Frequently Asked Questions About Same-Sex Adoption

Posted on: 1 March 2022

When it comes to adoption, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions that float around. Most people assume that same-sex couples can't adopt, but this isn't true. In fact, more and more same-sex couples are adopting every year.

If you're a same-sex couple looking to adopt, here are a few commonly asked questions to help you understand your options.

What's the Difference Between Same-Sex Adoption and Heterosexual Adoption?

There are a few ways that same-sex adoptions can differ from heterosexual adoptions. For instance, same-sex couples can't jointly adopt a child in some states. Only one partner can be the legal parent of the child.

This can create some complications when it comes to things like custody and visitation rights. If something happens to one partner, the other may not have any legal authority over the child they've raised together.

In other states, same-sex couples have limitations on adopting children who are already part of the foster care system. Such restrictions can be frustrating for couples who are looking to start a family. Thankfully, things are changing, and more states now allow same-sex couples to adopt children from the foster care system.

What If One Partner Can't Be the Legal Parent?

If one partner can't be the legal parent of the child, there are steps you can take. One option is for the non-legal parent to become a stepparent. This can be done by creating a guardianship agreement.

Another option is for the couple to find a surrogate mother. The biological mother will give birth to the child and then immediately sign over her parental rights to the same-sex couple.

What's the Wait Time for Same-Sex Adoption?

The process of finalizing a same-sex adoption can vary from state to state. But it usually takes between four months to a year.

During this time, you'll need to complete an extensive home study. This is where social workers come to your house and check that you're fit to be parents. They'll also look into your backgrounds and make sure there are no red flags.

You'll also have to go through an approval process with the court. This process can involve interviews with the child's birth parents or other family members.

What Legal Steps Can I Take in an Adoption Case?

If you're a same-sex couple looking to adopt, you should have a family lawyer on your side. They can help you navigate the complicated legal process of adoption. Your family law attorney will know the laws in your state and can advise you on what steps to take next. 

In some cases, your family lawyer can even represent you in court. This can be especially helpful if there are any disputes about the adoption process. Also, if one partner is not able to adopt the child legally, your lawyer can create a legal arrangement that works for everyone involved.