Same-sex families seeking to adopt in Tennessee may be heartened by developments in Michigan. One large foster care and adoption agency has acknowledged its responsibilities under a state legal settlement, affirming that it will now place children in LGBT families' homes. The agency, Bethany Christian Services, is a non-profit organization that contracts with the state government to handle around 8 percent of its foster care and adoption cases. There are around 13,000 cases involving children from troubled households with state involvement.
Same-sex couples can generally adopt children in Tennessee and all other states. However, it may still be illegal for those in same-sex relationships to adopt children from some foreign countries. Regardless of where the adoption is taking place, the couple may need to be in a relationship that has legal recognition in the child's birth country.
For Tennessee residents who are thinking about adoption, the rise of genetic testing available in direct-to-consumer kits has changed older ideas about confidentiality and secrecy. In the past, birth parents could place a child for adoption anonymously, in a closed process. In this type of adoption, the child or adoptive family would know little about how to contact the biological parents. While there were abuses associated with the closed adoption system and many parents had moved toward more open adoptions, that process has been changed through the use of at-home DNA kits.
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Individuals in Tennessee and throughout the country who wish to become adoptive or foster parents generally have the right to do so. Typically, an individual must show that he or she is able to care for a child. In many cases, the sexual orientation of the prospective parent doesn't influence whether he or she can have the child. However, some adoption agencies are allowed to discriminate against same-sex individuals based on religious grounds.