Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care

LGBTQ+ Parenting (Part 2): Adoption

December 15, 2021 Season 15 Episode 51
Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care
LGBTQ+ Parenting (Part 2): Adoption
Show Notes Transcript

We talk about LGBTQ+ adoption with Dr. Abbie Goldberg, a Professor of Psychology and Director of Women’s & Gender Studies at Clark University. Her research and writing focus on diverse families, including LGBTQ parent and adoptive families, and she has authored and edited 8 books and over 130 peer-reviewed articles in this area.

In this episode, we cover:

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Welcome to Creating a Family talk about adoption and foster care. I'm Dawn Davenport. I am both the host of this podcast as well as the director of the nonprofit creating a Today is the second part of an LGBTQ plus parenting series and today we're going to be talking about adoption. We'll be talking with Abbie Goldberg. She is a professor of psychology, and current director of Women's and Gender Studies at Clark University. Her research and writing focuses on diverse families, including LGBTQ families, parents, adoptive parents, and she has authored and edited eight listen to that guy's eight books, and over 130 peer reviewed articles. Let me tell you, she is prolific welcome, Abbie to Creating a Family, we are so glad to have you. Thank you so much for having me again. I was on this in 2009. You know, I was trying I think I think we were corresponding it was it was 2009. You're exactly right. Time it does fly. So let's start with something that, you know, there has been significant changes in the area of LGBTQ plus adoption. It has been it's been fascinating. We've been doing this show for 14 years. And it has been really interesting to me to see the shift. And I'm so happy for this shift. So let me begin by saying let's asking you about the legality of LGBTQ plus parenting parents adopting in the United States. Can you just give us a brief overview? Yeah. So of course, as you mentioned, things have changed a lot, particularly in the last five to seven years. And all states now allow LGBTQ folks to adopt. So Mississippi, as you might remember, was the last state to overturn their ban on gay adoption and 2016, a federal judge deemed it unconstitutional. And of course, before that, we remember the Florida fans on adoption. And anyway, so the point being is that we're in a very different environment now than we were then. But of course, there are still many, many issues related to, to discrimination in the adoption world. So for example, you know, we see that, you know, just under half of LGBTQ folks live in states that actually have no explicit protections against against discrimination and adoption based on sexual orientation and or gender identity. So that means that agencies, for example, and professionals can interfere with folks who want to adopt, so there's no sort of prohibitions on discrimination. And there's, of course, a number of states that have introduced legislation that would allow kind of these religious exemptions so people can discriminate based on religious conviction, for example, and agencies or be allowed. Right, exactly, yeah. Let me refer people to the creating a Website, we've got resources where we link to other resources, as well as include information on the legality and others. And it would be creating a, hover over the word adoption, click on you'll have a drop down menu, click on adoption topics and go to LGBTQ adoption. Can you do this may be something you don't know. And so I can read some of the stats off. But I'm always I think that people don't understand the importance of the LGBTQ plus community in the world of adoption. Do you? Can you do you have at your fingertips some stats that are relevant to how common it is in that community? And what they do? Yeah, I do, only because I have to sort of, you know, call up these kinds of statistics in various contexts. So yeah, I figured you did.

So and I work closely with the Williams Institute, which is often responsible for kind of providing these kinds of very useful updated statistics. So we have about 114,000 Same sex couples who are raising kids right now, including 20,000 male, same sex couples and 86,000 Female same sex couples. We know that same sex couples who are raising kids are somewhere between seven to 10 times more likely to be raising an adopted child compared to their heterosexual different sex counterparts. So seven to 10 times more likely, if they have a child, seven to 10 times more likely that that kid is adopted. We also know that they're just generally more interested in adoption as a family building route compared to heterosexual folks can view it maybe as a more ideal family building route compared to her sexual folks. So those are just a couple of them. A couple of statistics, but and they're also more likely to adopt through from foster care. Yeah. Which I think it's also something that a lot of times people don't recognize and realize that they are

In many ways, providing a huge untapped resource for finding foster families.

