Adopting as a same-sex couple may be a daunting experience. Adoption laws vary by state. While some states actively preclude same-sex couples from adopting, there are others that welcome same-sex couples as adoptive parents. Below are a few things to consider.
Do your research. Contact your local lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) support chapter to learn of other’s experiences with same-sex adoption. Get in contact with other couples who have adopted. Search the internet for the adoption statues in your state. As of April 2011, these states actively prohibit same-sex adoption: Utah, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida (however, a Florida couple is currently appealing a decision prohibiting them from adopting a foster child that is currently in their care).
Hire a Lawyer
Hire a lawyer who is well versed in your state’s same-sex adoption laws. The lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, and offer advice based on the situations they have handled in the past.
Choosing Where to Adopt From
If your state allows same-sex adoption, going through the state agency may be the most cost-effective choice. Private and international adoption agencies may be more expensive. Your decision on which agency you chose to adopt through will depend on the type of child you want, and the red tape you are willing to cut through.
What to Expect
The adoption process requires mounds of paperwork. Once an adoption agency is chosen, a home study is often the first step. Be open and honest during the home study – hiding your sexuality may come back to damage your adoption in the future.
Support is important for any couple going through an adoption. Online and community support groups are a wonderful place to learn about other’s experiences. You may encounter unsupportive people in your journey; a support system can help you deal with these situations.
If your state does not allow same-sex couples to adopt, there may be a way to adopt as a single individual. In this case, it is important to make your wishes known regarding the child, in the event the adoptive partner dies, or your relationship ends. Your lawyer can help you draft all the needed legal documents.