Addicted to novelty since 2001

Gay Couples, Adopt Away

My friend Sarah Carey is usually pretty rational and intelligent. However, she recently wrote a wrong-minded piece about why homosexual men shouldn’t adopt. Perhaps all that time beyond the pale is idling her brain?

My gut tells me that when you are homosexual you’re kinda cut out of the whole reproduction game. I know one hasn’t chosen this but still, its one of the downsides. I think its a consequence that gay couples just have to live with it. I come to this from a position of feeling that it is the ultimate in misogyny to have a relationship which excludes women but want the benefits of our wombs.

In case you’re wondering, she also writes off lesbians and single parents who want to adopt.

Sarah is, of course, deeply wrong about this:

  • On paper, gay couples will make better parents. They’ve got more money, are better educated and less likely to commit a crime.
  • One male parent and one female parent guarantees nothing–any pair of imbeciles can have a child. When you adopt, you face a thorough evaluation and a certain Darwinism applies. Because all prospective gay parents will face this examination, the average gay parent will likely be far more adept and prepared than the average straight one.
  • Most importantly, if we can improve the life of any orphaned child, don’t we have a moral obligation to do so? Even accepting Sarah’s ridiculous argument that straight couples are ideal, wouldn’t gay people and single parents offer a preferable future than the orphanage? Enabling them to adopt means thousands of children get parents and the prospect of a much better life. Who would deny them that?

Sarah writes that "I am not just not sure that the concept of everyone having a ‘right’ to be a parent is sound." I couldn’t agree more, but why is she picking on homosexuals? Walk around the north side of Dublin among the teenage mothers and you’ll see that the minimum requirement of an egg and sperm is a lousy standard.

Speaking of adoption, I recently listened to an engaging podcast of an article on Slate. It’s by a new (heterosexual) father who adopted a baby girl from Kazakhstan.

37 Responses to “Gay Couples, Adopt Away”

  1. Johnny K

    I know that this is slight off-topic, but you make it sound like the “north side” is the only place where teenage pregnancy occurs, which of course is not the case.

  2. jd

    i once saw this interesting program about gay couples and their newly adopted kids. not sure if this is special to one state or the whole country, but someone on the show mentioned that most of the older kids needing homes (maybe 4 to 9 years old) were black. so, a lot of white gay couples actually get paired up with black children.

    on the show there was this one gay man, black, who hated the idea of white homosexuals raising black children. it was a real issue for him, because he felt white parents could not understand black children, nor could they properly prepare them for life in America.

    his partner was white and their adopted son was black.

    regardless of the complexity of their situation, they made a rather loving family.

  3. Darren

    John: That wasn’t my intent. The north side of Dublin just has a high density of them, so it provides a frequent illustration of the issue.

  4. alexis

    I completely agree with your argument. I think that there are a lot of kids out there who need good families and good parents and I think anyone who wants to provide a home should be allowed to.

    One argument that people often make is that being raised by two men or two women, or one parent will be detrimental to a child’s development in terms of gender relationships. I say, bullshit. People don’t live in vacuums. For example, a gay couple will probably have female friends and relatives and the child can be exposed to many positive role models.

  5. alexis

    I meant that any loving person who wants to provide a home should be allowed to. There are a lot of people out there who just shouldn’t have kids. I see bad parents in the bookstore all the time and I feel so sorry for their children.

  6. degan

    Oh man, when are people going to wake up and realize that a child in a loving home – any loving home – is in the best possible place. As you’ve said, an egg and sperm might result in a pretty harsh home life, while 2 gay men that have planned and prepared a loving home for a child might be a wonderful family. It all comes down to individual compassion and responsibility rather than gender.

  7. donna

    There are more kids who need homes than people who want to adopt. Therefore, if we can find good homes for these kids, take it. Doesn’t matter if the parent(s) is/are gay, straight, black, purple, green, invisible. If they’re good people who meet the *rational* requirements, why would you deny a child the chance of a happy upbringing, rather than one shunted from foster home to foster home?

