Birth relatives’ perspectives about same-gender parent adoptive family placements

Rachel H. Farr, Cassandra P. Vázquez, Emily P. Lapidus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little research exists about the experiences of birth relatives connected to lesbian and gay (LG) parent adoptive families. Using mixed methods, we examined the perspectives of birth relatives and other adoption triad members (adoptive parents, adoptees). First, from interviews with birth relatives (N = 62) in the USA, we explored openness to same-gender parent adoptive placements. Next, we conducted a thematic analysis from interviews with a subsample (n = 24) whose child was placed with LG adoptive parents about why LG parents were chosen. Finally, eight (of these 24) were connected to seven LG adoptive parent families who were participants in a larger study. Among these adoption triads, we investigated how members described their contact experiences. Results showed that most birth relatives were open to placements with same-gender couples, and those who had done so often made this decision intentionally for various specific reasons. Birth relatives tended to be satisfied with adoptive family contact and desired more in the future. Adoption triad members generally reported warm feelings toward each other and commitments to continued contact. These findings provide insight about diverse conceptualizations of kinship, how contact can be effectively navigated across complex family relationships, and implications for adoption practice and policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-640
Number of pages17
JournalFamily Process
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
First and foremost, we wish to humbly express our appreciation and thanks to the birth and adoptive family participants who shared their stories and experiences with us. We are also very thankful to the many research team members who transcribed and coded interview data represented here. Finally, we are grateful for the support provided through the Family Process Institute Early Career Research Grant, awarded to Dr. Rachel H. Farr, for funding the birth relative research project, as well as the American Psychological Foundation Wayne F. Placek Grant, also awarded to Dr. Farr, for funding the second wave of the Contemporary Adoptive Families Study (CAFS W2). Support was also provided to Dr. Farr for the latter through the Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The first wave of CAFS was funded by the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, awarded to Dr. Charlotte J. Patterson.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Family Process Institute.


  • adoption openness
  • adoption triad
  • birth family
  • lesbian and gay
  • same-gender parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Birth relatives’ perspectives about same-gender parent adoptive family placements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this