5 LGBT-Friendly Countries For Adoptive Parents

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, which offers the opportunity to build awareness for the children and teens seeking a home, and to support individuals hoping to adopt. In particular, adoption is an oft-selected channel gay couples turn to in order to start families. The number of gay and lesbian couples adopting children is on the rise in the United States, and with the recent passage of marriage equality in Hawaii and Illinois, the number will continue to grow.

Yet the adoption process remains a patchwork of complexly woven restrictions for LGBT couples in the United States. According to the Family Equality Council, a majority of states still impose restrictions against LGBT couples hoping to adopt. Only 19 states and the District of Columbia allow gay couples to jointly adopt, while more shockingly, six states maintain an explicit ban on LGBT adoptive and foster parents.

In good news, not all countries are behind the pack in terms of adoption rights. The United States can take a page of out these countries’ books when it comes to LGBT adoption:

1. Sweden

Notwithstanding recent efforts in Russia to “prevent” adoption of a Russian child from gay couples in Sweden, the Scandinavian country has had progressive LGBT adoption rights for years. For starters, Sweden legalized adoption for gay couples in 2002, making it one of the first European states to give the LGBT community that right. Couples also face no restrictions when adopting — children be adopted from within Sweden and abroad.

2. Spain

The late Pope John Paul II harshly criticized Spain’s elected officials when Parliament voted to allow same-sex marriage and adoption in the predominantly Catholic nation. Despite ongoing criticism, gay couples in Spain have been able to adopt since 2005, and benefit from tax advantages and family leave rights heterosexual adoptive parents had for years beforehand. While anti-LGBT groups have recently attempted to appeal these rights, the highest courts of Spain readily upheld the nation’s equality laws and dismissed such appeals.

3. Belgium

Like Sweden, Belgium was an “early-adopter” when it came to LGBT rights. In 2003, it became the second nation to legalize same-sex marriage, and adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples followed in 2006. While figures for adoption by LGBT couples remained low in the years following legalization, a 2012 report revealed that half of all adoptions in Belgium were by gay and lesbian couples.

4. Argentina

In Argentina, the right for gay couples to marry and adopt children came after an intense debate and narrow 33-27 vote in Congress in July of 2010. Pope Francis, then known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, championed against such rights in his native country before it was voted on in Congress. Today, the Pope remains in ardent disapproval of LGBT rights, but Argentinians can take pride in both obtaining these rights, and having been the first Latin American country to do so.

5. Iceland

Considering the anti-LGBT fervor that persists today, you may be surprised to learn that the vote to legalize gay marriage in Iceland was met with little opposition when it passed with a unanimous vote in 2010. What’s more, LGBT couples in the Nordic nation have been able to adopt and co-parent since 2006.  It’s no wonder the legal status of LGBT people in Iceland is considered one of the best in the world.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Thomas M
Thomas M1 months ago

thank you for posting

Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a year ago

Doesn't say much for the U.S. Thank you for posting.

federico bortoletto

Grazie della condivisione.

Surya-Patricia Hood

To Sandra C:

In an ideal world, perhaps that might be so. However, we don't live in an ideal world. Most of the kids I know come from broken families where some of the parents have re-married but most have not. These children live with single parents.

If you are going to live life on research made by people who have possibly been paid to come to a certain result, then you are in for a big surprise. It is always well advised to know the source of research money. Have you ever heard of the Koch brothers who spend millions to obtain the results they want?

The fact remains that children living in a loving family unit turn out to be well-adjusted kids. The gender of the parents isn't any where near important as the loving environment in which the children live.

Sandra C.
Sandra Caddy5 years ago

Yes Heather G said, 'The "wants" of adults to take care of and raise children are an important and necessary part of adoption ... '
Of course but I say the wants of adults must remain secondary to the needs and what is optimum care for the children.
Of course people who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle are georgeous and to be loved etc however research has shown the best results for children is to be brought up with a mum and a dad so .... also recent research which suggested evidence to the contrary was shown to be flawed.

Heather G.
Heather G5 years ago

Sandra C, the "wants" of adults to take care of and raise children are an important and necessary part of adoption regardless of who the adults are. Adults who don't want to raise children would not be the best parents for adopted children, even if they are married to members of opposite sex. Adults who want to adopt have the right to be treated the same regardless of gender, sexual orientation or marital status.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

for those of you saying "my god says blah blah blah.." and "well the bible says homosexuality is blah blah hell blah blah sin blah" yeah... nobody cares. Really. Your religious choices have ZERO bearing on reality, other than the harm and ludicrous violence that runs rampant in it's wake. If I had some pointless religion it would not have any say in politics or law making or preventing good things from happening to innocent children who need love. Keep your outdated, sad goat herder book of fairy tales out of our SECULAR laws, our SECULAR Constitution, our SECULAR PUBLIC schools, our social systems and our vaginas. kthanks :)

Hazel G.
Hazel G5 years ago

Brilliant to hear that progress is being made, but I anxiously await the day that these lists are redundant, because all countries recognise equal rights.

Janis K.
Janis K5 years ago

This is a very good thing!

Sandra C.
Sandra Caddy5 years ago

If we are talking rights re adoption - shouldn't the emphasis be on the rights for the children to have the best care as opposed to focusing here on what a group of adults want and calling those wants rights..