2×11: Adoption: Myths & Misconceptions
For gay men looking to become dads, the world of adoption sometimes may seem impossible to navigate. There’s so much information, so many opinions, stories, and ways to adopt that it may seem overwhelming. In this episode we’ve tried to lay the groundwork for adoption. A former social service worker, an LGBT specialist in an adoption organization and a gay dad with three different adoption stories had a vibrant discussion with us on the various paths to adoption, on myths, on homophobia – and much more.
In preparation for this episode, we’ve searched the internet for common myths among gay men on adoption. Here’s what we’ve found, and what our guests in this episode said about it:
- Biological parents perceive a gay-dad household as an ‘immoral environment.’ – NOT TRUE (IN GENERAL). According to Ethan Cohan, two-time adoptive dad, some bio moms specifically look for gay dads, just because they feel better knowing there will be no other ‘mom’ but them.
- Gay men, and especially gay single men, are being pushed down the list of adoption, and wait more time to be matched. – PARTIALLY TRUE. According to Nitara Frost, Parent Support Specialist for LGBTQ Parents at the North American Council on Atoptable Children, there’s some evidence that single parent households are being pushed down the list, especially with foster-to-adopt route.
- Judges prefer reuniting kids with their biological parents over approving gay men as adoptive parents. – TRUE. There’s an overall attempt of reunifications with the birth parents as part of the adoption process, mainly to give the bio parents the opportunity to not give up the child, instead of trying to get the child at a later stage.
- Some adoption agencies are not gay friendly, even if they don’t specify it on their websites. – TRUE. Our guests in this episode recommend to check your adoption agency against lists like HRC or ask other gay dads who worked with this agency to make sure they are as gay friendly as they say they are. Some agencies will not indicate that they are not homophobic, but will discriminate against gay dads.
Nitara Frost, Parent Support Specialist for LGBTQ Parents at the North American Council on Atoptive Children (NACAC)
Nitara Frost has worked for North American Council on Adoptable Children as the Parent Support Specialist serving LGBTQ adoptive parents in the state of Minnesota for almost 9 years. She had also been working Nationwide supporting LGBTQ adoptive and pre-adoptive parents for 7 years. She and her wife are adoptive parents to 5 children.
Check out NACAC Staff Page
Eufe de la Torre, Therapist and former social worker in Child Welfare
Eufe (www.eufetherapy.com) is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist in private practice. Eufe has over 25 years of clinical experience working with LGBTQ individuals and couples who are working through relationship or personal issues, including those who are preparing to become parents. Eufe lives in Los Angeles, CA. He and his husband are adoptive parents to two boys who are now 15 and 18 years olds.
He can be reached at this email.
Ethan Cohan, Adoptive Father
Ethan is a partner at the Century City entertainment law firm Del Shaw Moonves where his practice focuses on entertainment transactional law with an emphasis on deal-making and production in television, film and new media. Born and raised in New York, Ethan currently lives in Los Angeles with his family, including their two sons and one dog.
If you’d like to speak with Ethan personally please email us
Preparing for Adoption
Here’s a list of recommendations for general preparations to make if you are gay men looking to adopt:
- Build your support system — before embarking on the journey it’s important to make sure you have family and/or friends by your side, and also people who have been through adoption. Reach out to gay dads group on Facebook or even write to us to get our list of dads who are willing to advise or support!
- Decide on the path of adoption you’d like to take: whether it’s with a private attorney, foster-to-adopt, or adoption agency – and then research where in your state can you get the adoption training that eventually puts you on the waiting list for a match.
Eufe: “Doing the leg work is really important, whether it’s through HRC or friends who have been through the process. Identify two or three agencies and take the time to go on their websites, make a phone call and see how they relate to you on the phone. Go to their training and get the sense of who’s there, see what culture they have at the agency.”
- If you’re doing a private adoption, research the state where you find the birth mother to understand how that state treats adoption, and whether you’re going to finalize it in your home state or that state. It’s also advisable to speak to a pediatrician about a birth mother’s health, if there is smoking or any substance abuse.