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same sex adoption

The legal complications of gay parenting

We’re in 2017, and it’s been two years since Obergefell v. Hodges and same-sex marriage is the law of the Land and Justice Kennedy addressed the same-sex adoption issue within:

“Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”

However, we still have a long way to go in terms of equality, especially when it comes to gay adoption. There’s a lot of misconceptions surrounding same-sex parenting, and even the law doesn’t quite benefit them yet, considering the number of children looking for foster care and waiting to be adopted. It is estimated that there are 500,000 children in foster care nationally, and 100,000 need to be adopted. Given these stats, one might think that allowing more qualified people to adopt and place children in homes would be the logical thing to do.

Can gay couples adopt?

As of 2016, same-sex adoption became legal in all 50 states, However, as this only applies to centers that are federally funded, private institutions are still able to refuse same-sex couples from adopting. Nontraditional family structures are still a matter of discussion. Apparently not all 50 states have received the memo that marriage, including all benefits created from it, are a fundamental right to be equally recognized and applied to both opposite- and same-sex couples.
A consensus has developed among the medical, psychological, and social welfare communities that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents. According to ACLU “the children of lesbian and gay parents grow up as successfully as the children of heterosexual parents. In fact, not a single study has found the children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged because of their parents’ sexual orientation.”
There is some evidence that children of gays and lesbians are more tolerant of diversity, but this is certainly not a disadvantage. Of course, some kids of lesbians and gay men will grow up to be gay, as will some children of heterosexual parents. But the fact that more kids can find a good home, it’s invaluable for us as a society.

LGBT adoption stats

  • Researchers estimate the total number of children nationwide living with at least one gay parent ranges from 6 to 14 million.
  • An estimated two million LGBT people are interested in adopting.
  • Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the United States.
  • More than 16,000 same-sex couples are raising an estimated 22,000 adopted children in the United States.
  • More than 16,000 adopted children are living with lesbian and gay parents in California, the highest number in the United States.
  • Same-sex couples are six times more likely than their different-sex counterparts to be raising foster children.

What is second parent adoption?

It involves establishing a parentage bond between the child and the partner or spouse of the child’s parent. Legally, a child can only have two parents but there have been cases where three different people have parental rights, especially with surrogacy or sperm donors.
A second-parent adoption allows a second parent to adopt a child without the “first parent” losing any parental rights. In this way, the child comes to have two legal parents. It also typically grants adoptive parents the same rights as biological parents in custody and visitation matters.

Do you need help with adoption? We are here to help: Ask a Lawyer. Same-sex couples looking to adopt should consider seeking the advice of a trained legal professional when attempting the adoption process, Rocket Lawyer can help you navigate this process.

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