June 14, 2011 / dailymail.co.uk
Despite massive legal hurdles in most U.S. states, a growing number of same-sex couples are adopting children, it has emerged.
According to U.S. census data about 19 per cent of gay couples reported having an adopted child in 2009, up from just 8 per cent in 2000.
'The trend line is absolutely straight up,' Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit organisation working to change adoption policy and practice, told the New York Times.
'It’s now a reality on the ground.'
Although gay adoption is prohibited in just two states - Utah and Mississippi - couples still face legal complications in around half of all other states because gay marriage is not legal there.
Most problems arise from prohibitions on same-sex marriage, according to the Family Equality Council.
It is legal for gay, single people to adopt in most states.
In Arizona, for example, social workers are required by law to give preference to married, heterosexual couples.
'It’s two steps forward, one step back,' said Ellen Kahn, director of the Family Project at the Human Rights Campaign.
There are currently 115,000 children waiting for adoption in the U.S. and the Obama administration has been vocal in its belief that gays and lesbians can play a bigger role in adoptions.
'The child welfare system has come to understand that placing a child in a gay or lesbian family is no greater risk than placing them in a heterosexual family,' Bryan Samuels, commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, said recently in an interview.
Ms Kahn, who trains adoption agencies to work with gay couples, has seen the number of agencies double over the past five years to around 50.
But discrimination still remains and in some more conservative states gay adoption functions like an 'underground railroad.'