With attempts to roll back more and more protections for the LGBTQIA+ community, some of which will negatively impact families, it’s never been so important to do everything within your control to guarantee as many of your rights as you can, including those that should naturally come with being a parent.
There are different reasons that individuals or couples may choose to seek out the adoption of a child. Reasons can range from just wanting to grow your family to being unable to start a family of your own. For same-sex couples, adoption can be tricky but it is a necessary step to protecting the life you and your partner planned for and deserve to enjoy.
What is second parent adoption, and why is it necessary?
Second parent adoption is simply an adoption by a same-sex non-biological parent that gives him or her the same legal rights to parent his or her child that his or her partner enjoys as the existing biological or adoptive parent. It officially puts you on equal footing as parents in every aspect of your child’s life.
There are several scenarios that call for second parent adoptions such as when:
- A state doesn’t permit LGBTQIA+ couples to adopt a child during the same court proceeding.
- One partner is the biological parent to the child while the other parent needs to establish a legal parent-child relationship.
- One partner undergoes in vitro fertilization, which provides a biological connection to the child for one parent making it necessary for his or her partner to adopt in order to obtain legal parenthood status.
- A parent brings his or her biological child from a previous marriage or relationship into a new marriage and the other biological parent agrees to the adoption.
All of these situations boil down to the same need to have two equal parents in the household. By going through the process of second parent adoption, your legal status changes from step-parent to legal parent, which will allow you to:
- Make medical decisions for your child
- Have a say in your child’s education
- Guide the religious upbringing of your child
- Mold your child’s moral and ethical character
- Have rights to child custody and visitation, or even child support in the event of divorce
Second parent adoptions are more important now than ever before
Early this month a brief was filed before the United States Supreme Court by the Justice Department in an attempt to block the rights of LGBTQ couples to adopt a child from religious-affiliated adoption agencies. In short, the brief provides that the City of Philadelphia is discriminating against the religious freedom of Catholic Social Services by requiring the agency to permit LGBTQIA+ couples to adopt, which goes against the agency’s beliefs.
Anyone who has embarked on the road to building his or her family through adopting non-biological children knows the avenues to adoption can be treacherous and long. Finding the right child who fits with your family can take time and some agencies have better reputations and success rates than others. A decision in favor of the Department of Justice would unfairly limit the options for LGBTQIA+ families who wish to pursue adoption to begin their families.
Some of these agencies have policies that prefer single parents over LGBTQIA+ couples as parental candidates, which could still allow for adoption with a little strategizing. However, that means if you approach these agencies as a single parent and are successful at adopt a child, your partner’s legal rights as a parent will only be secured through the second parent adoption process.
While adoption can be a fantastic way to grow your family, for LGBTQIA+ couples it can be the only way to overcome certain hurdles that come with having legal rights to your own biological children. It’s an important step that you shouldn’t delay taking to protect the security of your family. Having a knowledgeable legal team with qualified experience to handle the issues essential to you, your spouse and children makes all the difference in meeting your specific family law needs.
To see whether second parent adoption is right for your family, seek caring, legal guidance from the Fulton adoption lawyers of McCabe Russell, P.A. To schedule your consultation, call us at 443-917-3347, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form. We also maintain offices in Rockville, Columbia, and Bethesda.
At McCabe Russell, PA, we have an established reputation as assertive and confident negotiators and litigators, offering legal guidance designed to eliminate any of our clients’ worries and confusion. We are experienced family law attorneys in Howard and Montgomery County, but we serve clients throughout Maryland. Read more about McCabe Russell, PA.