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More and more LGBT couples are deciding to become parents and are looking to adoption as a way to make that dream a reality for their family. How does adoption work New Jersey? Are there special rules for LGBT couples to follow? What else should you know? Here are some adoption basics for our LGBT New Jersey residents.
You have adoption options – lots of them! You and your partner can adopt through a state agency, through a private adoption agency, which could include an out-of-state or international adoption, or through a second-parent or co-parent adoption, which can occur when one of the couple is interested in adopting a child that is already in the custody of their partner.
Choosing the best path. Each avenue towards adoption has it’s own regulations and challenges, especially international adoption which may prove complicated to LGBT couples, if the country of birth of the child is not tolerant of LGBT lifestyles. Work carefully with a qualified international adoption agency or contact the country’s nearest consulate to understand adoption procedures. Second parent or step-parent adoptions are generally less complicated than state or private agency adoptions because they come with fewer requirements.
Other factors to consider:
- How do you feel about open versus closed adoption?
- Are you interested in working with the child’s birth mother?
- Would you consider adopting a child that has special needs?
- Would you consider adopting an older child in the foster care system?
- Does your partner already have a child with whom you have bonded?
Know the law. Becoming educated on the law in New Jersey that governs adoption is imperative. While all family laws in this state are purposefully gender neutral and serve only the best interests of the child, not all private adoption agencies are willing to place children with LGBT couples. To help point in the right direction, the All Children-All Families Initiative of the Human Rights Campaign maintains a list of adoption agencies that have met or are in the process of meeting ten benchmarks in LGBT cultural competency.
Talk to a family law attorney. Adoption can get complicated, especially if you are dealing with the State. Having at least a consultation with a attorneys can help you and your partner navigate the complex laws and regulations by which you must abide. Having a legal guide by your side can remove a lot of stress from the process — and can help you avoid mistakes!
If you are ready to become an adoptive parent with your partner, New Jersey offers a wide range of options that will be sure to serve your ever growing family. You can do it! And remember, opening your home and your hearts to a child is a loving decision regardless of how it happens.
If you would like more information on LGBT adoption, we’re here to help. For a free consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys, please call us at 888-888-0919 (or use our contact form) to schedule your free and confidential consultation.