• NCAP

Research-Based Best Practices in Adoption by Gays and Lesbians

Expanding Resources for Children III

Policy and Practice Perspective

October 2011

David M. Brodzinsky, Ph.D.

Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

Funded by: The David Bohnett Foundation and the Gill Foundation



To maximize the number of suitable, vetted, trained and available families for the children who

need them, all adults – regardless of gender, race, marital status, income level and/or sexual

orientation – should be given the same opportunity to apply and be assessed for adoptive

parenthood, using the same standards and guidelines. While the majority of adoption

professionals today explicitly agree with that conclusion and already accept applications from

gay and lesbian applicants, many if not most acknowledge that they are unsure about the best

ways of working with such clients.


In keeping with its strategic priority to conduct work that improves children’s prospects of living in safe and successful families, the Adoption Institute has conducted a four-year-long research project that culminates in the publication of this report. It reviews what is known about adoption by lesbians and gay men and presents new empirical data about their perceptions, experiences and needs as parents. Based on this knowledge, the Institute provides best-practice recommendations for improving adoption practice and for strengthening pre-adoption and post- adoption services for families headed by non-heterosexual adults.


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