Friday, June 26, 2015 will go down in history as the day the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal in all 50 of the United States. This ruling, combined with changing adoption legislation, has many people curious about the implications for LGBT adoption. As the go-to gay adoption attorney in Asheville, I encounter birth parents and adoptive parents on a daily basis who have questions about the ins and outs of same-sex adoption.
To help clear things up, I’ve listed some frequently asked gay adoption questions and answers below.
Can gay couples adopt a child in North Carolina?
The legalization of gay marriage in North Carolina on October 10, 2014 helped make the murky rulings around gay adoption a bit more clear. LGBT couples can now legally solidify their relationship with their children, whether biological or adopted.
There are a number of adoption scenarios a couple may encounter that are now legal and possible in NC:
- A married same-sex couple may now jointly adopt a child through an agency or private adoption
- A same-sex spouse may adopt the biological child of their partner
- A same-sex spouse may also adopt the adopted child of their partner
ARE GAY PARENTS GOOD PARENTS?
Politics aside, both birth parents as well as gay adoptive parents often have concerns about bringing a child into a non-traditional family. Luckily, a number of studies have shown that children of same-sex couples are, in fact, often happier and healthier than their peers, and not having opposite gendered parents does not directly impact their wellbeing.
It’s important to remember that most, if not all, adoptive parents are in a unique position: they are putting all of their passion and energy into becoming parents, and they have a large desire to bring a child into their home. Sexual orientation does not inherently change this situation, nor does it negatively affect parenting ability.
WHAT ARE SOME GAY ADOPTION STATISTICS?
In 2012, there were over 110,000 children living with same-sex parents. In the United States, less than 1% live with gay parents, though this number is expected to increase with changing legislation. Here are some interesting stats:
- 21.2% of same-sex couples have only step or adopted children (compared to only 4.5% of married heterosexual couples)
- 6% of both same-sex and heterosexual families have a combination of biological, step, and adopted children
- Over 72% of gay couples parent only biological children
Adoption numbers are sure to grow now that gay marriage has become legal in our country.
HOW DO YOU START THE GAY ADOPTION PROCESS?
The first step in any adoption is seeking out the help of an experienced adoption attorney. Because the laws change often and can be confusing or convoluted, speaking with someone who understands the legal landscape can reduce some of the headache and ensure you are dotting all of your i’s and crossing your t’s.
If you’re in the Asheville area, give me a call today—I’d be happy to consult with you about your situation and answer any questions you may have. Your case will always be a priority, and my law firm works hard to ensure you are able to enjoy your natural rights as a parent.