Indexed on: 02 Sep '14Published on: 02 Sep '14Published in: Professional psychology, research and practice
Little research has examined the transition to parenthood among couples who adopt through the child welfare system. The current qualitative study of 84 individuals within 42 couples (17 lesbian, 13 gay, and 12 heterosexual), who were placed with a child via foster care three months earlier, examined perceived changes in their intimate relationship. Findings indicated that, like heterosexual biological-parent couples, some adoptive parents perceived the loss of their partner's undivided attention as stressful to the relationship. Adoption-specific stressors were also identified, including the need to find state-approved child care to facilitate "couple time" and the legal insecurity of foster-to-adopt placements. Although our findings were similar for heterosexual, lesbian, and gay adoptive parents, same-sex couples cited some additional stressors related to their sexual minority status. Findings have implications for individual, couple, and family practitioners who work with lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents, particularly during their transition to parenthood.