Yeah, I mean, a lot of my research, some of which I did in kind of consultation with the Human Rights Campaign, we found that basically, trans folks actually were the most open to that so called kind of hard to place children. So, you know, sibling groups, older children, children of color children with physical or mental health challenges, followed by female sexual minorities, followed by male sexual minorities, and all that more so than than cisgender heterosexual folks. So they are an untapped resource. Absolutely. I'm interested in that. Do you? Did your research go any deeper to find out why you think that trans folks are? I mean, I can speculate, but I'm not sure my speculation is accurate, why they would be open to the kids. As you mentioned, the kids that are harder to place are often kids who have their older sibling groups, certainly, but older kids who've experienced more trauma and often have have bounced around more. So anyway, yeah. What are your thoughts as to the why Yeah. When we asked folks kind of tone of explain on, you know, their preferences or their openness, what's interesting is, trans folks were probably the most likely to sort of talk about why they were open versus like, why they couldn't do something. So when we talk to folks about why they're interested or willing to adopt certain kinds of kids, we actually find that, for example, male, same sex couples are most likely to talk about, as you said, not wanting to load the child with so many challenges. So two dads translationally adopted. And then if we throw in, you know, additional challenges, physical, physical challenges, cognitive challenges, maybe, you know, they're also a child who is LGBT, that it just seems like too much too much for them too much for the child. And trans folks were much more likely to focus on the characteristics of the children that made them vulnerable, that made them more likely to be placed in in the foster care system that made them less likely to find a permanent home. So you know, child to themselves as LGBT, or a teenager or a part of a sibling group, all the things that might make them less likely to be adopted, and to say, you know, how could I not open my family or opened my heart to this child, when, you know, I, myself have experienced challenges or barriers even to get to this point of adopting. And I would say LGBTQ folks in general often talk about how their own experiences of navigating discrimination in the world and facing barriers and trying to become parents has really sensitize them to perhaps be more open than other types of individuals and couples, they feel like how could they discriminate against a particular child when they themselves have endured that type of discrimination? Hmm, yeah, that was gonna be what my theory was. And, and, and I think trans folks probably faced the most, and therefore, perhaps are have internalized that to make them more empathetic, or more. That would be my non professional. And you're the professional. So Well, yeah.

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Do you see you've already mentioned one of them? My question is, yes, it is now legal about but we know that there is still some residual prejudiced against all forms of LGBTQ plus parents when wanting to adopt or foster. So I thought it would be interesting to break out the different types of adoption or fostering and and and mention any type of residual issues that they faced or hardships that they face in adopting. You've mentioned one already, which I think would apply probably to all types of adoption. And that is that in some place, some states it is still okay for there's a religious exemption that if an agency who is placing as a religious opposition to gay parents, then they can they can they can discriminate. So we've already mentioned that one. So let's start with talking about foster care. Do you see any residual prejudices against LT

Take you plus parents in either fostering or adopting from foster care. Yeah, I think, you know, the research shows us that this, there certainly is. But, of course, it's more pronounced in certain states, certain areas, we find that there's sort of sort of strong kind of regional differences. So if you're trying to adopt, say, maybe in the on the East Coast, New England, you know, you might find less opposition less discrimination, compared to certain parts of the south, for example, the southern regions of the United States. So it tends to kind of correlate pretty well with other types of both legislation and just general attitudes about LGBTQ folks, we see kind of big differences by region, as well as kind of a political affiliation, the dominant, you know, what, who won what state, you know, whether it's their so called Red State or blue state, that sort of is a key determinant, I think of what folks face. And you know, there are great agencies, and then there are agencies that kind of routinely will come across my radar as agencies that folks have had trouble with.

