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LGBTQ Adoption Options

Your inclusive adoption options

Adoptions for LGBTQ families are not yet as seamless or on par with adoptions for straight families. Here’s everything LGBTQ people who want to grow their families should know about inclusive adoption options.

Adrienne Elliott of Adoption Options

“It shouldn’t matter what your lifestyle is. It should [be a] matter of, can you parent this child, and can you do it safely and appropriately so that this child can have a family for the rest of their life? That’s what should be important.” Adrienne Elliott and Adoption Options believe a family is a family, and they’re on a mission to support people in the queer community who want to be parents. So, how do LGBTQ families looking to adopt find an inclusive agency?

Adrienne is the executive director of Adoption Options, Colorado’s premier adoption agency. She has 20-plus years of experience working in all aspects of the child welfare system. Adrienne has served as a child welfare trainer for the Colorado Training Academy, and she currently teaches courses around family social work, foster care and adoption for the University of Denver and Metropolitan State University. Adrienne earned her master’s in social work from the University of Denver.

Adrienne joins Queer Money™ to explain the major differences between infant and foster care adoption, from wait times to associated expenses. She walks us through what prospective parents should consider and offers insight on why so many foster kids are waiting for families. Adrienne also covers why families might be turned down, the financial review process, and the other ways to get involved if you are not prepared to be an adoptive parent. Listen in to understand the impact religious exemption laws may have on an LGBT family’s ability to adopt and learn how to use the HRC All Children—All Families designation to find an inclusive agency.

Hear all your adoption options from Executive Director, Adrienne Elliott:

Topics covered about LGBTQ adoption options

Infant adoption vs. flexible family (foster to adopt)

  • Home study very similar
  • Wait time 18 months to 3 years for infant
  • Wait time 6 months to 1 year for foster

The process of foster certification

  • 6-week education course
  • 60-90 days to complete home study
  • 1 month to get licensed

What to discuss in preparation to adopt

  • Finances, room for child in home
  • Research agencies to work with

The common expenses associated with adoption

  • Infant—medical, legal fees to support birth parents
  • Foster—much more accessible (county covers fees)

The average cost of adoption

  • Varies by state, agency
  • $25-40K for infant ($28K through Adoption Options)
  • Foster adoption technically free w/ kids in county
  • $5K for CPA to conduct search across US

Why there are so many kids in the foster system

  • Kids age 8+ and sibling groups hard to place
  • Younger children adopted faster

How to combat the fear of the unknown

  • Respite care, mentor to practice
  • ‘Stronger than you think’
  • Informational meetings

The common reasons people are turned down

  • Significant criminal history (child abuse, domestic violence)
  • Not prepared for legal risk
  • Not financially prepared

What’s involved in the financial review

  • Assets, debts, income and savings on application
  • In-depth financial worksheet in home study

What LGBT parents should consider

  • How to handle conversation w/ child once placed
  • Otherwise no difference relative to straight peers

The impact of religious exemption laws

  • Children from or going to inclusive states not an issue
  • Kids from states like TX, KS may need approval (ICPC)

The number of LGBT applicants at Adoption Options

  • 40% of total
  • Due to marriage equality, word-of-mouth

The HRC All Children—All Families designation

  • Adoption Options only placement agency in CO
  • Adoption Exchange received seal of recognition
  • State of CO currently working on designation

The value of the HRC designation

  • Indicates inclusive agency, community support
  • Easier to partner with likeminded professionals

The children available for foster care adoption

  • 8 to 14 years old, usually male
  • Behavioral issues, multiple placements
  • Unique situations (i.e.: sibling groups, LGBT)

How to help if you’re not considering adoption

  • Volunteer opportunities, respite family
  • Become board member or donor

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