Family / Family-building

Adoption around the World

KeyAll kinds of families everywhere use a variety of means to create family.  In the LGBT community, one avenue that is open to use is adoption.  Except, it isn’t always open to us.

Here is the wikimap of legal status of same-sex couples around the world:

Legal status of adoption by same-sex couples around the world.

Legal status of adoption by same-sex couples around the world.


This week, however, the map grew just a little bit and the world is a better place for it.

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of Adamantina X and Others v. Austria (application 19010/07) and ruled that Austria’s Civil Code discriminates against a partner in a same-sex relationship by making it legally impossible to adopt the biological child of the other partner while permitting second parent adoptions for unmarried heterosexual couples.

Also on Tuesday, Germany overturned a ban on so-called “successive adoptions” for gay couples in civil partnerships.  This ruling, however, did not make it legal for same-sex couples to jointly adopt a child; adoption is only available on an individual basis.

While I am really excited for the recognition and rights for these families, I am also deeply saddened that we haven’t come further.  I am torn between being enraged at the hoops and layers and stigma and homophobia families face and feeling hope that I can see real change and that maybe my daughter will be able to live in a world where all love is respected and recognized.  Today, I choose to focus on the hope, so I am posting here.

If you are (or know anyone who is) affected by these rulings, I would love to here your (their) perspective here.

P.S. Huge shout out to Julieta who is too busy working to blog but sends me the news articles she wants highlighted here.  Julieta, if you weren’t a 25 hour plane flight away, I would buy you a coffee (or mate)!

P.P.S. Don’t for get to check out the blogs listed under Adoption at Lesbian Family.

P.P.P.S. In the comments, Shannon has already noted that the map from WikiMaps incorrectly lists Illinois.  See any other mistakes?  Also, lesson learned, don’t use wikipedia for research or factual graphics.

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  1. I live in Illinois, and to clarify, joint and stepparent adoption aren’t guaranteed here by law, but are often practiced by individual judges, making it a strong precedent.

    So it depends on where you are and which judge you get.

    In our (newborn joint) adoptions, we were able to do it all in Chicago, where strong judicial precedent and non-gender-specific adoption forms (“parent” and “parent” vs. “mother” and “father”) make joint adoption very friendly for same-sex parents.

    But friends doing second-parent (stepparent) adoptions in less enlightened counties had a more questionable and worrying process.

    I only mention this because I wonder if some of the other purple and violet places on the map are also more “grey” when it comes to the possibility of drawing an unfriendly judge.

    We still need a blanket, federal nondiscrimination law regarding adoption and queer parents (singles or couples) to keep kids safe.

    (There is still, believe it or not, the worry that even though our adoptions were done jointly at birth in Chicago, if we took the kids to a state that bans adoption by same-sex parents and suffered some emergency, we could get into legal trouble.)

    • Shannon, thanks for pointing this out! I have updated the post to reflect the error and ask if others see more errors. I wanted some sort of graphic, but sadly wikipedia has failed me. 🙂

      I particularly liked the article on Germany because it didn’t just talk about what the change in legislation means, but also what it doesn’t mean and the ways that the ruling doesn’t improve the situation.

      And, I completely agree that the US needs national legislation not state by state or judge by judge.

  2. Hope! 🙂

    If you like maps and stuff, check this out: (try selecting adoption from the drop-down menu), I’ve been following their maps for a couple of years and these definitely give me hope. There’s still to much red in those maps but there’s been progress and I loved seeing my country turn green in most of them… =p

  3. I adopted three kids through Texas CPS starting about 4 years ago. Me and my partner were trying to do a second parent adoption the same time.This was a mine field as our lawyer explained and said he could get it done. We decided to just have me adopt as we were having problems with case workers. We just had to deal with a very incomptant worker. I am glad I only adopted my kids as my partner walked out due to the kids being special needs and they grew up. We are better off now than with her even though life is tougher now. Sometimes it is better we do not get what we want.

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