Gay, Lesbian and Heterosexual Adoptive Families
Family relationships, child adjustment and adopters’ experiences
Publication date: 2013
ISBN: 978 1 907585 654
Since the introduction of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 in England and Wales, the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 and Civil Partnership Act 2005, many lesbian and gay couples have started families through adoption. However, to date, research on same-sex parent families has almost exclusively focused on families in which children were conceived through a heterosexual relationship or assisted reproduction. Further, despite a large body of evidence regarding lesbian mother families, there have been few studies of children’s adjustment when raised by gay fathers.
This report presents the key findings of a study, Gay, Lesbian and Heterosexual Adoptive Families: Family relationships, child adjustment and adopters’ experiences. The study was the first to examine families in which children live, from early childhood, with their adoptive gay fathers, lesbian mothers or heterosexual parents in the UK.
One hundred-and-thirty families were recruited for the study, which focused on the quality of parent–child relationships, parental well-being and children’s psychological development, with the aim of producing robust evidence that could be used to inform all those who work with lesbian and gay adopters and their children about the experiences of adoption and family functioning in same-sex parent families.
These findings contribute to the small amount of existing research suggesting that adoptive gay and lesbian families provide highly positive parenting environments for children.