Okay, how about domestic infant adoption, I would assume that your what your statement about agencies and regions is that does that follow with couples wanting to or individuals singles wanting to adopt a domestic infant does, and then if you think, of course, about the additional component of expectant parents, right, that you're going to potentially find more expectant parents were potentially open to placing a child with an LGBTQ person or couple in certain regions in certain areas of the country as compared to others. So of course, those attitudes that kind of blanket, both the agency and the personnel, as well as the folks that live in that region. So you know, you might find us more, you know, expecting or birth parents who are open to placing their child with LGBTQ folks in certain areas. Have you seen we have I don't know, this is anecdotal. So I'm if you are the researcher, so we, when we talk with male same sex couples, they tell us that they're finding almost just an I can't say it's, I have not tried to figure out whether this would be universal in all regions. But that a really great acceptance of from expectant parents, almost a preference as how they feel that they are being placed quicker, is that supported by what you say in the research. So it's very, that's something that has come up a lot in the last 17 years that I've been kind of researching this, and, you know, talking to so many folks who are adopting as well as adoption agencies. And it is certainly true, that there are a number of expectant moms who really like the idea of placing their child with two men, that there is no kind of symbolic or actual, you know, woman in the picture that could seem or be a kind of a mother. Yeah, a mother figure or there's no sort of symbolic competition. And there's less maybe concern about having to carve out a role with that family, you know, this could just be anticipatory anxiety, or, you know, it could be a real thing. But, and likewise, I will say, I know, you know, we'll probably get into this more later when we talk about open adoption, but you know, to men are often very open to kind of whatever role that birth mother might play in their role, they have a pretty broad idea about what contact might look like, they maybe have fewer kind of restrictions on the idea of what kind of relationship they would like. Now, I think, from talking to agencies, the order in which it tends to go is, you know, heterosexual couples are placed quickest, and they may be the biggest bullet expectant parents were open to a straight couple. And then two dads, and then two moms and singles are somewhere in there to either before after the two months. So that's kind of interesting. It is and that's that is exactly what we've heard. Yeah. And again, it's it's anecdotal in our part, but it Yeah, that's fascinating to me. All right. Now let's move to international adoption. 10 years ago, we could safely say that international adoption was really not an option unless you were willing to be to not acknowledge your sexual orientation. And plenty of people adopted and just didn't and then certain foreign countries made you have to make a specific it was not a error of omission. You had to specifically lie which weeded out even more, what's the status now? Now, international adoptions are are declining, but nonetheless they are still an option.

What's the horizon look like right now and international adoption, as far as LGBTQ, adoptions, parents? Yeah, it's so hard to kind of keep my finger on the pulse of what's happening because everything is so big, like, if you go on the internet, and you're trying to figure out if this is an option for you, it's really unclear, because as you said, in the past, so many LGBTQ folks adopted as, quote, unquote, single parents, right. That's how the home studies were written and then, right, and then you know, that really those doors most of the stores really closed. My understanding is that now there's a few countries that are open to openly LGBTQ folks, I want to say Colombia is one of them. And there were maybe one or two others, but it's really not. If I was guiding some folks, you know, towards looking at their family building options, I probably would not guide them towards that area. Because it is very challenging to navigate, there are very few options. And there are so many restrictions, even if you are trying to, you know, work with a country that does that is open. So there's often other restrictions in place, of course, that we see with international adoption, in general in terms of income requirements, health requirements, and so on. So international adoption, you know, has really changed over the last 10 to 20 years, and it's gotten a lot more complicated. Have one of the best resource may be the only resource that I know of that does this is at our website, creating a We have adoption comparison charts for the top Well, the United States as well, but also for the top placing countries to the United States. And we will in that in the information included there. You will see whether or not they are open to LGBTQ plus, we include that information. So that is a and we also include in the comparison charts, any other restrictions, as you mentioned there, how much it's going to cost, what your income would have to be things like that are included there. So it's a good one stop shop to understanding what your options are. And you could get that at creating a Again, hover over the word adoption. drop down menu appears and click on adoption comparison charts.

Did you know that most people find out about podcasts and specific podcasts through their friends. And we want you to be the friend who recommends the creating a family podcast, you probably run in circles with people are online or in person, other adoptive or foster or kinship families. Let them know about our podcast, it would help us and it would help them. Thanks.

Alright, and another one I wanted to another another topic I want to talk about about residual prejudice is embryo donation, it is sometimes called embryo adoption. It actually isn't a form of adoption. But since it is a form of non genetic parenting, and it's often spoken of as embryo adoption. So I wanted to talk about that one as well. What are your what what do you see as far and this may be outside of your area of expertise? But what is

it's not? I will Okay, I will then I will address it because I do know and I want to make sir. Oh, good. We will I will let you be the expert here because this is not something I study. Yeah, okay, well, that Oh, wow. A turn of tables. This is gonna go straight to my head Abby.

