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Stay on the leading edge of GLBT issues.

Understanding LGBT issues is critical in speaking up for yourself, instead of letting the law speak for you. Here, you will find up-to-date information about the issues that affect the lives of the LGBT community. If you have information or questions about LGBT issues, please contact us. We will be happy to provide your information or answer your questions on this page.

LGBT Adoption Information

Independent Adoption Center LegalOut is proud to partner with the Independent Adoption Center to provide adoption resource materials and information to assist LGBT families with their quest to adopt.

The Independent Adoption Center is a caring, open and supportive agency that understands the unique issues LGBT families face. The IAC has a long and proud tradition of working with gay and lesbian families in their pursuit to adopt. To learn more about Open Adoption or have any questions please visit the IAC site.

Have an adoption question? Ask the Adoption Experts - Answers to All Your Adoption Questions.

Adoption Experts is a project by the Independent Adoption Center with the goal of spreading reliable information about domestic adoption, open adoption, and other adoption topics. Our experts have the answers to all your adoption questions. Ask your question now>>

Adoption Laws

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples and individuals interested in starting a family through adoption should be aware that second-parent and joint adoption for same-sex couples laws vary from state to state. For a state-by-state overview of adoption laws and cases, visit HRC’s web site.

Types of Adoption Options

Open Adoption: includes birth and adoptive parents meeting one another, sharing full identifying information, and having direct access to ongoing contact over the years. In open adoption, birthparents and adopting parents select each other. They have control over all critical decisions in their adoption, including the amount of ongoing contact.

Closed Adoption: on the other hand, requires that there be no exchange of information or contact of any kind between the adopting and biological parents. All decisions about who adopts which baby are made (in part or in full) by others. Variations of closed adoption remain in use despite overwhelming evidence that open adoption is the healthiest form of adoption for birthparents, children, and adoptive families.

State or Public Agency Adoption: Adopt a child who is in foster care from the public child welfare system.

International Adoption: Any adoption occurring where the child and the adoptive parents are from two different countries.

Adoption Terms

Adoptee: A person who joins a family by adoption.

Adoption: A permanent, legally binding arrangement whereby persons other than the birthparents parent the child.

Adoption Agency: An organization that is licensed to prepare families to adopt children and to do all the necessary legal, administrative and social work to ensure that adoptions are efficiently handled and are in the best interests of the children.

Adoptive Parent(s): A person or persons who become the permanent parents with all the social, legal rights and responsibilities incumbent upon any parent.

Adoption Decree: The document issued by the court upon finalization of an adoption, stating that the adoptee is the legal child of the adoptive parents.

Birthmother: The biological mother of a child who made an adoption plan for the child and subsequently relinquished the child for adoption.

Birthparents: The parents who conceived a child, made an adoption plan for the child and subsequently relinquished the child for adoption.

Closed Adoption: An adoption where there is no contact between birthparents and adoptive parents.

Consent to Adoption: (1) A legal document signed by each birthparent giving legal intent to his/her desire for the adoption of his/her child. (2) A second consent to adoption is issued by the adoption agency allowing the adoptive family to finalize the adoption after all agency and legal requirements have been met. An adoption cannot be finalized without this consent.

Consent to Adoption: (1) A legal document signed by each birthparent giving legal intent to his/her desire for the adoption of his/her child. (2) A second consent to adoption is issued by the adoption agency allowing the adoptive family to finalize the adoption after all agency and legal requirements have been met. An adoption cannot be finalized without this consent.

Domestic Adoption: An adoption that involves adoptive parents and a child that are permanent residents of the United States.

Finalization: The court hearing that results in the adoption decree. This is the moment when the adoptee becomes the permanent, legally adopted child of the adoptive parents.

Homestudy: A three-part process required before a child can be placed with a family for foster care or adoption: (1) Written portion includes autobiographies, references, medical reports, financial statements, child abuse and criminal clearances and other written materials; (2) Social work process includes a series of visits in the applicants’ home to discuss a variety of issues from the applicants’ backgrounds to their motivations to adopt and their understanding of adoption and parenting; (3) Educational process includes training in adoption and parenting issues. The end result of this process is a written document completed by a licensed agency giving a summary of the applicants’ family life. This document indicates approval of the applicants for adoption (or foster care). In most states it must be updated annually.

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC): The Interstate Compact is an organization with members in all 50 states that must give its approval to any child moving from one state to another for the purpose of adoption, foster care or residential care. The ICPC 100A form must be approved by both the child’s state of origin (sending state) and the state where the child will live (receiving state) before the child can cross state lines. In an interstate adoption, the agency with custody of the child is responsible for processing the interstate paperwork.

Relinquishment: The giving-up of custodial and legal rights to a child by a birthparent. This is a legally binding, permanent procedure involving the signing of legal documents and court action.

Second Parent Adoption: is a legal procedure that allows same-sex couples (gay and lesbian parents) to adopt their partner’s biological or adopted children without terminating the first parent’s right as a parent. Second parent adoptions give the child two legal guardians. It protects both parents by giving both of them legally recognized parental status.

Termination of Parental Rights: A process involving a court hearing whereby a judge enters a decree permanently ending all legal parental rights of a birthparent to a child. This must occur before a child is considered to be “legally free” for adoption.

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