6 Mar 2013
Research into the experiences of adoptive families parented by same-sex couples suggests that children adopted by gay or lesbian couples are just as likely to thrive as those adopted by heterosexual couples.
The study carried out by Cambridge University’s Centre for Family Research explored the experiences of 130 adoptive families. Families were similar in terms of ethnicity, socioeconomic status and education but were almost equally split between having gay fathers, lesbian mothers or heterosexual.
Professor Susan Golombok, director of the Cambridge centre and report co-author, said:
“Overall we found markedly more similarities than differences in experiences between family types. The differences that did emerge relate to levels of depressive symptoms in parents, which are especially low for gay fathers, and the contrasting pathways to adoption which was second choice for many of the heterosexual and some lesbian parents – but first choice for all but one of the gay parents.”
The study concludes that fears raised by some against same sex-adoption, including bullying from peers and concerns that a children’s own gender identity might be skewed, were unfounded:
“These issues do not appear to be a significant problem – although the researchers, and some parents themselves, acknowledge that problems of bullying could become a problem as the children become teenagers.”
Most parents across the family types had had positive experiences of the adoption process with many speaking warmly of the support they received. A number of same-sex couples, however, reported that agencies lacked experience in working with gay and lesbian parents.