The issue with embryo donation is where you're going to find your embryos. There is not one universal source. It is a great form of family building. But how you find your embryos can be complicated for LGBTQ plus, because your two major options and there we have again, a lot of information on this at our website, creating a hover over adoption, click on adoption topics and go to embryo donation. There are a number of ways to find the to find embryos that the embryos become available because they have been created through IVF. The intended parents have more than their they have usually completed their ideal family size and they have leftover embryos. And if they're willing to donate, they will there are two main ways that you can find these embryos. One is through the clinic, where the embryos were created and oftentimes where they are stored. The complication there is that most clinics require that to enter their embryo donation program, you have to already be a patient. So you might be able to it could complicate things for two women who don't have infertility issues or for two men who is social infertility, and it says that they don't have a uterus but nonetheless, it could be complicated. It's worth

trying for going to the to the clinic to try to find out if they would be open. However, the other way, and quite frankly, probably numbers wise, it's either equal or more is to find embryos through agencies that their primary business is is donate is embryo donation, often called embryo adoption. And the two main ones have a restriction against LGBTQ In fairness, I don't know if it's actually a restriction. But they I know from talking with members of our community who have gone through them have gone, I've tried to go through them, they are not accepted. And they're not accepted, because they say that the parents who the intended parents, the creators of the embryos, do not choose LGBTQ plus parents. So in essence, whether it's the agency intending or refusing, or whether it's the intended parents, or the creators of the embryos, nonetheless, it is not it's not an easy option. It's still worth exploring. And again, we have a lot of resources that can help you navigate that. But it's not it's not a super easy way. Across the board, I find that topic a real interesting one, which Hence, why not not? And also we get a lot of questions about it. So we have a lot of resources on it. Am I correct in assuming that, that transgendered folks have a harder time with any form of adoption, because of misunderstandings, or just I don't know, in general, have you found that transgender face greater hardships and greater struggles when trying to adopt? Yeah, trans adults generally report more discrimination from adoption agencies. So with respect to kind of gender expression, their own gender, gender identity, you know, they report more kind of visible and maybe less visible signs that, you know, social workers are uncomfortable with them, or that home studies are written in such a way that they're kind of negatively disposed towards them, there's still so many agency personnel that I think are not super trans competent. And so they don't even necessarily recognize when they're being, you know, transphobic, or they're kind of demonstrating certain beliefs that they might have, such as, you know, the belief that trans people are, you know, less fit to be parents and that they have mental health issues that they will turn their child trans or gay. And a lot of these kinds of beliefs echo what we used to see, you know, 30, or even 20 years ago, when we're talking about agency personnel and ideas about say, you know, gay men parenting children, you know, the idea that all unfounded, but the idea that gay men are pedophiles, the idea that gay men, you know, who have children, you know, will, quote unquote, turn their child gay, whatever that means. So, you know, we see these kinds of blatant beliefs that are, again, unfounded, but really grounded in, you know, these cultural attitudes, and generally ignorance, which is one of the reasons why training of agency personnel is so incredibly important to help folks identify these kinds of biases, and hopefully educate them in such a way that they can move beyond them. Yeah, that makes that makes really good sense to me. We know that most especially domestic infant, but also some foster care, adoptions are open now. Does open adoption look different in LGBTQ plus families?

It does, in some ways. So you know, I have studied so many families who've been in open options now for you know, 13 to 15 years. And I will say that all of them. So these are families headed by heterosexual couples, female couples, male couples, all of them experienced tremendous change over time. So there's kind of no one line or kind of trajectory that is really kind of predictable in open adoption. But there are certain differences that we see, as I mentioned, you know, gay men tend to be kind of more open to a very wide range of types of relationships with birth moms, they're actually often they say that they actually hope that the birth mom will be involved, you know, again, because there's no mom in the parental unit. So especially if they have daughters, they will often say that they really hope that the birth mom will will and can be a resource. Interestingly, the same does not hold true for two mom families. So there isn't this parallel tendency for them to kind of espouse a hope for, you know, the idea that birth fathers will necessarily be involved, but that kind of speaks to the general invisibility of birth fathers, I think, yeah, you're Yeah, so I think there are these differences, but I will say that there are so many relationships, so many open adoption relationships that I've seen

