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Do LGBT People Make Good Parents? July 10, 2009

Posted by Geekgirl in psychology, social.
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How do children do when they have LGBT parents? Dr. Stephen Erich at the Social Work Program,  University of Houston-Clear Lake, has done extensive research in this area. Dr. Erich describes himself as active in advocating for the rights of LGBT people to adopt children.Dr. Erich has a publication that recently came out on this topic. You can find an article by Dr. Erich, which is much easier to understand than the actual study, at  helpstartshere.org. I’ve had trouble accessing their server so if the link below doesn’t work, you can access the site through a websearch.

Adoption and Foster Care Current Trends – Adoption by Gay and Lesbian Adults and Couples
By Stephen Erich, PhD, LCSW
Introduction The numbers of gay and lesbian adults and couples who are adopting children is increasing dramatically; at the same time, the number of adoption agencies willing to place children with gay and lesbian adults and couples is also increasing notably. What does this mean for children in need of healthy family environments? What does the research tell us about families with gay or lesbian parents, including those created through adoption?First, a little background information about children awaiting adoption and the size of the adopter pool (parents interested in adopting). The number of children not living with their biological parents is at unacceptably high levels. Research suggests that there were 542,000 children in foster care in the United States in 2001 and as many as one third of these children may be eligible for adoption.

Many gay and lesbian adults and couples are interested in adopting children. However, discrimination has made it difficult for gay and lesbian adults and couples to complete the adoption process (Brodzinsky, 2003). Excluding gays and lesbians as potential adopters is not only discriminatory but it limits the number of potential adults available to adopt the thousands of children eligible for adoption.

Research on Families With Gay and Lesbian Parents

An empirical analysis of factors affecting adolescent attachment in adoptive families

with homosexual and straight parents

Stephen Erich, Heather Kanenberg, Kim Case, Theresa Allen, Takis Bogdanos

University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston, Texas, 77058-1098, USA

Available online 23 September 2008

Children and Youth Services Review

© 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Abstract

Data were collected on 154 adoptive families with gay/lesbian and straight adoptive parents (154 parent respondents and 210 adolescent respondents). This study was principally interested in factors affecting adolescent attachment including parent sexual orientation, adolescent and parent life satisfaction, and parent level of relationship satisfaction with their adopted child as well as other key parent, child and adoption characteristics.

The results suggest that higher level of adopted adolescent attachment to parents is not related to adoptive parent sexual orientation.

Adolescent attachment to parents is related to adolescent life satisfaction; parent level of relationship satisfaction with their adopted child, number of placements prior to adoption, and adolescent’s current age. Adolescent life satisfaction, like level of attachment is an indicator of youth well-being. This variable was found to have a significant relationship with parent level of relationship satisfaction with their adopted child. The results also indicated parent’s level of relationship satisfaction with their adopted child was related to parent life satisfaction. The variable child’s age at adoption was found to have significant relationships with parent life satisfaction, parent’s level of relationship satisfaction with their adopted child, and number of placements prior to adoption.

Implications for policy, practice, education and further research are discussed.

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