Same-Sex Couples and Adoption: The Process

Date Posted:April 6, 2016 | Categories:

Same-Sex Couples and Adoption

Same-sex couples who want to adopt in Ohio must meet all the same legal requirements as heterosexual couples. The adoption lawyers with Edward F. Whipps & Associates detail Ohio adoption procedures here. The most important criteria to keep in mind, and the one that will make all the difference in whether a probate judge places an adoptee with a couple, is whether the new home and family situation is in the best interest of the child.

Showing that you and your partner will provide a loving, safe, and nurturing environment in which your adopted child can grow and develop healthfully requires completing a series of home visits and personal interviews that can extend over several months. Assessments performed by a court-appointed assessor will be conducted separately from any home visits and interviews conducted by an adoption agency, as well any discussions and interactions you have had with a child’s birth mother and/or father.

A national same-sex adoption educational and advocacy group named Lifelong Adoptions has identified the following questions as the ones a court-appointed adoption assessor most often seeks to answer:

  • Who lives in the same house as the couple filing to adopt, and how are those people related?
  • Are the people looking to adopt legally married?
  • Is one of the people in the couple the mother or father of the child?
  • Why does each member of the couple want to adopt?
  • What does each prospective parent expect for the child?
  • How does each member of the household predict an adopted child will fit in as a family member?
  • What do the adopters think constitutes good parenting?
  • Where is the family home located, and how is the home maintained (e.g., good repair, clean, secure)?
  • What physical, emotional, and psychological issues could make placing the child with the couple a challenge?
  • Can the couple provide for the child financially and educationally?
  • Will the child have sufficient medical care and insurance coverage?
  • How will the adoptive parents ensure the child is adequately cared for at all times, such as when both are at work or if the child has special needs related to a physical or mental disability?
  • Does either of the prospective parents have a criminal record that suggests he or she would pose a risk to the child?
  • What have adoption agency representatives, social workers, or the child’s birth parents, foster parents, or caregivers learned about the couple requesting the current adoption?
  • Do members of the child’s birth family other than the mother or father object to the adoption?

Answers to the last two question may represent particular stumbling blocks for same-sex couples who want to adopt. While Ohio lawmakers and a number of U.S. Supreme Court decisions have cleared all legal bans on adoptions that were based on gender, sexual orientation, and marital status, many individuals still believe that only married heterosexuals make suitable parents. Countering adoption challenges grounded in misinformation and lack of understanding can require going to court for a hearing before the judge who must sign off on the final placement.

A family law attorney with Edward F. Whipps & Associates may be able to help you in such a situation. We can also offer advice on completing and filing adoption petitions, as well as on how to connect with agencies and other organizations that assist same-sex couples who want to adopt. To learn about our Ohio adoption services, call (614) 461-6006 or reach out to us online.