where, you know, there, there really is a mutuality and trust between the birth families and the adoptive parents. And I think part of that has to do with the fact that LGBTQ folks are just generally more open to more expansive ideas around kinship. You know, they kind of think about family and maybe in a broader way, then searchers have been raised, you know, in heterosexual parent families, and they're in heterosexual parent families. And it's interesting, that kind of that's a good segue into my next question, which is, do LGBTQ plus parents parent, in ways that are recognized will be different than cisgender heterosexual parents? Yeah. So you know, for so many years, people were so focused on, you know, are there differences, right, like, are they less good? Are they, you know, then heterosexual parents, and, you know, all the data shows that in terms of parenting quality, there's no sort of serious differences. But in terms of the nuances of how they parent, there are some interesting differences that have emerged, and one is this interesting tendency to kind of divide up unpaid labor. So childcare and parenting responsibilities more equally, right. And to mom or to Dad family, there aren't these kind of clear gender roles, these gender and expectations about who does what, which allows them maybe to divide up labor more equally, and that can have of course, effects on kids, you know, in terms of their own gender ideologies, their own kind of beliefs around behaviors and activities, and how those correlate with gender or don't. And LGBT parents also tend to be more, I would say, tolerant and even affirming of kind of gender creativity. So, you know, straying away from traditional gender binaries in terms of play and activities and dress and toys, so less likely to have beliefs like, you know, that's a boy's toy, or that's a girl's activity, or you can't wear a dress because you're a boy. Um, so there's maybe greater engagement with the fluid today, around gender.

And I would refer people to Susan golden box book, modern families, as well as honestly, we've interviewed her a number of times on creating a family, so you can just go through our archive or just search for Golden and gaol. Oh, MB, okay. And she's done some fascinating research in that area, which I just continue to read forever, leading into then how you alleged you're not alleged, you said at the beginning that people thought that in the past that two gay dads were going to be either pedophiles or turning the kid gay or whatever. So how are the children in LGBTQ plus families faring now that we've now we have good research for many years?

Yeah, so you know, there's so many studies, and they're so consistent in terms of their overall findings, which, you know, all the big things like, you know, sort of mental health and adjustment and social functioning and school functioning. You know, most studies show that there really are very, very few differences between kids are raised by LGBTQ parents and kids who are raised by sis heterosexual parents, there are some differences. And they often have a lot to do with the fact that their families may be more stigmatized. So for example, they may be more likely to be teased in according to some of my newer research in certain regions, so less progressive areas, and or maybe more rural areas, again, reflecting these differences may be in attitudes, which makes them more vulnerable. And, you know, they may be also these kids may be more open to kind of more tolerant of differences and other kids some more open to kind of a broader spectrum of, you know, potential friends, which is arguably very positive, shall we say? So, yeah, and they may be more open to gender and sexuality exploration themselves. Because, again, they don't have this idea that say, being gay is a bad thing, which again, is arguably really healthy, that kids can hit puberty and early, you know, adolescence and young adulthood, and feel free to figure out who they are in general, whether that has to do with their sexuality, their gender, their religion, exploring their status as adoptees, whatever.

Yeah, that makes good sense to me. And just logically speaking, you would be less hesitant to explore because you don't think you realize you won't have the condemnation or the disapproval of your parents and that we will be accepted right.

