Living Adoption: Gay Parents Speak
by Photosynthesis Productions
In this sometimes heartbreaking, but always life-affirming, video you’ll take a journey with gay and lesbian men and women who became adoptive parents. You’ll hear their struggles of maneuvering systems along with their joy in creating a family.
Through first-person accounts gay and lesbian couples and individuals describe each part of the process of becoming adoptive parents. You’ll hear about the myriad reasons that lead people to decide to adopt a child—and how for some “adoption is a leap of faith.” You’ll also witness the excitement in their memories of getting the call that a child was ready to meet them.

Homophobia continues to be present for many, if not all, of these parents, but in a new way than before they became parents. This takes the form of legal barriers, judgmental questions from family, or realizing the amount of thought that had to go into decisions many straight parents took for granted (such as where to send their children to school or where to take them on vacation.) For some, having a child led to others accepting who they were because a ‘parent’ was a role others could understand while being gay was not.

The parents talk about seeking help when needed and forming supportive new communities. The role that social workers played in their journey was often imperative---whether assisting them with understanding and moving through systems or challenging them to process some of the overwhelming and unthought of issues (such as what both parents would be called to distinguish from each other.) A special emphasis is placed on the intersectionality of race, adoption and GLBT issues as many of the parents adopted trans-racially. Their growing understanding of seeing the world through these children’s eyes was unexpected to many and sometimes considered a greater hurdle than being same sex parents.

In short, this video will allow you to witness the amazing strength and resilience of several lesbian and gay individuals and couples who took on the challenge and joy of becoming parents.
In Depth
The parents you meet in this video are, as one woman says, “not in this to be Mother Theresa” and you’ll have a rare opportunity to watch nine GLBT families talk intimately about their road to becoming adoptive parents. Some of the people you’ll hear from never thought they’d become parents and some tried hard to have biological children, but for one reason or another could not. A diverse group of men and women of varying ages and ethnicities speak about the ups and downs of becoming parents. They also touch on the ongoing issues that arise with raising children in a world that continues to view GLBT families as novel, and often with suspicion and judgment.

You’ll meet a man who speaks heartbreakingly of feeling that he only “really became a grown up” once he became a parent and another woman express what it was like to suddenly be “part of the Parents Club.” Each parent talks about his or her individual experience of joining this “Club” and the supports and knowledge it took to get them there. None of the families did this on their own and many talk about the support from their partner, other parents—as well as social workers.

Perhaps you’ll have some of your own beliefs challenged in hearing these parents speak. We all come to the table with many assumptions and hearing real life stories can help examine these. Listen for how often many of these parents’ concerns are the same as straight families' as well as how they differ. There is a high level of scrutiny that gay and lesbian parents come under. The cultural competence of the foster care and adoptive agencies are often not at the highest level and these parents will clearly show how that affects them—and deeply affects their children. While there are similar themes you will also see how each parent had a very individual journey—one that didn’t stop once the papers were signed. Each day, each developmental stage, each new school, and each vacation came with its own set of problems and excitement.

Through these families, this video will offer a lot of hope for future social workers to see how important their role can be while also highlighting GLBT families’ desire for more micro and macro level support before, during, and after an adoption.

At the end of this video you’ll:
  • Learn about the process of adopting a child as a gay or lesbian parent.
  • Understand the role of the social worker in maneuvering through legal systems and aiding the family in their new role.
  • Have a greater understanding of the issues that straight parents take for granted that GLBT parents cannot.

Length of video: 00:23:00

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-477-0

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-477-2

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