International adoption includes adopting a child from another country through an agency or independently. This is a route many gay and lesbian couples have chosen in the past because there is a greater chance of adopting an infant, the wait time is often shorter, and there is less of a chance of the adoption being challenged legally than there is in the US. However, the current climate for International Adoption for gays and lesbians is pretty dismal. Many of the top 5 countries for children adopted by US families (Guatemala, China, Ethiopia, South Korea, and Russia) explicitly ban openly gay and lesbian parents or unmarried singles of any sex from adopting. As a result, options for gays and lesbians interested in adopting internationally are quite limited. In the past, many gay and lesbian prospective parents have gotten around some of these requirements by adopting as a single parent and hiding their sexual identity (often conforming to a different version of a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy with agencies). However as more and more countries adopt Hague Convention guidelines and procedures (put in place to protect families and children in the adoption process by making guidelines clear and transparent for all countries), the more difficult it may be to dodge questions about your partner and lifestyle. That said there are some agencies that will thoroughly present your options for international adoption as a gay man or lesbian.
See our list of gay-friendly adoption agencies for more information.