There are currently no federal laws that specifically regulate homosexual adoption. States, however, may have laws that regulate adoptions options for gays and lesbians. For the most part, state laws are vague enough to leave interpretation of adoption laws for gays and homosexuals open. Other states, however, have chosen to create laws that explicitly address homosexual adoption. Florida, for example bans any form of gay or lesbian adoption. California, on the other hand, permits all forms of gay and lesbian adoption.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are three tiers of gay adoption options that each state's laws may or may not address. A state's law may permit individual homosexuals to petition for adoption, usually by way of permitting any adult to adopt. The law may permit a same-sex couple to jointly petition to adopt a child. And a law may permit a co-parent of the same sex to adopt a spouse or partner's child.
Laws about homosexual adoption are usually formed out of pressure to define or resist defining what a perfect family could be. Although American society is changing and more laws are in favor of less traditional ideals, there are still plenty of birth mothers, private agency case workers and organizations that will not choose to place a child with a gay or lesbian couple or individual. Gays and lesbians should always consult and attorney about their state's laws or, if pursuing an international adoption, the laws of a specific country regarding homosexual adoption.