, testing a system already strained for resources. (This is a worst case figure; it is unlikely all states would enact such bans. Still, even a fraction of this number is disturbing. We’re talking about children’s lives here.)
The economic impact of anti-GLB laws is striking:
- A national ban on GLB foster care could cost from $87 to $130 million.
- Costs to individual states could range from $100,000 to $27 million.
I don’t have to convince most of the readers here that bans on LGBT adoptive and foster parents benefit no one, least of all children. If you are involved in any kind of activism, however, or feel motivated to write to your politicians about this issue, a few well chosen stats from this study could lend weight to your arguments.