    One of the commenters on the original post said that “gay people choose to be gay.” and that she “chose to be heterosexual”. No, you didn’t. You chose to live a heterosexual lifestyle, but you were stuck with a heterosexual orientation. And lucky you, it matched up with what you actually were. Some homosexual couples chose to live heterosexual lifestyles, and most of them are miserable.

    So… would that be better? Get the gay man to find a nice girl who will make him (and her) completely miserable because it’s not what they actually want. Yeah, that’s a much better home to raise a child in.

  8. Luc

    Any straight couple, married or just hooked up for the night, can accidentally make a baby. Accidentally. And by law, they can choose to keep that child and raise her pretty much any way they want. Or they can get rid of her too. They can adopt her out or even get an abortion. (BTW, I’m not against abortion)

    We queers can’t “accidentally” get pregnant. If we want kids, the process we go through is deliberate and planned and scrutinized like you wouldn’t believe. Gays who end up with kids actually WANT to have kids in the first place. No kid in a gay or lesbian home is ever an accidental or unwanted member of the family.

    Having kids is such a disposable afterthought in our society – as is marriage – yet these narrow-minded types insist on their “sanctity” and persist in telling us how much better they are at it than gays could be.

  9. Sarah Carey

    hi everyone. The only compelling argument I’ve heard so far is the one that where there are children in need of homes, a gay couple are totally capable and should not be prevented from providing that home. I think what was bugging is how adoption has been adopted, so to speak, by the gay rights movement. I think there is a difference between a child having a right to a loving home and a gay couple having a right to a child. In fact I think Gerry has just articulated my view better than I did over on GUBU.
    Surely there must be something in this..I know you didn’t choose to be gay, but by virtue of your homosexuality (no judgement….)reproduction isn’t an option. As Gerry points out, its not the same for heterosexual couples who discover they are infertile because they intended to reproduce.

  10. Luc

    Sarah: You make no sense whatsoever, and your grammar is atrocious. I cannot stand here and listen to anyone telling me what I can and can’t do BECAUSE I’m gay.

    For the record: I’m gay, and I neither want to marry my partner, nor have children, by adoption or otherwise. I think I’d make a really good father, but I don’t want to have kids.

    Gay parents don’t want to be some kind of “last resort” for kids just because no one wants this or that particular child. We want the equal treatment that straight people get when applying for adotion. Same with marriage. And so far, not a single person that opposes either gay marriage or gays adopting children has made even ONE single remotely compelling or sensible or intelligent argument in defense of their case. Not one.

    Just because a queer couple can’t physically, biologically produce a baby TOGETHER, it does not preclude them from (A) being good parents, or (B) making a baby. Ever heard of co-parenting gay couples?

    And if a couple — straight or gay — is infertile, the conclusion is not that they would make bad parents, or that they cannot be parents. It just means they can’t make a baby. Making a baby and being good parents have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other.

    By the way, my parents, who produced four children, adopted one, and raised all five of us, can no longer physically make babies anymore. Should they stop being parents now?

  11. Sarah Carey

    Gee, my typos are causing as much offence as my argument.
    Well, let’s get one thing out of the way. I started this argument from pointing out that gay couples, shock horror, CAN’T do something because they are, make a baby.
    Secondly, please don’t start dragging gay marriage into this. It’s a totally separate issue.
    Thirdly, your question about aging parents is way off. Try adopting a baby over 40 years of age – you’ll be told where to go. (Obviously when you’ve become a parent you don’t stop being one till one or other dies). Older parents aren’t allowed adopt (at least in Ireland anyway). Furthermore, women who have passed menapause aren’t even allowed have IVF or become surrogates. So you see, the political and medical establishment has already put up barriers to adoption to certain people because they take the view that there are differences between potential parents who are thwarted by unfortunate circumstances and people who they consider inappropriate to become parents – the rationale appearing to be that mother nature decreed a few basics a) that parents are young and b) they are male and female.
    I fully accept your point that making a baby and being good parents are nothing to do with one another. Just to revert to the older parents example, how many grandparents have been forced through circumstance to raise children and done a marvellous job. But I hate these whataboutery arguments. Its about a general principle. Since gay couples were never intended to make babies, cannot make a baby, cannot even start to provide a mother figure, do they have a right to adopt? Are we not obliged to at least pay lip service to the very basis of our existence and honour the fact that humans reproduce by a combination of a man + a woman?
    I’m not saying that if I were required to vote on this issue I would say no to gay adoption…I’m just exploring it a bit more. And I must say, the victimology of certain gay rights people doesn’t help. I do believe in consequences in life. If you don’t have a relationship with someone, for whatever reason, then you don’t get to have your own baby. If you have a relationship with someone of the same sex, you don’t get to have your own baby. I know science and money can solve these problems rather neatly for us, but I don’t think that should prevent us from exploring the ethics of the result…

