The Future of Adoption Includes Gay Dads

Building a family is typically an exciting and nerve wracking experience. For those like Nick Adams-King and his husband more of the process has to do with paperwork and meetings than late night cravings and morning sickness. Nick’s family was built through adoption in the UK. Since 2002 gay couples have been allowed to add to their families legally through adoption. (1)

Adams-King and his partner were the first male couple to be approved for adoption in their part of the country. They encountered a certain amount of editing on the documents they were presented as social workers scribbled out the “Mr. and Mrs.” heading. The social workers also had to reimagine some of the typical events that occurred along the adoption path in the UK, such as the bump-into meeting. Ordinarily social workers in the UK will orchestrate a time for the potential adopters to bump into their future adopted child and their foster parent at a public place. In the case of Adams-King the social worker requested that the couple sit at a local kids play area and to watch the children, waiting to bump into their future adopted son. The location just happened to be a place where Nick had recently run in a political race for parliament, so his face was widely known. 

“So I was like, so let’s get this straight. You want to go to Frankie’s Fun Factory, and sit and watch a little boy in a place where most people will know exactly who I am. And you don’t think I’m going to get arrested for doing that? That wouldn’t look odd if you were saying that to a heterosexual couple but it’s not the same with two guys.” Nick said.

After navigating all of the normally heterosexual pathways of adoption Nick and his partner welcomed first their son and later their daughter into their family. (2) been the first family of their kind in their area, but many have followed them. Adoptions among gay couples in the UK have gone up each year since they were legalized and jumped 17% in 2022 alone. (3) The US is in a bit of a different world than the UK with a patchwork of state laws covering the US in spotty gay adoption rights. Some states have laws actively discriminating against same sex couples where others protect their rights and allow both parents to adopt a child in a similar way to heterosexual couples. (4)

The Number of Gay Dads is Increasing

As gay adoptive dads increase in number the studies involving them and their children are increasing right alongside them. There have been a number of studies done in the last decade that show the adopted children of gay couples do just as well if not better than their counterparts in heterosexual homes when it comes to their quality of relationship with their parents, or their adjustment to their adoptive homes.  (5) 

Studies Show Gay Dads are Doing a Good Job

It is still true that adopted children are more likely than those who have not been adopted to have issues like depression and aggression. Adoption is not easy on a child and many adopted children have been through a lot before reaching a stable environment in their adopted families. (6) (7). One study also found that gay couples tend to be matched with harder to place children more often. This is partially due to their openness to take such placements. (8) Being a nurturing parent is a standard many parents have difficulty attaining. The extra scrutiny put on gay adoptive parents as they become more numerous is revealing that overall, they are doing a good job meeting and sometimes exceeding this expectation when they adopt children. (9)

The adoption landscape is changing in many ways. It seems that in the future gay couples are going to be increasingly more involved in providing homes for children who need them. So far they appear to be an asset to children in need of adoption. (10)


  1. “Record number of children adopted by LGBT families.” Gov.UK, 2 Mar. 2015,
  2. Spiering, Charlyn. “How To Dads Adopted in the UK.” Adoption Uncovered, edited by Charlyn Spiering, 25 Apr. 2023,
  3. ” Adoptions by same-sex couples in England surge 17 per cent in a year.”, 18 Nov. 2022,
  4. “Same-sex adoption in the United States.” Wikipedia, 4 Apr. 2023,
  5. McConnachie, Anja L., et al. “Adoptive Gay Father Families: A Longitudinal Study of Children’s Adjustment at Early Adolescence.” Society for Research in Child Development, 3 Sept. 2020,
  6. “Adopted children can experience lasting mental health problems.” Nation Institute for Health and Care Research, 28 Aug. 2020,
  7. Blanchfield, Theodora. “What Are the Mental Health Effects of Being Adopted?” VeryWellMind, 14 Feb. 2022,,passed%20on%20to%20the%20child.
  8. Costa, Pedro A., et al. “Different Placement Practices for Different Families? Children’s Adjustment in LGH Adoptive Families.” NIH, 18 June 2021,
  9. Hart, Robert. “Kids Raised By Same-Sex Parents Fare Same As—Or Better Than—Kids Of Straight Couples, Research Finds.” Forbes, 6 Mar. 2023,
  10. “APA on Children Raised by Gay and Lesbian Parents.” American Psychological Association, 2012,

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