Parents who are members of the LGBTQ community have the right to adopt children in California. Same-sex couples have come a long way in terms of family rights and discrimination from states and agencies. As of 2021, same-sex couples are granted the same liberties that have always been readily made available to heterosexual couples. A report by the census bureau states that LGBTQ couples are four times more likely to adopt than heterosexual couples. Here is everything you need to know about the adoption process for LGBTQ couples and the road to equal adoption rights for same-sex couples.
The LGBTQ Adoption Timeline
There was a time in which same-sex couples were not granted the same rights as heterosexual couples. Through a history of fighting for those protections, same-sex couples of today’s time are given a far different world than a century prior. The United States has come a long way in terms of granting same-sex couples their adoptive rights. For general insight, here is a timeline of the history of same-sex and LGBTQ adoptions in California,
⌲ Bill Jones was the first single gay man to adopt a child in California
⌲ Same-sex sexual activity was made legal in 1979
⌲ A gay couple in 1979 was the first to actively adopt a child in California
⌲ In 1982, the first sperm bank of California was opened to aid same-sex couples in starting families
⌲ Domestic partnerships between same-sex couples in 1999
⌲ Same-sex adoption was made legal in California in 2003
Today, it is illegal in California for adoption agencies to discriminate by sexual orientation. Same-sex couples are fully entitled to adoptive rights, and it is essential for those rights to be protected. To ensure that agencies provide adequate services that are not based on discrimination, an attorney is best suited to protect the rights of same-sex couples looking to adopt.
Am I ready To Adopt?
Regardless of the adoptive parents’ sexual orientation, those looking to adopt should understand the emotional and physical toll that raising a child requires. Before petitioning to adopt, both parents should verify that adoption is appropriate for the relationship and if the involved parties are ready to assume the duties of legal parentage. Are both parties prepared to start or extend their family? Some steps to help determine if the couple is ready for adoption may include:
- Establishing emotional readiness between both parties
- Financial availability to raise the child
- Housing and meals
- Readiness for all involved individuals of the obligations of legal parentage
- Ability to raise a child throughout adulthood
Once it is established that both parties are ready to adopt, then the adopting couple would then decide the most appropriate form of adoption. No existing laws or regulations halt LGBTQ couples to a specific form of adoption, thus opening a wide range of options.
What is Confirmatory Adoption?
A confirmatory adoption is a way for LGBTQ or same-sex couples to legally establish parentage to a child born to their partner. Through this process, the adoptive parent is to submit a petition for adoption that entails:
- Background checks
- Affidavits from fertility doctors or sperm banks
- Home studies that vary by state and county
Confirmatory adoptions are helpful for same-sex couples who have utilized assisted reproduction as it establishes and protects the parental rights of the nonbiological parent of the child. This step is necessary for same-sex couples because when an individual’s name is on a child’s birth certification, it technically is not a legal establishment of parentage. Due to the history of same-sex couples facing discrimination, it is best to establish and protect those parental rights in case a situation persues where the rights are questioned.
Various adoption requirements are required for couples looking to adopt. The California Family Codes surrounding adoptions vary depending on the type of adoption to take place. The following types of adoptions that have different forms of requirements are:
- Private adoptions
- Agency Adoptions
- Adoptions of Native Americans
- International Adoptions
All in all, there are general requirements imposed on the placement of a child in any home legally. Expectations in raising a child that is universally set include the well-being of the child, financial responsibilities, education, and the physical and mental health of the child. Some more regulations to expect when going through the adoptive process are:
- Background checks
- Home studies, should the LGBTQ couple choose to adopt through an agency
- Safety regulation within the home, should the social worker conclude that the environment is not children-friendly
- Adoption fees
It is illegal for adoption agencies to discriminate against adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation. Though LGBTQ couples have come a long way in terms of family rights and freedoms, there are still cases of discrimination towards same-sex couples. If you or a loved one is experiencing discrimination from an agency or adoption service, it is best to hire an attorney to protect familial rights granted through the state of California.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can an adoption agency deny services based on sexual orientation?
A: No. it is against the law for same-sex and LGBTQ couples to be denied any services regarding adopting a child into their family.
Q: Is there a limit to how many children one family can adopt?
A: No. If the family can financially support a large family, they are allowed to take on what they can handle. Some families are known to adopt as many as ten children if they can support it.
Q: Do I have to be married to adopt?
A: Thanks to recent laws, same-sex and LGBTQ couples do not have to be married to adopt a child. Adoption is widely prevalent among single parents looking to start their own families.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one has more questions concerning your rights and adoption, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further inquiries. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.