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Alright, so Abby, you have your I'm moving into one of the things I love about at the beginning, I said you were have written over 130 peer reviewed articles in this area. This is like a candy store for someone like me. They I went to your website is Abby But let me pause here because you're getting ready to when this show airs, you will have a new website. So go ahead and tell us the name of the new website so that people can get to find you both places. So we teach all families, and it's a website that's specifically designed for both families, and also for teachers who want to be more inclusive, and you know, affirming of LGBT parent families. Okay, so Abby Goldberg comm will continue to remain Correct. Oh, yeah, that's more my kind of personal research. So the teach all families calm, is really filled with teaching tools and resources for making schools more inclusive of LGBT parent families. So there's tons of resources there. And then it's great for families, because they can go there and look at what's available. There's printable PDFs, and they can actually bring that to their children's school and say, you know, here's some ideas, for example, for making this preschool classroom, as an example, more inclusive of families are like ours. Okay, excellent. Well, at the Abby Goldberg comm website, you list you're probably not all of them, but many of your peer reviewed articles. So I spent the most wonderful 3040 minutes reading through just titles and clicking on some, so if you will indulge me I want to have you just give us a synopsis of I'm limited myself to just two, but I wanted to include more. But so so for guys listening, go to her website and and just look at the titles and you will just find them. If you are a research geek like me, you will find them absolutely fascinating. But one is lesbian, gay and heterosexual adoptive parents experience with pediatricians. Okay, so that begs the question, what are lesbian, gay and heterosexual adoptive parents experiences with pediatricians? And how does that differ from cisgender heterosexual parents? Yeah, we did the study, because there just is so little research on kind of how adoptive families interface with the healthcare environment, I'm really interested is probably obvious in families and systems families in their broader context, whether that's the legal system or school system, health care system. So I was really interested in understanding more about, you know, how do people find pediatricians? And how do adoptive families experience them? What do they experience as affirming? And what kinds of practices do they find alienating? And how often do they switch pediatricians because they're not getting what they need. So we found that more than that, more than three quarters of them did talk to their pediatricians about adoption. So they did feel like it was important for their pediatricians to know that their child was adopted. It's interesting, though, that under a quarter felt like that wasn't something that they wanted them. That's that is more interesting to me, actually.

So and we sort of were interested in that. And it's clear that the folks that didn't share that it seems to be a function of two things. One is that they've had really negative experiences sharing that information, because they felt like pediatricians were not adoption competent and make all kinds of assumptions about their family and or kind of awful about it. And it didn't really aid them they felt another was these were kind of new new pediatricians, maybe they hadn't kind of gotten around to it. And then a third reason was that they really channeled all their health care needs into other specialty services and, and health care professionals. So they had a pediatrician, but they also had a whole host of other folks that they were working with whom they kind of designated as their kind of adoption people. So they just sort of didn't want to get involved, I guess with their pediatrician. And again, these were typically people who didn't spend a lot of time at the pediatrician. So it was really like a, you know, one once a year wellness visit and that was it. But they were also seeing other professionals for other things like neurological or mental health and that sort of thing. So so did the LGBTQ plus parents have a different experience or did you not compare them to cisgender heterosexual Is that not part of the study? We did

We did look at them, there were very few differences in terms of whether they talk to their pediatricians and whether they felt like their pediatricians were affirming. But many of them did, did talk about how their jobs were harder in some ways, because they were looking for a pediatrician who was adoption, competent, and also often culturally competent, and also often LGBT, if not competent than at least affirming. So they were pretty, you know, they were balancing quite a lot in terms of searching for kind of the ideal pediatrician, and many of them felt like, you know, we made certain sacrifices, it was more important for us, for example, to have, you know, as an example, a Latinx pediatrician who shared the same background to racist our child versus, you know, being really gay friendly, like they're fine, but there's nothing special. So that was that was sort of interesting. And we did also find that those folks who adopted internationally felt the most positively. So they felt like their pediatricians understood adoption, more so than other folks. And that may be I think, a function of fact that there are more of these adoption medicine specialists who have been historically focused on international adoptions. That's the route that international adoption clinics are right. And many, many people, at least initially start off and oftentimes even continue a telehealth relationship with them. That's fascinating. Okay, so the, the one I really want to ask you about is this, this is the title of some of your research. It's, it's a little older parental naming practices, and same sex adoptive families. What a great thing to research. I have no idea what you found. So I'm so curious. I didn't let myself read it ahead of time. So I would, yeah, yeah. So what did you find? You know, I'm just as a researcher, I'm just driven by a ton of curiosity. I can tell. So I was just very interested, there really hasn't been any systematic research looking at, you know, how do parents decide what their children will call them? Right? Like, you know, Mama, Mommy, Daddy, Daddy, Papa Eema. You know, there's, there's a variety of different options. So I was interested in, you know, what kinds of names same sex couples chose, and kind of what the process of choosing those names look like. So we found that, you know, gay dads most often shows daddy as the parent name that was like, the one that everyone wanted. And more than half of the two dad families chose the combination of daddy and Papa. It's so funny, because most of the families I know, that's exactly what our Papa Papa or something. Yeah, yeah. So it's just, yeah, so and then lesbian moms most often use mom or mommy, and more than half used the combination of mama, and Mommy. So these are all just different combinations. These combinations are examples of what we call parallel names, which, you know, like mama and mommy, like sort of the parallel naming practice. And there were some exceptions, like some folks use things like mama mom Z, or they use their first names, or one was mama and one was their first name. And, and then, you know, you know, they were generally drawing on kind of the dominant names that were available, like in our broader culture. And, you know, one could say that, by using these sort of familiar names, you know, they were actively encouraging other people to see them as real parents, right. They were,

