Editor’s Note: Adam Pertman is Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national nonprofit that is the preeminent research, policy and education organization in its field. He is also the author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America. Pertman sat down with dot429 to discuss LGBT adoption, explaining the progress and the trials and tribulations.
There are claims that gay parents are unfit for parenthood. What is your response to these claims?
Pertman: Those claims are made by people who are either uninformed or homophobic.
What are the benefits for our country and for society when more LGBT parents adopt?
Pertman: The principle benefits are for children. We often look at this as an adult issue. Of course, all adults should have the same rights, but in terms of benefits, you can have children any way you want, such as by surrogacy or adoption. The fact is, there are lots of lesbian and gay people who want to give homes to children, so the real victims when that isn’t allowed to happen are the kids who wind up in temporary or group care or some other less advantageous situation. Yes, we should be working for equal rights for all, but the bottom line is, we’re here for the kids.
The number of LGBT people adopting is on the rise. What are the statistics?
Pertman: There’s no question that the number is rising. You don’t have to go back very long to get to a time when there were no out/open lesbian or gay adoptions. It was “don’t ask, don’t tell,” or “don’t ask, and I won’t tell.” At some point in very recent history, the number of public gay adoptions increased by 100 percent, and we’ve been going up ever since. It’s happening from state to state and coast to coast. The more it happens, the more the trend fuels itself. People feel more comfortable doing it, they see more and more that qualified LGBT people can be good parents.
Is it more expensive for an LGBT couple to adopt? Is the process more invasive to their personal lives, and is it more difficult to pass adoption qualifications?
Pertman: The answer is probably sometimes. I don’t think there’s an answer across the board. Certainly, with adoptions from foster, money is not the issue. Sometimes roadblocks exist, no questions asked. Like most cultural revolutions, the people who are coming out, coming into the mainstream, face obstacles along the way. Women did, blacks did (they still do, by the way), and gays do. The good news is I think this revolution will move quickly. We see it in marriage and “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” I’m not saying we’re there yet, but the progress is substantial, real, and in historical terms, very rapid.
There are more interview questions. To read the full interview, click here