A study of adoptive parents has found “no significant difference” in emotional problems experienced by children brought up by gay adoptive parents.
The US research, published in this month’s Adoption Quarterly, surveyed 1,384 couples, 155 of whom were gay.
All were asked about their family structures, the child’s history before being adopted, his or her current emotional state and family interactions.
While sexual orientation of parents was not found to be a factor in emotional problems, age and pre-adoptive sexual abuse were found to be the most likely indicators of distress.
The research was authored by Scott Ryan, the new dean of the University of Texas School of Social Work, and Paige Averett and Blace Nalavany, assistant professors of social work at East Carolina University.
Ryan commented: “Our research shows that there is no difference in children raised by gay or lesbian parents and heterosexual parents. People are people.”
He added that Florida has the only adoption system that specifically prohibits gay and lesbian persons from adopting children and asks all adoptive parents to sign an affidavit stating they are not gay. Yet gay and lesbian couples can be foster parents there, he said.
Texas allows gay and lesbian couples to adopt.
Averett said: “There are implications for social work educators, adoption professionals, and policy makers in this and other recent studies.
“We must pay attention to the data indicating that gay and lesbian parents are as fit as heterosexual parents to adopt, because at least 130,000 children are depending on us to act as informed advocates on their behalf.”
The factors which were found to increase a child’s happiness were a rise in annual income and parental satisfaction with the help received during the adoption process.