On behalf of Gardner Law Office posted in Family Law on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

When the United States Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the LGBT community celebrated. Unfortunately, that decision failed to remove other potential prejudices facing the community when it comes to expanding their families through adoption. Fortunately, overcoming any potential roadblocks is possible if you remain optimistic and take the right steps.

Before beginning the adoption process, your initial steps include finding an attorney with the knowledge, experience and compassion needed to help make your experience a positive one. Attempting the process alone often makes the experience more stressful, frustrating and complex than necessary. This holds true for any couple – traditional or same-sex.

What types of adoptions exist?

Most adoptions these days fall into one of the following categories:

1. Public adoptions: The state handles these adoptions. Your success depends on current law and the attitude of the agents. Individual and community attitudes often influence decisions of the courts, which follow the legal tenet of making decisions based on the “best interests of the child” and which vary from judge to judge.

2. Private adoptions: The criterion for prospective parents varies between private agencies. Each agency devises its own set of rules. Your sexual orientation might matter with one agency, but not with another. Many consider parenting qualifications more important and structure the adoption in such a way to eliminate that factor.

3. Independent adoptions: An attorney, physician or some other intermediary facilitates the adoption. The decisions lie with the families involved. Therefore, the attitude of the biological parents carries weight regarding whether a same-sex couple receives their child.

4. Open adoptions: Both families agree to a certain amount of cooperation and interactions either during the process or longer, depending on their preferences. In this case, sharing your sexual orientation and status as a same-sex couple prevents any conflicts now or in the future, since keeping it a secret could destroy the relationship and the chances of adopting the child.

5. International adoptions: Despite the willingness of anyone here in the United States to allow you to adopt a child as a same-sex couple, the prevailing cultural and religious attitudes of the child’s country of origin play a major role in your ability to adopt.

In any case, failing to disclose your sexual orientation when asked often constitutes fraud, which jeopardizes your chances of adopting a child.

Which way is right for us?

Determining which adoption method works best for your situation requires the examination of numerous factors. Your family dynamic and circumstances, the social climate where you live and other issues often dictate your options. Sitting down with an attorney who not only handles adoptions but also handles adoptions for same-sex couples in particular provides you with a larger knowledge base from which to figure out how to expand your family.

Thereafter, an attorney helps eliminate the roadblocks, frustration and stress of the process to ensure that it remains an exciting and joyous time in your relationship and with your new family.

To schedule a Legal Consultation, please call (610) 866-9529 or complete our online form https://www.gardnerlawyers.com/contact-us/