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Same-sex couples and adoption: Finally on level ground

When you decide you want to adopt a child, you don't want your journey to be more difficult than others just because you're in a same-sex relationship. Thanks to the ruling in the Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is now legal, it's hard for agencies to turn away same-sex couples who want to adopt. What about those who had already adopted a child?

In the past, only one woman or man could register as the child's mother or father. In same-sex relationships, that meant one parent couldn't become a custodian of the child. That is what brought one couple to the point of suing.

When one partner was in the hospital fighting Stage 4 cancer, her partner fought to get custody rights to their adopted child. They had been raising the child together, but only one could be an adoptive parent in 2014 when he was adopted. Today, same-sex couples don't have to go through this same trauma.

Now, same-sex couples can both obtain an adoption decree, so they can prove they are the parents of an adopted child. Same-sex couples can adopt in the same way married couples can, too. The difference is only in that there can't be two biological mothers or fathers, so having a decree helps facilities like schools or medical care agencies verify parental responsibility and rights for the child.

Today, if you want to become mother or father through adoption, you and your partner can. Your attorney can help you navigate the legal obligations of adoption, so you can start the family you want.

Source: Citizen-Times, "Building a family: Same-sex couples navigate adoption," Beth Walton, Nov. 12, 2015

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