Excerpted from abstract:
Little research has examined the experiences of lesbian/gay (LG) parent families or adoptive parent families in early childhood education settings. This study uses interview data to examine the perceptions and experiences of 45 lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples (90 individuals) with 10 adopted children with respect to their (1) openness with schools and teachers regarding their child’s adoptive status, racial background, and LG–parent family status and (2) perceptions of school inclusivity and responsiveness with respect to adoption, race, and family structure. The majority of parents explicitly disclosed their adoptive and LG–parent family status with teachers, but few discussed children’s racial background with teachers. Many parents viewed their children’s schools and teachers as explicitly inclusive of all types of families, providing specific examples of teacher practices that they appreciated. Some parents viewed schools as tolerant but not explicitly inclusive; reactions to this approach varied, with some parents appreciating not being “singled out,” and others feeling overlooked. Finally, some parents viewed schools as marginalizing toward their family’s adoptive, LG–parent family, and multiracial status. Lesbian mothers tended to report less positive impressions of schools than gay fathers. Findings have implications for schools and teachers seeking to create an inclusive environment for diverse families.