Adoption Gay Term Paper

Pages: 30 (10332 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 25  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Children

Gay Adoption

TOPIC: Term Paper on Adoption Gay Adoption Assignment

Adoption is an important social and legal process whereby children without parents are placed in homes and given full status as members of a family. Adoption goes beyond the sort of temporary placement that is common in foster homes and is seen to serve the needs of the children, to benefit the adoptive parents, and to strengthen society. Adoption for many people stands as the only viable option they have to become parents because they cannot conceive on their own, and yet there are usually far more children in need of adoptive parents than there are parents. Some children are harder to place than others, usually because they are older, and adoptive parents prefer small children as a rule. Children who have certain disabilities are even less likely to find a home, and race plays a role so that minority children are harder to place than white children because thee are more white parents looking to adopt. In the last few decades, the nature of adoption has changed with a broadening of who is accepted to be adoptive parents, allowing for the placement of more minority children in white homes (an issue with controversies of its own), for more single people to become adoptive parents, and in much of the country, for same-sex couples to adopt children. This last type of arrangement has engendered a good deal of opposition from groups opposed to rights for homosexuals, opposed to gay marriage in any form, concerned about the effect such a family might have on the children placed there, and so on. The passage of a law in Florida banning same-sex couples from adopting is the only such law in the nation at the present time, though other states may emulate it if certain activists have their way. The issue raised is whether this sort of ban makes any sense at all, whether the concerns raised have any validity, and whether evidence can be found that same-sex adoptions serve a need, do not harm, and serve the needs of children so placed. Much of the opposition to same-sex adoption is religious in nature or based entirely on suppositions about the harm that might be caused. Research should show the nature of the issue and how it should be decided.


Adoption research is a procedure followed in child welfare work. Earlier in the twentieth century, there were calls for research to assist in moving toward a scientific basis for child placement. However, the reality that has developed has not fulfilled this hope. The reason research in adoption has failed is the same reason that adoption itself has succeeded, and that is the near-ideological commitment of adoption administrators, advocates, and practitioners. Barth (1994) notes that adoption has been facilitated greatly by social workers. He'd also points out that certain aspects of the process never change given that social workers have particular biases and preferences about which choices they make. He states that adoptive placements have been affected by shifts in the perceptions of social workers, who at different times in recent decades have held strong preferences for adoptive parents who were married, middle-class or above, infertile and resolved about it, the same race as the adopted child, the same religion as the adopted child, seeking a child just like the adopted child, educated, younger than 40, and kin. Many social workers also take a stand in terms of same-sex parents and adoption, aided in some cases by the law, and in other cases in spite of legal decisions. Adoption requires the development of a permanent adoption plan, the termination of the biological rights of the parents, the placement of the child in a preadoptive home, and the legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive family. Social workers help develop the plan for adoption and serve to implement the plan as part of the process, which also involves lawyers and others in following through and protecting the rights of all involved.

Chippindale-Bakker and Foster (1996) note the parameters of adoption in Canada and the role of the social worker. There are three routes to adoption in the 1990s. The first is the traditional model of closed adoption placement where there is no contract between biological and adoptive parents and where social workers are responsible for all adoption planning and placement matters. The second form is semi-open adoption, and here the biological parents select the adoptive parents on the basis of non-identifying descriptive profiles. The social worker acts as a facilitator, taking the role of intermediary in the exchange of correspondence. In open adoption, the biological family meets and selects the adoptive family and then the families fully share information and maintain direct contact. The social worker is not required.

Curtis (1990) writes about in-depth interviews and participant observation conducted on how social workers influence birth mothers in the process of pregnancy counseling. The workers themselves appear to believe that they have little or no influence over a birth mother's decision to keep or give up her baby and believe that the decision to do so is largely dependent on the emotional capacity of the individual birth mother to tolerate the loss of the child. The workers recognize that they have the responsibility for seeing to it that the mother understands her position and how she reached the decision to keep or give up her baby.

Social workers are seen to have a particular role when the birth mother is an unmarried teen, and adolescent pregnancy and child rearing in the United States is recognized today as a health and social problem, one that is associated with other social problems, such as reduced educational attainment, underemployment, substance abuse, poor parenting, and welfare dependency. Yet, evidence has been found that professionals fail to initiate adoption dialogue even with teens, and the reason social workers so fail is because they lack necessary knowledge, have a personal belief in the general societal belief that adoption is not the appropriate action to take, believe that the client is not interested, and have preferences for nondirective counseling strategies (Custer, 1993).

Rosenthal and Groze (1994) examine a group of adoptive families involved in special-needs adoptions, referring to adoptions in which the child is older at adoptive placement, in which there is inadequate background information or unrealistic parental expectations, with a rigidity in family functioning patterns, facing low levels of support from relatives or friends, with a child with a history of physical or sexual abuse prior to adoption, where there has been psychiatric hospitalization prior to adoption, or in cases of adoptive placement with new adoptive parents rather than adoption by foster parents. Social agencies must make the effort to develop effective postadoption supports and services for children and families, and problems can ensue when this is not done. The key services to be considered include adequate health coverage, financial adoption subsidy, respite care, parent and child support and activity groups, services to help families plan for their child's future, family preservation services, and adoption-sensitive mental health services.

Social workers provide much of the information of importance in understanding the adoption process and its effects, though the research is still often insufficient to provide the answers required. Altstein et al. (1994) report on research in which social workers across the country reported on 350 families who adopted foreign-born children. Students were trained in interview techniques to gather much of this data. The interviewers reported that they believed that concerned social workers must be aware of their own feelings toward people who are of a different race or ethnicity. The social worker beliefs about preserving race and culture should not be transmitted to the adoptive family. Several students talked of the need for self-awareness as an essential part of professional practice.

Social workers are often faced with treating women who have given up an infant for adoption and who are experiencing unresolved grief. Mental health professionals have to understand the nature of this concern. One of the problems faced by these women has been a lack of social support, and the social worker can serve as a provider of such support when it is needed in order to forestall the grief problems many women experience. The birth mother needs to be helped to talk about her feelings to help her end her grief in a timely fashion (De Simone, 1996).

Rates of adoption vary over time, along with the characteristics of the population of children being adopted. It was reported in 1998 that adoptions of children with special needs had nearly doubled between 1986 and 1996, though overall adoptions dipped slightly in the 1990s. Statistics on adoptions varied from state to state. In 1997, adoptions of foreign-born children reached an all-time high (Wetzstein, 1999).

Census statistics from 2000, the last federal census taken, showed that there were 1,400,000 (1.4-million or 87% of all adoptions) that were domestic adoptions, with 200,000 (or 13% of all adoptions) of foreign-born children. The total number of adoptions in 2000 was 1,600,000.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Adoption Gay" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Adoption Gay.  (2007, September 30).  Retrieved October 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Adoption Gay."  30 September 2007.  Web.  26 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Adoption Gay."  September 30, 2007.  Accessed October 26, 2021.