Agencies must support LGBTQ families waiting for child placements, just as they support all families, through their advocacy, communication and support systems. This includes preparing families for the likely waiting period and potential obstacles to placements, offering support and advocacy whenever appropriate.
Due to societal discrimination, LGBTQ waiting parents may need additional assurance and support during this period. Ensure that all efforts to match children and youth with waiting parents, including exchange postings and family albums, present the strengths of LGBTQ waiting families.
Best practices in supporting waiting LGBTQ families:
- Communicate clearly with LGBTQ waiting parents so they know exactly how the process works, including any reasons for potential delays.
- Encourage or host groups and other communication among LGBTQ waiting families, so they families can discuss concerns and provide support during the waiting period.
Read more in Promising Practices Guide: Placement [PDF]
Adoptions by LGBTQ families require preparation for a smooth finalization because of legal obstacles to the formation of these families. Agencies need to consider issues of birth certificates, the federal Adoption Assistance Program, the court process, supportive judges, health insurance and attorneys who are familiar with legal arrangements to provide the maximum security for LGBTQ families (through guardianship, second-parent adoption or other documents).
The homestudy process should include discussions and decisions on all these items. As finalization approaches, agencies should prepare their LGBTQ clients for any unique issues they may face. Some states do allow couples to go through the homestudy and legal finalization process together as a couple. When they complete that process, they are both the legal parents of the child. Many states do not allow a same-sex couple to finalize in that way.
Read more in Promising Practices Guide: Adoption Finalization [PDF]