A new study by The Donaldson Adoption Institute found that LGBT parents are “as motivated as heterosexual parents, and sometimes more so, to establish and maintain contact with the birth family.” The report, “Practice Guidelines Supporting Open Adoption in Families Headed by Lesbian and Gay Male Parents: Lessons Learned from the Modern Adoptive Families Study” was co-authored by David Brodzinsky, Ph.D., and Abbie Goldberg, Ph.D.
Although all family types reported relatively high levels of contact with their child’s birth family, families with gay parents had slightly higher levels than families with heterosexual or lesbian parents. Key findings included:
- 87% of gay men who adopted from foster care reported having post-placement contact with one or more members of the birth family, compared to 78% of heterosexual and 67% of lesbian parents.
- In private domestic adoptions, contact levels were more similar: gay male (90%), heterosexual (85%), lesbian (78%)
- 76% of gay men who adopted from foster care reported face-to-face contact with birth family, compared to 61% of heterosexual and 54% of lesbian parents.
- In private domestic adoptions, 72% of gay male and lesbian parents had face-to-face contact, compared to 61% of heterosexual parents.
Recommendations from the report included ensuring that adoption professionals are aware of the receptivity to open adoption among gay and lesbian applicant families, and that they work with birth families regarding respectful ways to share and talk about the adoptive parents’ sexual orientation.