Questions to Ask LGBT+ Adoptive Parents
Congratulations! You’ve probably been following the LGBT+ theme this month and have been reading articles on topics like choosing lesbian adoptive parents and open adoptions with gay adoptive parents. You might’ve even gone back to articles like why birth parents choose LGBT+ adoption and pros and cons of LGBT+ adoption. And now you’re ready to dive in and meet some LGBT+ prospective adoptive parents for your child!
Well, almost ready. What are you going to say to LGBT+ adoptive parents? What questions will you ask to determine whether this couple or that individual will be your child’s parents? Adoption Choices of New York has you covered! Here are some questions to ask LGBT+ adoptive parents!
These are, of course, the reason you’re here, and some of the questions that will make or break prospective adoptive parents as you’re making your decision! You want to know how this LGBT+ couple or individual is going to raise your child, what their beliefs about parenting are. Some questions may include:
- What do you think makes a good parent? How do you see those qualities in yourself?
- Do you have any previous experience with adoption?
- What type of adoption do you want: open, semi-open, or closed adoption?
- How will you talk about adoption with your child? How would you talk about me?
- What would disciplining your child look like to you?
- What are the things you think are most important for a parent to teach their child?
You could also ask hypothetical or situational questions, like “How would you react if your child came out to you as LGBT+?” or “What would you do if your child suddenly had a drop in grades at school?” These sorts of questions can help give you a clear picture of what their parenting style will be like and whether it matches what you want for your child.
Now we aren’t talking about global warming here! Along with a couple or individual’s parenting style, you’ll want to ask questions about the environment your child will be raised in. Here are some examples of questions about environmental factors:
- Who do you consider your family? Are they supportive of adoption?
- How involved in the LGBT+ community are you? Do you know any other LGBT+ couples or individuals who have adopted and would be supportive of you and this adoption?
- What are the schools like in this area? Daycares?
- Do you have a pediatrician?
- Where would your child play?
- Are there many other children in the neighborhood? What are they like?
- Do you have pets? Are you planning on getting pets?
- Will your child grow up with other siblings? (do you already have children and/or are you planning on adopting or having other children in the future?)
- What is your work-life balance like? Will there need to be adjustments when you have a child?
These sorts of questions will help give you an idea of what sort of life and what environments your child will be exposed to outside of their immediate adoptive family. You may notice the phrasing of “who do you consider your family” rather than something like “how big is your family.” Many LGBT+ people have learned that familial bonds are made with more than just blood relations, and have found, chosen or created their own family members and family structure, many times one that is more community based. So, in some cases, asking about the couple or individual’s community may be more relevant than asking about their related family.
“Get to Know You” Questions
Now that you’ve learned about parenting styles and environmental factors, you’ll also want to know more about the couple or individual personally. These will be the answers that will really make it clear if a couple or individual “clicks” with you and what you hope for for your child, so really listen to what they have to say and get to know them! Some examples of these types of questions include:
- What are your hobbies?
- Do you have any family traditions? Would you incorporate my own family traditions?
- Are there any beliefs (political, religious, etc.) that have a big impact on your life? How would these impact how you raise your child?
- What was your childhood like? What do you hope would be the same or different for your child?
If you’re talking to a couple, you can learn more about them by asking about each other, for example:
- How did you two meet?
- What is your favorite quality about your partner?
And lastly, if you haven’t had much experience with LGBT+ people before or want to know more about how being LGBT+ has affected this couple or individual’s life and how it might impact their parenting, start with this question:
- I don’t have much experience with LGBT+ folks, can I ask about your experiences as LGBT+ people?
If the prospective adoptive parent(s) is willing to talk with you about these more personal LGBT+ matters, great! Several people will be open to helping someone who is coming from a place of genuinely wanting to learn and understand. But there are a few things to keep in mind:
- It’s not their responsibility to teach you. You can do your own research and reading!
- They can only speak from their own experiences and will not be answering for all LGBT+ people as a whole.
Questions to Avoid
There are a lot of questions you’ll be asking prospective adoptive parents that you wouldn’t ask other people in general conversations. After all, you’re trying to get to know this couple or individual to see if you want to entrust them with raising your child. But there are still some questions that would be inappropriate even in this setting. For example, questions about infertility can be triggering to families, and is a question about the past that will not be relevant to the present and future circumstances of how they will raise your child.
For LGBT+ adoptive parents in particular, there’s no reason to ask about past relationships, their sex life, how LGBT+ sex works or anything about a person’s gender transition. These are all very personal, private questions that don’t have any bearing on how the couple or individual would raise their child and finding prospective adoptive parents is simply not the setting to be asking these sorts of questions. If you want to learn more about LGBT+ issues, you can do your own research and reading, or talk to LGBT+ friends or community members if they’ve explicitly said they are open to those types of conversations (and respect those who are not).
Questions to Ask LGBT+ Adoptive Parents
You may have noticed that most of the questions above are questions that would be good to ask any prospective adoptive parents, not just LGBT+ adoptive parents specifically. Your number one goal and concern when placing your child for adoption is to place them in a family who will love, support and cherish them. Those things aren’t dependent on what the adoptive parents’ sexual orientation are, so why would the questions you ask them be? Get to know each couple and individual you’re considering for your child’s adoptive parents personally, and you’ll find the right family!
Meet the Author: Darby Summers is an avid fan of fantasy and sci-fi stories in all mediums, and aspires to share a story of her own to add to the genres she has adored her entire life. Raised in a house with the rule: “You can stay up as late as you want, as long as you’re reading”, Darby’s passion for reading, literature, and language was inspired at a young age, and continued through her achievement of a Bachelor’s in English from Allegheny College in 2017.
When she isn’t absorbed in the latest series to capture her attention, Darby enjoys working on cosplays and going to cons with friends. Her perfect night consists of staying in playing games (of the video, board or card varieties), making some delicious homemade pizza, and settling in on the couch for a movie with her husband, Adam, and cat, Sylvie.