For several years now, same-sex couples have the right to marry. New York and all other states also recognize adoption by gay and lesbian couples. Thus, they need to prepare for options such as agency adoption and undertake many of the procedural steps other couples must undergo.
The 2010 U.S. Census showed that 115,064 same-sex couples had children. According to a 2013 study by the Williams Institute, 13 percent of LGBT families had adopted children while three percent of heterosexual couples had adopted children.
Couples seeking to have children should explore all types of adoptions such as foster care, traditional and international adoptions. However, gay adoption may be illegal in some other countries. Some states may also require that same-sex couples are in a legally-recognized relationship before adopting.
An adoption agency will ask a same-sex couple, like other couples, to create an adoption profile. This must be honest and include details about the couple’s life and home, their reasons for wanting to adopt, plans for raising the child and photographs showing their home and lifestyle.
The adoption home study is also an early and important part of the adoption process. A person from the adoption agency typically visits the couple at their home to conduct interviews and to inspect the home for its suitability for the child. Couples must be transparent about their relationship status and honestly respond to questions.
Second parent adoptions are also available that allow one partner to adopt and the second partner to apply to a court as a co-parent or second parent. The second parent has the same parental rights that other families possess. Couples who do not want to marry or enter a civil union may prefer this option. This is also used when one parent already has a child when entering a relationship and the other partner wants to become their parent.
Legal representation can help parents undergo the adoption process. An attorney is prepared to draft all documents, represent them in court and deal with issues such as open adoption.