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May 22, 2007



You're right about lesbians, but's it's even more complex than state-to-state, because in some counties, certain judges will do a second-parent adoption for a same-sex parent and others or other counties won't.

Most of the time, the law is written without specifying what gender a second parent can be (these laws are there for straight step parents to adopt legally), so it's up to the judge's discretion. There are places where you are simply going to be hard-pressed to find a court to do it and places where it has been specified that the second parent must be opposite sex of the first.

And yep. If the "second" mom isn't legal she can A) leave the kid(s) high and dry or B) be left high and dry by a disgruntled ex who birthed the kid(s).

B is most often the case and really, really sucks.

In our case we were uber lucky. Because even when lesbians adopt, usually one has to do it as a single parent, then the other will adopt as a second parent (given all the caveats above). We were able to adopt together as a couple because we were able to adopt in Chicago and there is strong precedent for same-sex co-adoptions there. Still, our lawyer had to file our stuff just right in order to get the right judge for our case. Because there is no law in the county guaranteeing our right to adopt this way, we had to rely on the judge's good graces.

I am pretty certain that in Mass., Vermont, NJ and CA there are explicit laws guarnateeing same-sex couples' right to adopt as couples. And maybe now in Washington or Connecticut since they've passed civil unions. But otherwise, it's very spotty. many same-sex parents only have one legal parent in the family, whether the child was born or adopted into the family.


P.S. And yes, second moms have to go through the whole adoption process, including fingerprinting and background checks and home studies etc. Even if they picked the sperm donor and wielded the syringe!

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