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Recent Same-Sex Adoption in Puerto Rico?

Has anybody adopted recently from Puerto Rico recently? What is the process? We are a same-sex couple from Canada looking to adopt in PR. Any info would be greatly appreciated.


I’m not an expert on the subject, but here’s what I think.

Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, many Americans believe it will be easy to do a domestic adoption there.  Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.  Even heterosexual married Americans have difficulty.  For one thing, there are very few available children; Puerto Rico has a tradition of keeping children within the extended family if adoption becomes necessary, and foster families tend to adopt those children who do not have relatives willing and able to adopt. When non-relatives and non-fosters are approved to adopt, they are usually people who live on the island, so that the children grow up with involvement in their birth culture.  For another, virtually all the available children come through the foster care system, which is guided by strict laws prohibiting the use of photolistings; you cannot find out anything about available children until you are well along in the adoption process.  Moreover, Puerto Rico requires a fairly long residency period on the island people before adoption is possible.

Given that even people from the U.S. cannot adopt very easily, regardless of their orientation, my assumption is that people from Canada and other countries, regardless of orientation, who want to adopt from Puerto Rico, will have an even tougher time.  For one thing, it will be an international adoption, and both Canada and the U.S. are Hague-compliant countries; as a result, prospective parents will need to follow the Hague process, which is somewhat more difficult.  And it is likely that people living further away from Puerto Rico will have more difficulty complying with residency requirements.

With regard to same-sex couples, even though the U.S. has gotten more open, states still vary in their degree of acceptance of adoption by gay and lesbian couples.  And my sense is that Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. territory, is likely to be one of the less accepting jurisdictions from which to adopt. 

For one thing, between 70 and 90% of the Puerto Rican population consider themselves Catholic, and Catholic teachings describe homosexuality as a sin.  Yes, in the U.S., there are many gay Catholics who have found acceptance in particular parishes, and there are organizations like Dignity that support gay Catholics, but the Church appears to be more influential in Puerto Rico, even though many Puerto Rican Catholics also incorporate certain traditions from African and island religions, such as Santeria, in their worship.

Many of those Puerto Ricans who are not Catholic are either Pentecostal or Evangelical Christians.  In general, the Evangelical community is not very accepting of same sex relationships, either.  Like the U.S. as a whole, Puerto Rico is officially non-sectarian, but my guess is that you won’t find a lot of birth families comfortable with a lesbian couple adopting their child, or people in territorial offices who have a lot of experience with gay couples.  You may find that you have to jump through a lot more hoops than you would if you were a heterosexual married couple.  And you may be steered toward the hardest to place children, such as children over age 10, children with significant special needs, and so on.

All in all, I congratulate you on your decision to adopt, and wish you every success.  However, you may find that you will have better luck adopting from somewhere else.  As an example, Colombia and South Africa both have laws permitting adoption by same sex couples now, as far as I know.


Posted by sak9645 on Sep 23, 2016 at 8:05am

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