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Adopting a child as a same-sex couple

If you and your spouse have decided to adopt a child, you may have many questions about the complex procedure you must go through. The home study is often the most stressful part of the adoption process. For same-sex couples, it may be even more so. While recent changes in laws have granted marriage equality to same-sex couples across the country, many still may feel they are under particularly rigid scrutiny.

By law, however, same-sex couples have the same rights that accompany marriage as opposite-sex couples, and this includes the right to adopt a child. In California, as in most states, the process of adoption includes a thorough background investigation and a careful study of the home environment into which a child may be placed.

What can you expect?

Like all couples, you will undergo a rigorous interview process. This will include questions about your education, finances, employment and other general topics. Your interviewer will also ask more personal questions, such as your family background, your philosophies about child discipline and how you and your spouse get along. Some of these questions will take place alone with the interviewer, and other times you will meet as a couple.

You certainly understand the purpose of such meticulous research into adoptive parents. Adoption agencies do not want to risk placing a child into a situation that would be harmful. An agency is likely to take several months compiling and examining the information they gather from background investigations, reference interviews and, of course, the home study. The agency is likely looking for the following about your home:

  • A clean home, but not necessarily spotless
  • A separate room for the child to sleep
  • Adequate space for the child to play and grow
  • A home free from hazards and dangers
  • A warm and inviting atmosphere

One important factor that may make the home study less stressful is to remember it is as much a time for you to learn about the adoption process as it is for the agency to learn about you. You can use the time to ask questions and get a better understanding of what will happen next and what to expect from the reports the agency assembles.

Although the law provides you and other same-sex couples with equal opportunities to build a family through adoption, your situation may be more complicated than that of an opposite-sex couple. To ensure you have every opportunity for success in your efforts to bring a child into your family, you may benefit from seeking advice from a legal professional with experience in same-sex family law.

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