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Second Parent Adoption and Adoption by LGBT Parents

GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Adoption

The District of Columbia allows adoptions to take place in the District if a child is (was) born in the District on or after July 1, 2009.  Non-resident couples may now obtain an adoption in the District or a Judgment of Parentage, based solely on the birth of the child in the District of Columbia. This means that lesbian couples who gave birth to a child in the District of Columbia after July 1, 2009 will be able to obtain a second-parent adoption in D.C..  Once granted, the Commonwealth of Virginia, North Carolina and other States as well as the federal government should recognize the adoption for all purposes. Unfortunately, for now this new law does not apply to children born through surrogacy since it is illegal in the District of Columbia.

The first second parent adoption in Maryland was granted in late 1996 and the first second parent adoption in the District of Columbia was granted in 1995. Today second parent adoption in either jurisdiction is routinely granted as long as the parents have met the adoption criteria required by the local court. Jennifer has handled hundreds of second parent adoptions during her 17 year career.  A second parent adoption occurs when one of the partners is the biological or adoptive parent of the child and their spouse or partner wishes to adopt the child.  Often this occurs when one lesbian partner bears the child with the use of donor sperm or where the male couple use a gestational carrier to carry their child and one is the biological father.  Jennifer has worked with couples using known sperm donors, gestational carriers, egg donors and in situations where one lesbian partner is the biological mother and the other is the birth mother.    

Having completed her 1997 Judicial clerkship where she reviewed, among other legal matters, adoption cases, Jennifer embarked on a career that included representing and advocating for the parental rights of gay and lesbian parents.  Under the mentorship of an attorney who championed the first second parent adoptions through the initial legal challenges, Jennifer handled dozens second parent adoptions as well as private adoptions by gay and lesbian adoptions by the end of her first year of private practice.  She continues to push forward for parental recognition of gay and lesbian parents.  She fought hard for recognition of de facto parents for those who did not have legal parentage in Maryland and continues to advocate for legal parental recognition laws for gay and lesbian parents.    

In addition to second parent adoption, Maryland and the District of Columbia will name a married lesbian couple as the parents of a child born to them when the birth mother identifies her partner at the hospital as her spouse and the child's other mother.  In the District, marriage is not required to take advantage of this law so long as the couple signs parentage paperwork at the hospital.  

In Virginia, second parent adoptions are not currently permitted but step-parent adoptions are permitted and have been granted since Virginia began recognizing marriages between same-sex partners.  

If you are a gay or lesbian parent, contact Jennifer about the process for adoption in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia as this is still recommended to all parents in same sex relationships to secure their parental rights beyond the boundaries of Maryland and the District of Columbia. A birth certificate is a "presumption of parentage" but the adoption is a judicial determination.  

Maryland and the District of Columbia will name a lesbian couple as the parents of a child born to them when the birth mother identifies her partner at the hospital as her wife and the child's other mother.  In D.C., you also do not have to be married so long as the both partners consent to parent.   If you are a gay or lesbian parent, contact Jennifer about the process for second parent or step parent adoption in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia as this is still recommended to all parents in same sex relationships to secure their parental rights beyond the boundaries of recognition states. 

Jennifer is one of the leading adoption attorneys in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia for clients seeking private adoptions.  Jennifer delivers high quality legal services for a reasonable cost.  Jennifer has a streamlined process and provides direct client contact and regular communication to ensure proper and complete adoption filings.  When the adoption is uncontested (all legal/genetic parents consenting or anonymous donors) the process is paperwork and rule driven.  Jennifer has handled adoptions her entire career.   

Jennifer has been seen on ABC News discussing the marriage recognition in Maryland and marriage in the District of Columbia specifically regarding the impact on GLBT clients considering becoming parents. 

Jennifer has extensive experience in finalizing adoptions for the LGBT community in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. If a birth family is placing their child with a LGBT family, she will work with the LGBT family to create an adoption plan with the birth family so that the adoptive parents may bring the child home directly from the hospital. She handles every aspect of the adoption from the adoption plan, ICPC processing and finalization.

Client feedback demonstrates that Jennifer is one of the top adoption attorneys for the LGBT community. To read the client comments, look Jennifer up on www.avvo.com. Jennifer offers no cost in person initial consultations for LGBT families interested in adoption. Uncontested second parent adoptions are handled on a capped fee basis and Jennifer is the most competitively priced attorney with extensive experience handling second parent adoptions in the area.

In the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland, gay and lesbian individuals— both single individuals and couples— are eligible to adopt through an agency, foster care or through a private placement adoption.

 

Quick Contact

If you are interested in a consultation, please complete the Appointment Request Form

Can Same Sex Clients Adopt?

 Yes.  In Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia gay and lesbian parents can adopt as single parents and as married parents.  Some other states will not grant same sex adoptions so talk to your attorney before you get started to ensure your adoption plan can be completed.  Maryland and D.C. allow both second parent and step parent adoptions for same-sex partners and Virginia will allow for a step-parent adoption (thus you must be married in Virginia to adopt your partner/spouse's child) 

Does a surrogate have to consent to an adoption?

If you use a Traditional Surrogate, she will have to consent to any adoption by a non-biological parent of the child.  This may be a step-parent or second parent adoption.  If you use a gestational surrogate which is recommended since it provides greater legal protections for all the parties, you can often obtain a birth order declaring your parentage prior to the baby's birth avoiding the need for an adoption.

Revocation Period

In Maryland a birth parent has 30 calendar days to revoke their consent to an adoption.  In the District of Columbia consent is irrevocable upon execution for a private adoption and a birth parent has 14 days to revoke their consent to adoption if the baby is placed through an agency. 

Does a surrogate have to consent to an adoption?

If you use a Traditional Surrogate, she will have to consent to any adoption by a non-biological parent of the child.  This may be a step-parent or second parent adoption.  If you use a gestational surrogate which is recommended since it provides greater legal protections for all the parties, you can often obtain a birth order declaring your parentage prior to the baby's birth avoiding the need for an adoption.