you know, drawing on what people were familiar with, and what society generally understands. It's like, oh, that's, that's a name a kid calls a parent. But some of them did not feel that these were perfect terms. And they struggled with kind of finding the right word that resonated with them, right, that were maybe weren't so gendered. So a few of them came up with other terms that they felt like we're a little bit more gender neutral or gender inclusive, and not so binary. And mix Yeah, I could see that too. Although I would have to say from the other thing is that it's also it's, you're giving a signal to the broader world, that I am in a parenting I am a parent, because the, the nomenclature that you use the name that you've chosen, but you're also making it easy for your child because in your child, when they're going to say I'm going to call my mom, everybody knows that they're calling their mom. Right? I'm calling mom. That's true. And I will say to that most of them were flexible or just because we we asked them about this before they had children and then right after most of them were really flexible around you know, my my kid might come up with something totally different, which is totally true. And I can say that as a parent that you know, something like somehow I ended up as a mama which I didn't expect it expect but it's just what my kid has stuck with. And I mean, sometimes kids just come up with something different and and that is just rings true. I think no matter what form your family takes

that kids will just stick with something or sometimes kids can't pronounce something, and they come up with some derivative of that. So I think all the parents that we interviewed were very open to the possibility that this could actually be different. And actually, some of them did. Some of them, for example, adopted older children. And those children, you know, didn't, for example, get right away, call them mommy and Mama, right. Like they came up with something that for me, maybe felt more comfortable for them, given they were 12 1314 years old. Mm hmm. Yeah, that makes sense to our children will have a way of winning out in this area. Yeah. And my last question, and I feel like we I always want to raise this when talking about this topic, and that is, how are LGBTQ plus youth doing in foster care? And is there a need for parents to it out? Oh, gosh, yeah. I mean, we know LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care, which makes this a particularly important topic. So for example, the Williams Institute, they did a study, and they estimated that one in five youth in foster care in LA, were LGBT. So what that's, you know, one in five 20%, which is twice the number of LGBT youth that were, you know, that live outside of foster care. And they also found that LGBT youth were more likely to have a history of being, you know, in, you know, lots of foster care placements, and they were more likely to be living in a group home, which, of course, you know, inhibits the likelihood that they're going to be able to find a permanent family. So this is it's a huge issue. And, you know, for a variety of reasons, LGBT youth are more likely to land in foster care, you know, partly because of the kind of rejection that they might face in their families of origin. I think it really highlights the need for LGBTQ parents, right for foster parents and adoptive parents that, you know, LGBT parents are often really open to adopting LGBT teens. I mentioned again, about transparency being like the most open to adopting an LGBT teenager. And that's important, right, that we have people who can deeply empathize with these kids, and whose whose homes are open to them. And I do think that these kids love it. These kids are struggling, right, and any additional resources that we can offer them, I think, is really, really important. And we do have this untapped resource of parents who are often very open to, to at least fostering if not adopting them. Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned that. And even if you are not, don't feel that you are ready to adopt, consider fostering, because we need LGBTQ foster families for these youth in particular. Yeah, thank you so much, Abby Goldberg for being with us today to talk about LGBTQ plus parenting, specifically with adoption. I really appreciate it. And to everybody else. Check us next week. I look forward to seeing you then.

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