In recent years the US has started to rapidly change its views and stances surrounding LGBT issues and laws. Since same sex marriage has been legalized across the nation, and many outdated laws and restrictions have been lifted, LGBT adoptions have started to rise, and are set to continue to do so. However, because in many states the option of LGBT adoption is still a relatively new concept, many same sex couples are in the dark when it comes to the variety of options available to them.
Couples may be surprised to learn that many states actually offer equal rights to LGBT couples looking to adopt, though sadly some states are a bit behind the times. This means that checking the adoption laws of your state of residence is important to prevent disappointment.
No matter whether you’re LGBT or not, adoption is a complicated and sometimes long process. Therefore, you should begin your adoption journey by familiarising yourself with the necessary procedures, paperwork, and requirements that will need to be met along the way. In regards to LGBT couples, you'll also need to spend some time researching the form of adoption best suited to your unique situation.
Single Parent Adoption
If you’re an LGBT singleton looking to adopt a child, then this is the adoption type for you. While this method is the least common, there are still gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender indivduals who opt to become single parents through adoption. However, it is important to research whether this method of adoption is eligible in your state.
Second Parent Adoption
Second parent adoptions occur where a member of a couple is already the legal parent of a child. The other partner may wish to also become the legal parent, especially if they have been filling the role of parent for some time. In agreement with the original legal parent, they can receive equal parental rights to the child in question through a formal adoption.
Step-parent adoption is akin to second parent adoption, but does differ slightly as the couple has to be married in order to be eligible for step-parent adoption. After getting married, the original legal parent can give full legal rights to their spouse through a formal adoption process.
Joint adoption allows LGBT couples equal participation in the adoption process of a child and means that both parents share equal legal rights. In some states, joint LGBT adoption is only allowed if the couple is married. This used to be an obstacle in states where same-sex marriage was illegal, but now, with same-sex marriage legal nationwide, this is no longer a concern. Joint adoption is probably the most common form of LGBT adoption practiced in the USA.
Considering your Options
If you’re an LGBT individual or couple looking to adopt, then be sure to spend some time considering which option makes the most sense to you and your current situation. Don’t forget to pay attention to the laws of the state you live in to make sure there are no discriminatory laws which may present a stumbling block in your adoption journey.