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National Adoption Month: Love is Love, Study Says

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Research from the University of Kentucky finds no difference in experience between adoptive children raised by same-sex couples and those raised by a man and a woman. (Euro/Flickr.com)
Research from the University of Kentucky finds no difference in experience between adoptive children raised by same-sex couples and those raised by a man and a woman. (Euro/Flickr.com)
 By Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN, Contact
November 3, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Adopted children of same-sex couples experience no differences from peers being raised in households with heterosexual parents, a study finds.

Rachel Farr, developmental psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, studied nearly 100 families in which the parents were hetrosexual, both male, or both female. After 10 years of evaluation, she reached her conclusion.

"Parent sexual orientation, the family structure, is not emerging as anything that's having any sort of lasting effects,” Farr said. "Rather it's the processes going on within the family, the quality of family relationships, or parenting, that seem much more important."

In March, a federal judge ruled that prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children is unconstitutional, making gay adoption legal in all 50 states. It's been legal in Tennessee since 2007.

In her report Farr also concluded that overall, children have fewer behavioral problems over time when parents are less stressed and in more satisfying relationships.

According to U.S. Census data, there are 594,000 same-sex couple households in the country, and 115,000 have children. Farr said while laws are catching up with social perceptions, research such as hers can help inform policies at adoption agencies and the perceptions of birth mothers and fathers.

"Individual adoption agencies might even have different policies that in some ways may be either discriminatory or just not as welcoming,” Farr said, "and I think that is an area where we still need more research and more room to grow."

According to the Williams Institute, an estimated 2 million LGBT people are interested in adopting children. November is National Adoption Month.

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