LGBTQ Foster and Adoptive Parents
Many foster care and adoption agencies, both public and private, welcome the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ+) community as a valuable resource for infants, children, and youth in need of permanent families. Still, LGBTQ+ prospective foster and adoptive parents continue to face significant challenges related to adoption.
HOW DO I FIND AN AFFIRMING AGENCY?
Finding an agency with policies that align the needs of individual children with the capabilities of prospective parents will help ensure an affirming experience for you and your family. Consider asking other LGBTQ+ parents or caregivers in your community about their experiences; they may have agency recommendations or other advice to share. You can also search for LGBTQ+ parenting groups or contact your local LGBT+ community center.
To qualify as a LGBTQ affirming foster or adoptive parent the following criteria below include some of the general characteristics and qualities.
Be able to provide a safe, loving, and LGBTQ affirming home.
Be able to mentor and provide care and guidance to children on a daily basis.
Provide more than just hope and a potential future.
Understand you are making a life-long difference in the life of a child.
Remain patient and committed when caring for children.
Some additional attributes for becoming a LGBT Foster Parent are:
Prospective parents must be healthy enough to effectively care for a child and are required to submit medical clearance forms signed by a licensed and registered physician.
Are at least 21 years old to foster, and at least 18 years old to adopt. Maintain a working telephone. Live in a space that meets the State’s health and safety standards, and that can comfortably accommodate a child (or children). Foster or adoptive parents can live in apartments and houses and can rent or own their homes.
Have a source of income that demonstrates you have the financial resources to care for yourself and other members of your family who already reside in the home. Pass required background checks. In every foster and adoptive home, each member of the household (age 18 and older) must be fingerprinted and complete a clearance from the State Central Register for Abuse and Neglect.
What is an LGBTQ Affirming Home?
An LGBTQ affirming home is one where foster parents welcome all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) children and youth into their homes and encourage them to live authentically in all aspects of family life. It is also a place where all children and youth are treated with respect and dignity, and foster parents diligently work to meet their children’s specific needs.
As an Affirming Foster Parent, you will:
Encourage your LGBTQ child to speak openly and honestly about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity with family.
Welcome your LGBTQ child to participate in all family activities authentically.
Invite your LGBTQ child’s friends and/or partner to your home and to family events and activities.
Work with your community groups (i.e., faith and/ or social community groups) to become supportive of LGBTQ family members or find supportive community groups that welcomes your family and LGBTQ child.
When thinking about becoming a prospective parent, you should first and foremost consider whether you can make a positive impact on a child’s life. Provide a safe and loving home, take interest and mentor a child on some of the pressures they face. Help them grow into productive young people. While there are many misconceptions about being a foster or adoptive parent; (i.e., a foster parent needs to own rather than rent an apartment, be partnered, or married to someone from the opposite sex, have had prior parenting experience, etc.), here are the facts.
Eligibility to become a foster or adoptive parent is not limited by race, religion, gender identity, marital or partnership status, or sexual orientation.
As an affirming foster parent, you can meet your
LGBTQ child’s needs by
- Talking with your LGBTQ child about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
- Advocating for your LGBTQ child when they are mistreated because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
- Seeking assistance from a case planner or agency representative as needed to advocate for your
- LGBTQ child with respect to school bullying, accessing competent medical/mental healthcare, identifying support groups, etc. Bringing your family to LGBTQ organizations and/or events.
- Supporting your child’s gender expression, or the way they communicate their deeply felt sense of being male, female, both, or neither.
- Communicating regularly with the case planner and inform them of any issues, concerns or barriers to meeting the specific needs of your LGBTQ child if they occur.
Making a Difference as a LGBTQ Affirming Foster or Adoptive Parent
Becoming a LGBTQ affirming foster or adoptive parent is an extraordinary opportunity for outstanding individuals.
When thinking about becoming a prospective parent, you should first and foremost consider whether you can make a positive impact on a child’s life; provide a safe and loving home; take interest and mentor a child on some of the pressures they face; and help them grow into productive young people.
While there are many misconceptions about being a foster or adoptive parent, a foster parent needs to own rather than rent an apartment, have had prior parenting experience. Here are the facts; eligibility to become a foster or adoptive parent is not limited by race, religion, gender identity, marital or partnership status, or sexual orientation.
The All Children – All Families project of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation maintains a list of adoption agencies that support the LGBTQ+ community.
Child Welfare Information Gateway's National Foster Care and Adoption Directory provides information on support groups for prospective resource parents. While this list is not solely for LGBTQ+ families, it may help you become familiar with resources available in your area.
Information Gateway's Advocacy and Support Organizations for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Communities webpage also provides a list of national LGBTQ+ advocacy and support organizations.