  12. Sarah Carey

    sorry one more thing..Luc, do you really believe that the presence of a mother figure is completely irrelevant to a child’s development? (and yes yes I know people’s mother’s die and they are fine…)

  13. Jerry Feil

    I think if Sarah would spend one day with a gay couple of their kid(s), Sarah would think much differently. If she spent one day with an older couple and their kid(s), Sarah would think differently. And if she spent oen day with a Lesbian couple and their kid(s), and infertile couple and their kid(s), or a single parent and his/her kid(s) she would think differently.

    Her argument smacks of ignorance. This isn’t a question that there are some many children out there, why not let gays adopt. Gay couples, lesbian couples, and many other types of couples make good parents.

    I am a gay father, over 40, with a 5-year child. My son has two daddies and loves them both. I think anyone that has ever spent time with my beautiful child would think him well adjusted and certainly very happy.

    So, come on over and spend a few days with us and maybe your ignorance will melt away.

  14. Chris

    Sarah’s argument seems to be fundamentally from the heart and not from the head. Mother nature decreeing things? Paying lip service to our heritage? That’s rather wishy-washy. The basis of our reproduction is man + woman, yes, but it doesn’t mean it has to be the only basis of raising children. The facts just aren’t on your side – there’s no proof that gay parents are worse parents, and some proof the the contrary. I don’t think gays should be prevented from adopting (or for that matter, anyone be prevented from doing anything) on the sole basis that “mother nature thinks it’s wrong” without any facts to back it up.

  15. Cristy

    Physical ability should not be the criteria for who can adopt. For example, taking Sarah’s example of the infertile couple, what about couples who know they are infertile and marry anyway because they love each other? If they subsequently decide they want to adopt even though they entered the marriage knowing they were physically unable, should they be precluded? On the flip side, is a lesbian inherently considered more worthy of parentage, since she can presumably go to a sperm bank or find a willing donor to get pregnant? Or for that matter, a homesexual male who finds a surrogate and fathers a child that way? Reproduction IS an option for gay couples in these ways. Isn’t it far better to also allow them the right to adopt children who are already in this world and in need of a home?

  16. Amelia

    I am currently working with a gay cupple who want a baby I am going to carry the baby for them one of the men is going to be the father. My family is upset with me about it because Im doing it for gay cupple. I need some words of encouragement before I get pregnant to carry them an angel.

  17. cät

    i mean if someone has the desire to behold a child, then they should accomplish what they wish, evan if it is a homosexual couple. people are so caught up in steriotyping the matter and secluding same gender marriges and adoptions when they should be worrying about themselves, their own life, and how they will raise their own children etc.
    but it is not ones fault to question ones intentions and bring up some faulty strings in the process. but no-one can question the amount of love and faithfulness the parents and child have within the home.

    sarah: i dont know why you seem to be so offended by the fact of homosexual couples adopting children? everyone has the same rights, oppotunities and also responsibilities, i myself am definetly not gay, but i love the fact that some homosexual couples are wanting to adopt, or have their own children.
    we all must remember that from their view nothing is the same, but from ours(hetrosexuals) everything HAS to be.

