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Can HIV+ people adopt?

Rebecca Denison

There is no law preventing HIV+ people from adopting children. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects people from being discriminated against based on HIV alone. However, foster care and adoption placement agencies do have a responsibility to ensure that potential parents are healthy enough to care for the children until they grow to adulthood. The criteria used to make this determination varies state-by-state, and agency-by-agency. Some agencies also set other criteria for adoptive parents, such as age, length of marriage, or sexual orientation. If an adoptive or foster parent might not survive until the child is 18, an agency might require proof that another adult (spouse, grandparent, aunt) would be healthy enough and committed to raising the child.

The Independent Adoption Center (see below) specializes in "open adoption" (where birth mothers choose the people who will adopt their baby, and the children grow up knowing that they are adopted and who their birth mother is). According to Sharon Fitzgerald, the Intake Director there, people with HIV are welcome to register with their agency. While she acknowledges that birth mothers maybe less likely to choose parents who are HIV-positive, they believe birth mothers are adult enough to make the choice they think is best for their baby, and a small number have chosen HIV+ parents for their babies. She also says it is more common for birth mothers to choose gay couples as parents now, than it was five years ago.

Adoption Resources

* The Independent Adoption Center,, 800/877-6736, holds workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Laguna Hills, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Raleigh and White Plains, NY.

* has links to many organizations, adoption agencies, and websites.

* If you are interested in adopting a child in the foster care system, contact the adoption coordinator of your county social services agency.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 1, 2002
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