Second Parent Adoption

Second Parent 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 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. 

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 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. Her extensive experience in family building makes her the top choice for the LGBT community in securing parental rights through adoption or parentage actions.    

In addition to second parent adoption, Maryland, Virginia 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 spouse 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.  

If you are a gay or lesbian parent, contact Jennifer about the process for second 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 as a birth certificate is a "presumption of parentage" but the adoption is a judicial determination.  

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 LGBT clients considering becoming parents. 

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. 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 region.

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.

 

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 whether private or agency.  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. In Virginia, a birth mother consents in Court in front of Judge three days or more after the baby is born and has seven days to revoke.  In a Virginia agency case, the birth mother signs a relinquishment to the agency and does not appear in court. 

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.

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax

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