Same Sex Adoption:
Mark R. Iverson has provided adoption services to same sex couples in Washington and Idaho for 25 years. Staff at Adoption and Guardianship Services are sensitive to issues confronted by same sex couples and are available to offer support and resources to assist in facilitating a same sex adoption.
What Is A Same Sex Adoption?
There is no requirement to be married to adopt a child. When a same sex partner wishes to adopt the biological or adopted child of the his or her partner, a same sex adoption is available. The adopting partner becomes a parent to the child with the same legal rights and responsibilities as the partner of the biological (or legal) child.
If the same sex couple is married, the adoption is treated like any other step parent adoption. In Washington the date the parties registered as domestic partners is considered the date of marriage.
When Is Termination Of Parental Rights Necessary?
If the child was conceived through the office of a physician and the biological parent is an unknown donor, it is not necessary to terminate parental rights. A birth certificate is issued by Vital Statistics in Washington after the filing of a physician’s certificate. Adoption is still recommended to protect the rights of the non biological parent should the couple move to a state that is not supportive of LGBT rights.
The Idaho statute states that any qualified person may adopt. In the past, some judges have denied the right of a same sex parent to adopt on religious or moral grounds while other judges have allowed a same sex parent to proceed with an adoption. Same sex couples should now be allowed to marry and adopt following recent case law at the national and state level.
Biological Parent Outside Relationship
If the child has another biological parent or legal parent outside the relationship, that parent must consent to the adoption. If that biological parent refuses to sign a consent, it may be necessary to personally serve that biological parent with a petition to terminate parental rights. If that biological parent outside the relationship is unknown notice of the termination may be published in a newspaper.
In Washington a married same sex couple is recognized in the same manner as a married heterosexual couple. If the adopting parent is married to the biological parent a full home study (pre-placement report) is not necessary. A post placement report will suffice. There are home study providers in Washington and Idaho that are supportive of same sex couples and their right to build families through adoption.
In Idaho, a full home study (pre-placement report) is still required.
A new birth certificate is issued showing both partners as parents of the child. Washington Vital Statistics will recognize each parent’s gender and will modify the birth certificate accordingly (mother/mother or father/father).
The State of Idaho presently refuses to modify gender on the birth certificate requiring the designation mother/father on all birth certificates requiring one parent to be incorrectly designated. There are ongoing constitutional challenges to require gender recognition.
The child’s name may also be changed in Washington and Idaho.
For more information on second parent adoption please contact us.