Although it won't be easy, it's certainly possible for you and your partner to raise a family. In 1999, estimates of the total number of children nationwide living with at least one gay parent ranged from 6 million to 14 million.
Contact a local organization for lesbian or gay parents. Its members will be best able to provide relevant information for your particular region, including what is possible and what has been done in the past.
Consider your options: adoption through a public or private agency, adoption through an intermediary mother and adoption through an international agency. See "How to Legally Adopt a Foreign Child" for this final option.
Research public and private adoption agencies thoroughly before making your selection. The general procedure involves an interview of the prospective parents by the agency, who then recommends specific couples to the court. Disclosing your sexual preference is unnecessary and might decrease your chances of being selected.
Alternatively, enlist the aid of an individual intermediary to help you locate a child in states where this is legal. Know that in many states it is illegal to advertise for an adoption.
Obtain the consent of the child's biological mother and father once you or your intermediary locate a child. Biological parents must sign a consent-to-adopt form, legally forfeiting parental rights. An adoption proceeding is then filed in court. Consider registering simply as two parents to circumvent the traditional mother/father parental roles.
Tips & Warnings
- Expect the adoption procedure to take at least two years from the time you submit your original application to the time you actually bring a child home.
- Adopting through an agency has advantages: an agency adoption, by law, provides maximum assurance that a child's biological parents will not seek the child at a later time. Additionally, because adoptions through agencies are established procedures, you can expect a smooth judicial process.
- Unfortunately, many agencies will rule out gay and lesbian couples for adoption, and no laws currently exist to prevent this. If you choose an agency selectively, there will probably be no need to volunteer information about your sexual orientation.
- This information is not intended as a substitute for professional legal counsel. Refer to legal references and consult an attorney for up-to-date, comprehensive guidance.