    i do realise that a female figure is an important part of a childs up-bringing but the parents must have faith in what they are doing, if they do knot believe this is true then it is up to them to raise their child correctly.

    amelia: keep strong and have faith, do what you think is right..its a hard job, to carry a baby that is not yours, for nine months and then give it away. But if you have the courage you are doing something amazing, bringing a miracle into the world for someone who cannot do it alone

  18. Richard

    Okay, I like the arguments being presented here. This is the first time I have visited this weblog so forgive me if I missed this other subject I’m about to bring up. I want to know everyone’s opinion on lesbians choosing to artificially in-seminate instead of adopting. Do you think that this is better or worse than them just adopting…or does it make a difference?

  19. James

    Hi! Just to let you know that my partner and I are both gay. We recently adopted a “baby girl” in Saskatchewan. We are delighted that she came to us. We are blessed and very honored that our family were a big part of this adoption process. She came to us from my nephew and his wife. Although she was premature, she is now 5 months and loves the life we have giving her. She a pure joy and we are just as capable as straight couples in some cases more so….

  20. FosterEema

    Sarah, a couple of problems with your argument…

    You wrote, “Try adopting a baby over 40 years of age – you’ll be told where to go.” As a matter of fact, my partner is over 40, and we just became foster parents with the goal (perhaps) of adopting someday. There are people we know in their 50s and 60s who are adopting. This might have once been true, but is not any longer.

    You also wrote that gay people “cannot even start to provide a mother figure”. Umm, ahem, excuse you? So, you’re saying that my (female) partner and I cannot provide mother figures? And we can’t have strong, competent capable men in our lives who provide male role models? If that is so, it would seem that single dads whose wives disappear into the sunset and leave them with the kids — not, sadly, an uncommon story — should have their kids removed because they can’t provide a mother figure. Are you really arguing that?


  21. Rachel

    i just wanted to say that my uncle and his partner have recently adopted a girl, six years of age. they are really happy and i think that they are going to be the best parents any child could ask for

  22. Brian

    My partner and I have a 3yo girl, brought into the world with the help of a surrogate mother. We’re fortunate to live in one of the most supportive environments in the world (Toronto, Canada). Our family structure just blends in naturally with every other conceivable family structure in our neighbourhood, and people think nothing of it. Sometimes people get curious and ask questions, and we have no problem with that. It’s always done in a friendly way, and we’re more than happy to provide answers. We’ve never been confronted with hostility, and if it happens behind our backs, we’re blissfully unaware of it.

    Sometimes it saddens me when I hear terrible stories of intolerance coming out of other countries, but the most inexcusable case has to be the U.S.A. For a country that asserts itself as the world’s promoter and protector of freedoms and democracy, I wonder how many of its citizens realize that thousands of American gays and lesbians have left their country to find freedom elsewhere. What would their founding fathers think of that?

  23. Kara

    I think that if you want to have a baby and rais it the best way that you think you can the go for it who cares if it is with the same sex? it don’t matter if you are in love witha girl and you want a baby or if you are in love with a guy… everyone wants the feeling of knowing that when you see your child giving a part of his candy bar to the other little boy that your the one who taought him how to do that and who the hell has the right to take that away from someone???

  24. Brittany

    Sexual orientation should not matter in a couple that would like to adopt children. As long as they have stable domestic living, more than enough income to provide for the adopted child or children, and as long as the couple can raise the child or children in a loving enviroment (so they will grow up to be well-rounded individuals) it shouldn’t matter whether the couple is gay or straight.

  25. Jack

    i’m straight but anyway i wanna react to the very first quote: “My gut tells me .. benefits of our wombs.”

    three things i’d like to say here.

