Can a single person with same sex attraction adopt a child?

Does the Catholic church allow a man or woman with same sex attraction who lives a chaste, single life to adopt a child? I’ve really been conflicted by this, because I am 26 years old and I long to have children (I’m even going to be a pediatrician) but at the same time my understanding is that the Catholic church wants children to preferentially be placed in a household with a mother and a father. Would it be right for me to raise a son without a mother? I don’t know that I could do it in good conscience. At the same time, I have to wonder why God would give me a desire to raise and care for a child if He never intended for me to be a parent. As with other desires (the desire to be married, to date, to be intimate with another human being), I know that same sex attraction can be a cross that one bears for the sake of holiness. I know too that there are many others who have equally or even more burdensome crosses. There are many people who cannot marry for many different reasons, there are infertile individuals, there are individuals who can never walk or speak or do things that I love like snowboarding or backpacking - there are many circumstances where longings are unfulfilled. All of this to say - I’ve never found an official Church teaching on the issue of single adoption, in particular by someone attracted to the same sex.

This is just my opinion, so please, please, please don’t take it as Church teaching-

I am adopted. If I wasn’t, I would have been brought up in a horrible home atmosphere. My birth mother, at that point in her life, had problems.

I strongly, strongly, strongly support adoption. By all means, look into it, do the research, talk to a priest, but God bless you 1000 times for even CONSIDERING it.

You rock my friend.

Maybe the absolute ideal environment for a child is a healthy 2 parent family, with a highly educated mother and father who are also wealthy, happy together and in love etc.

Most families come short of this. There are plenty of 2 parent families who wouldn’t be as good for a child than a certain type of single parent family. There are 2 parent families plagued by poverty, constant argument or even abuse, divorce, a lack of kindness and warmth and so on.

Children growing up in such families might do a great deal better with an educated, well off, loving single parent.

If you are living a chaste, single life, I do not think the same sex attraction aspect should matter. The issue is only whether the Catholic Church would allow for a single person to adopt a child. Honestly, I too am a proponent of adoption. My intuition says, yes, that should be permitted.

Only, a few cautionary notes: without another person to help you raise the child, you might have problem with time allocation, especially because you want to be a pediatrician, which is a very time-intensive field (my father worked in critical care and I felt like I never saw him sometimes). What are your supports? Do you have any sisters or close Catholic friends willing to spend the time to help you and also (perhaps) provide for a motherly figure in the child’s life?

Children also often mold their relationship choices after their parents’. In the absence of this, do you think that the child’s grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles could act as strong relationship role models?

If you decide that God is not calling you to be a parent, don’t give up on your love for children. God could be calling you to a more radical lifestyle like being a medical missionary for the needs of an orphanage, or even a mentor or foster parent for older children in distress.

God bless you!

chazk728: I haven’t founds a particular “ruling” by the Church on the matter. I went and still go by “take care of the widows and ORPHANS” and “love your neighbor”.
We can take this discussion offline if you want to discuss single adoption further. All I will say in a public post is that I am a single adoptive dad. I’m in my 30’s now. I adopted my first son when he was 9 and I was 28. I made sure he was raised Catholic. I was in the same boat as you, with the exception of the same sex attraction thing - but you have no way of knowing whether that’s true or not, but that’s not the point. Go to See the 1,000’s of children whom 80% will age out of the foster care system at 18 and knowing 90% of them will end up in jail or on the street and then ask yourself if God is really calling you to share your life with one of these precious innocent kids who, for the most part, pray for somebody like you or me to be their forever family. I’ve been matched with my 2nd son who’s in a different state as me. Only thing separating him from me is paperwork. Adoption has it’s ups/downs. I had a single adoptive dad going through the process be my mentor, and I’ve mentored another single adoptive dad as well. He’s even been 1 of my references for my 2nd son. As long as you KNOW it’s God first, your child second, and yourself last, adoption is awesome, rewarding, and tough. Just ask St. Joseph. There’s no bringing girlfriend(s)/boyfriend(s) home and unappropriate behavior like that. Always be a good role model for your child, adopted or biological. Period. Dating is few/far between and limited (hetero-speaking. same-sex I’d say just be good friends and don’t do anything to confuse/upset your child).

I’ll leave you with this thought: my soon-to-be-2nd-son’s social worker ended her last email to me 2 weeks ago telling me to hang in there while the paperwork is crawling through with “[he] is so worth it.” I agree. The only painful part now is he has yet to know his new forever dad is aching to hold him and welcome him to his new forever family - until all the paperwork goes through. {see the movie Martian Child}
Why did I adopt and why am I doing it again?

  1. God put it in my heart and I said ‘yes!’
  2. I have room in my life.
  3. I have room in my home.
  4. I have room in my family.
    A non-denom guy I just happen to catch on the tely said you don’t decide your calling; you discover it. That made sense. He said “who’s pain do you feel?”, “who’s enemies are you willing to battle?” The answers to both were my adoptive sons. 'Nuf said. Prayerfully consider your calling.

I would say yes.

I’d rather a child be brought up in a stable home with at least one loving parent than be left to foster care their whole life or to parents who can’t raise them.

Yes! This has always bothered me. Some people should never, ever be parents-we all know who they are and how they behave. Giving the kids up for adoption might be best in alot of circumstances.


First and formost let me take my hat off for you for deciding to bear this cross given you by Christ in humility and with the greatest intent to live up to the dignity of the challenge presented you. So few people, of any natural sexual orientation, are so willing to do what you have decided to do.

As far as adoption, well I have to think you have some very wonderful qualities to be a good example as a parent. But that said, as you were getting at your self there’s more to being a good parent than good qualities. Ideally yes, you would be married and you and your spouce would be equal participants in the rearing process. The thing is, childeren learn different things from different parents. Despite your dedication to Christ, it’s hard to make up for what you just naturally don’t have. So I would say that this is most certainly not an ideal situation.

As for whether it’s an impossible question, well that I don’t know the answer to. I would say start this way, first of all make sure that your desire to raise a child isn’t merely some way of trying to satisfy some sort of selfish personal desire. If you’re going to do so, make sure you’re doing it in an attitude of self sacrafice, for the good of the child. Given the fact that your head seems to be screwed up straight, I suspect you well understand this, but it’s worth saying anyhow.

Lastly, I would say consult your preist about this. If you feel more comfortable, I would suggest consulting your priest in the confessional. Have a good conversation with him, completely open and honest. And I would take to heart his advice.

God bless you,

Thanks to everyone who responded to my question, I really appreciate reading your responses. Just a few thoughts to the last post. I have spent a good amount of time on this question - whether my desire for children (or in fact, anyone’s desire for any objective good) is self-seeking or self-giving. For example, I discussed with my friend (who is married) the many benefits of marriage. For sure an ideal marriage would be one in which both spouses wanted to give themselves entirely to the other, to be totally and 100% self-sacrificing. However, my impression is that no human being lives up to this ideal perfectly, for there is always going to be a part of us that is self-seeking. Even in marriage, there are benefits to it - including the desire to be intimate with another person, to raise children, to enjoy sexual pleasure, even the very good and holy desire to give of oneself. And each spouse I imagine desires to be married - in part - for those benefits. So is it selfish or selfless to desire those things? Perhaps it is not so black and white.

As for me, I am not yet ready to consider adoption - for one, I am still too young and I have about 6 years of training ahead of me, but also because I would probably be doing it for selfish motives right now. I look around at those around me and see them dating, getting engaged, having children - and I wish so badly I could have those things, that I could be normal and share in the joy that others describe. However, I am praying, and there may come a day when my motivations are not so clearly selfish - and it’s then that I’m asking about. God bless you!

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