Seeking to Adopt in Florida: Lesbian and Gay Parents Navigate the Legal Process

Journal-Covers-GayLesbianSocialServicesBy Abbie E. Goldberg, Elizabeth R. Webera, April M. Moyera, Julie Shapirob
May 2014

Utilizing interview data from 22 lesbian and gay parents in Florida, the current exploratory study examined participants’ experiences navigating the legal and social service systems after the repeal of the Florida ban on gay adoption. Participants reported both positive and negative experiences in seeking out lawyers (e.g., some attorneys were accommodating and knowledgeable about gay adoption; others demonstrated discomfort about working with same-sex couples), working with social service agencies in an effort to adopt, and interfacing with the judicial system. This study furthers our knowledge of the lingering effects of discriminatory laws even after such laws have been formally removed, and holds implications for social workers and other practitioners who seek to support lesbian and gay parents and prospective parents as they adjust to the removal of antigay legislation (e.g., regarding marriage or adoption). Based on our findings, we provide recommendations for ensuring that legal and social service practitioners keep up with the rapid pace of legal reform and adapt their practices accordingly.

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*Article published in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services.