    1. OMG how about denying access to sperm banks to single female and lesbian couples then? more and more ladies take opportunity to use MEN seed to initiate the pregnancy.. LOL women don’t wanna share wombs, why should men share their sperm? see.. reproduction is NOT a one way thing (just, most women tend to ignore that, the father is just a tool in the baby process, kinda like the stroller or the diapers). and by the way, i’m feeling concerned about lesbian couples being able to have children this way when (male) gay couple, well.. it’s kinda harder u know.. plus they have to deal with your lousy thoughts.
    BTW “ultimate in misogyny to have a relationship which excludes women” NO no no.. once again, you ladies are NOT the center of the universe, please try to get this already..

    2. gay couple can’t have children in a natural way.. well, i got some news for you folks! lots of straight couples can’t have children in a natural way either, but because there is medecine and technology, they can have children! yeapee! but have you ever wondered if the doctors or scientists who made this miracle possible were all straight? what if some gay people in there contributed (engineers, doctors, researchers, donators..)? LOL you never thought about that, right?

    3. what is normal and what is not normal? try to figure by yourself because in reality, there is no “GOOD” answer to these questions.
    plus, why are people suddenly freaking out about gay couples having children when what we should be really worried about is to provide children with a loving family background and a solid education.. unlike some “know-it-all ladies”. errh..

  26. MHS

    I think its ok if single or gay parents want to adopt kids!!! There are so many children out there waiting to be adopted if singles or gays want to adopt kids it should be ok …

    McCamey High School research class

  27. Ashley Gaugh

    thank you at last! that someone has finaly stept-up and talked about gay adoptions. contact me at
    so we can talk about it more!!!!!!

  28. ridley

    I agree with Sarah on this issue

  29. Rachel

    Just reading through some of the things that are in here and this is the first time that I have come across this site ( and only came across it as I now begin to seek answers and support) I am a lesbian and in a very happy relationship, Holding down good jobs, Supportive family and friends that would be a part of out childs life. It is often ignorance of society that makes couples feel inadequate or that they shouldnt have children because of the ignorance of others. We have both had concerns about having children although we both want it so much, theese concerns however are not concerns that we would’nt be good parents or that the time isnt right as neither of us doubt ourselves on that score but its the way sociey can be cruel. Reguardless of all of this it is now 2007 we are no longer living in the dark ages where sexuality wasn’t able to be expressed as freely. If a loving caring home can be offered to a child whe should have just as much rights to raise a child. As for the mother figure comment,sarah, well… there technically wouldnt be a father figure present in this childs that not important? you say that a mother figure is important but what about that of a father? Either way mother or no mother, father or no father…. there are many people amongst the lives of that child…extended faily and family friends that can be good rolde models offering male/female support and advice to that child. You argument in my eyes is not one that is even constructive as you do not give reasons as to why the child would “suffer”. It is the child that is most important and it seems the focus of the child has slightly gone out of the window and it is more to do with the “gay couple” being able to adopt or being given equal oppertunities. No longer the dark ages lovie!

  30. Joe Moreno

    I’m a 29 year old gay father of two boys, ages 7 and 9. My partner and I have been together for just over 3 years. I am in the middle of a legal battle with my soon to be ex-wife (we’ve been separated for nearly 6 1/2 years) for custody of my two kids.

    Over the past couple of years she has proven to care more for what is convenient rather than what is right when it comes to the children. She has even gone to the extent of removing some of my visitation which only proves my point. The kids live in Dallas and my partner and I live in Austin. We have been making the trip to Dallas every other weekend for the past 2 years (before that, we lived in Dallas as well) to see the kids. 3 hours up to Dallas Friday after work, 3 hours back. Then repeating this again on Sunday.

    The latest in her attempts to appeal to the courts to remove our last bit of visitation rights is to show that gay parents are negative influences on two impressionable children. She believes that they will surely be confused by seeing two men show affection towards each other. (Hugs and kisses) I have done everything in my power to reassure her that we only have the boys’ best interest at heart, but of course that has fallen on deaf ears.

    We are now coming to the end of our custody case. Our expectation is that the end will happen sometime in the next 3 months. The court ordered social study has already been completed and shows in our favor. However, being in a “cowboy court” we’re fearful that the Judge won’t care what evidence or professional opinions are given to the court. But rather rule in favor of the kids’ mother based solely on my sexual orientation.

