Despite the fact that they face legal hurdles in at least half of the 50 states, more gay couples are adopting children, US census data shows. About 19% of same-sex couples with children had an adopted child in the house in 2009, up from 8% in 2000, the New York Times reports. Increased acceptance of homosexuality is certainly one factor, but the 115,000 children currently waiting for homes in the US is another. “The reality is we really need foster and adoptive parents, and it doesn’t matter what the relationship is,” says one family services department director. “If they can provide a safe and loving home for a child, isn’t that what we want?”
Though gay couples are only prohibited from adopting in two states, they face problems in many others, especially those in which they cannot marry. But adoption agencies who work with gay and lesbian prospective parents are on the rise, and even the Obama administration sent an official memo to child welfare agencies in April noting that same-sex couples can play a larger role in adoptions. But some conservatives are still fighting gay adoption, and same-sex couples still face unique problems: One Ohio couple has two distinct family units, with three children adopted by one parent and five adopted by the other, custody agreements to cover the gaps, and separate family health insurance policies.