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Keywords:

  • adopted children;
  • gay and lesbian parents;
  • sexual orientation;
  • foster care;
  • externalizing problems;
  • internalizing problems;
  • cognitive development;
  • transracial adoption

Adoption is known to promote cognitive and emotional development in children from foster care, but policy debates remain regarding whether children adopted by gay and lesbian parents can achieve these positive outcomes. This study compared the cognitive development and behavior problems at 2, 12, and 24 months postplacement of 82 high-risk children adopted from foster care in heterosexual and gay or lesbian households. On average, children in both household types showed significant gains in cognitive development and maintained similar levels of behavior problems over time, despite gay and lesbian parents raising children with higher levels of biological and environmental risks prior to adoptive placement. Results demonstrated that high-risk children show similar patterns of development over time in heterosexual and gay and lesbian adoptive households.