    Has anyone else gone through this situation or one similar? If so, please e-mail me at We need every bit of help we can get.


    Joe Moreno

  31. Troy Minor

    I think Sarah should be real and more open minded. Im gay and guess what, I feel like i deserve to have a family and raise a child. With all the crap i’ve taken in life from society i feel all gays at leas deserve happiness. Sarah probably doesn’t think so. Sorry Sarah but I cant help wanting to live life with a child and love them! Grow up.

  32. Edwin

    Hi everyone!
    i don’t know if im jumping into another topic here. But I have been really thoughtful lately.
    , thinking about adoption and surrogacy. since im in a serious relationship and living together with a man( we are a gay couple) we have been having the discussion of maybe having a baby in the future. he comes from a VERY religious background and said that he would only have baby the natural way by having sex with a friend. To me this is heartbreaking to hear since i think sex is very intimate and special if you want it to be..not to be shared. I rather adopt! Im just wondering how people can think this is healty or normal to have sex with a friend in order to have babies???

  33. sanny

    i want to give my child up for adoption and i need a home that is very caring here is my email for more information about us

  34. Paul

    The reason why gays cannot adopt is simple : they cannot deal with being said “no”, even less telling a child what he can do or not.

    If heteros could fly they’d be like “I can Too!”.

    So if your gay be gay and leave us alone ! we dont bother you guys with what we do in our beds do we ?

  35. Dennis

    I’m a 22 year old male, in a homosexual relationship, and I am really interested in the issue of adoption for lgbt identifying people. my parents divorced when i was 7, and i have had many strong male role models in my life, who didn’t take the place of a father, but came pretty close to it! This also went the same for female role models in my life. one of my goals in life is to raise children and have a happy family, which is what i think most people want, and the idea that it takes a village to raise a child rings true in my heart. I do not believe that gender differentials should be disregarded in the ABILITY to raise children. as for the environmental factors in relation to bringing up a child in an lgbt atmosphere, ive been taught that a loving, respecting, and unprejudiced, atmosphere allows children to think for themselves, and grow into well adjusted adults. some people make it seem like gay parents will teach children that gay is the only way, or the only lifestyle, but that really is not the case. what it will do though, is to allow that child the ability to accept a sexuality matrix wherein every human being on earth is situated. there are contenders to these arguments, and 2 of the main opponents look to religion, as well as what is ‘natural’.

    religious teachings are great to find moral, and meaning, but the laws, customs and traditions found within many religions/ religious texts are archaic, and within today’s society are no longer useful. There are way too many individuals ready to use a specific verse from the bible, talmud, torah, or quran to defend their point, and by zeroing in on the one particular passage, lose sight on the overall goal of why those texts were written, or why they are so highly esteemed.

    As for the debate of how ‘natural’ lgbt adoption is, i think these individuals are also zeroing in on that question. The true question here is how natural adoption is, in general. with such a high divorce rate, and many other complications regarding parenting, there is a huge part of society that grow up with one mother, one father, or even partial visitation of one or the other.

    I think that adoption should not be about gender, or sexuality, but about the people themselves. Just because I have a penis, it does not mean that I cannot be a proper role model that is both masculine and feminine… what i am attempting to engender is that society has even turned the ability to act as a role model in a gendered way. This is NOT to say that children do not need both genders in their lives, but that the loss of one gender specific role model in a family household would not diminish the child’s ability to learn moral behaviour and how to act as well as their duties to/in society. i specifically stated family household, because as earlier stated, children are raised by a village, in such an extent as to have friends, and extended family play an important role in their lives, that would not necessarily make up for a mother, but provide more than enough support to thrive.

    social stigma is still an issue in lgbt adoption, but it takes time to change societal norms and notions. I am just glad to know that the opportunity is there for me to adopt, and that I am grateful to everyone that helped raise me. Sorry for the long winded discussion, but i think that by writing this, more people can debate the issue, and i will love to see how society will change over the coming decades!

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