Nationwide about 65,000 or 4% of adopted children in the United States have sexual minority parents, a National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) estimates and a brand new study is debunking a misconception that those children may have developmental and adjustment issues.
The report, published online last week by the Developmental Psychology journal, states that children adopted into LGBT homes are well adjusted from early childhood and well into their teen years.
For close to ten years, University of Kentucky assistant professor of psychology Rachel H. Farr studied different aspects of family life among heterosexual, gay and lesbian parents and their adopted children. The new findings are a follow up of a longitudinal study of nearly 100 adoptive families with school-age children as they matured from early to middle childhood.
“To the best of my knowledge,” said Farr, “this is the first study that has followed children adopted by lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents over time from early to middle childhood. Longitudinal research (like this) offers insight into what factors may be the best or strongest predictors of children’s development, over and above information that can be gathered at only one time point.”
In fact, it’s all about the couple relationship that determine’s a child experience, not the orientation of the parents.
“Regardless of parental sexual orientation, children (in the study) had fewer behavior problems over time when their adoptive parents indicated experiencing less parenting stress,” a release about the study summarized. “Higher family functioning when children were school-age was predicted by lower parenting stress and fewer child behavior problems when children were preschool-age. Thus, in these adoptive families diverse in parental sexual orientation, as has been found in many other family types, family processes emerged as more important than family structure to longitudinal child outcomes and family functioning.”
Repeatedly, Farr’s research noted “no differences among (heterosexual and same-sex parent) family types” in myriad characteristics like behavior problems, stress levels, couple relationships, family functionality, relationship adjustments over time, and other factors.
She said she hopes “the findings may also help to move public debate forward about parenting and child outcomes across a diversity of family forms.”