When we first started thinking about adoption, same-sex marriage was still a hotly debated subject. In fact, when we moved to Wisconsin from Washington, DC, we found ourselves in the odd situation of leaving a state in which we were married to move to a state that didn’t recognize our marriage. While several pioneering couples blazed new paths via the court system to establish parental rights, we questioned if it was the right time to adopt given how many federal laws were linked to marriage.
With the Supreme Court decision establishing marriage equality four years ago, thankfully same-sex couples who would like to adopt no longer have to face an uphill battle. But still today, well-meaning folks can still wonder if same-sex parents are as successful as others in raising happy and healthy children. Currently, there are more than 200,000 same-sex couples raising children in the United States alone. Given the sizable numbers, the outcomes for children in same-sex households have been easy to study.
Forgive the data geek in me for one minute. I promise note to bore you to death with all the details. One of the earliest indications that children in same-sex parent households fared well came from the National Survey of Children’s Health in 2011, which found “no differences between same-sex and different sex household types on family relationships or any child outcomes.” Later studies actually found that children in same-sex households did better in school and social-emotional learning, particularly when it came to “open-mindedness, tolerance and having role models for equitable relationships.” Interestingly, there is also evidence that gays and lesbians are especially accepting of open adoptions, where the child retains some contact with his or her birth parents. And the statistics bear out that birth parents often have no problem with their kids being raised by same-sex couples.
I guess there will always be some that believe a two daddy household isn’t natural. To them, we’d like to offer up Sphen and Magic. They were such great dads that the New York Times wrote an article about them. I know that we’re not as cute as Sphen and Magic, but I’m certain that we’ll follow their lead as parents.