There are many ways to start and grow a family, and the 2015 Supreme Court decision affirming marriage equality opened up a lot of avenues for same-sex couples that discriminatory laws had closed to them before. However, if you and your same-sex partner would like to adopt and/or foster a child, you may nevertheless meet with unexpected obstacles.
QNotes emphasizes the importance of keeping well informed of new legal developments, as well as existing laws, that might affect your eligibility to foster or adopt a child. This knowledge can better equip you to meet the obstacles and hopefully overcome them.
It is common for children of same-sex couples to have a biological relationship with only one parent. If you and your partner are married and you want to adopt your partner’s biological child, the Obergefell decision gives you the right to adopt the child of your spouse.
However, the laws of North Carolina prohibit second-parent adoption for unmarried couples of either the same or different sex. This means that if you and your partner are not married, you do not have the right to adopt your partner’s biological child.
Many organizations that place children for adoption or foster care have religious affiliations. The current administration has created an environment that allows states to pass laws allowing discrimination on religious grounds against LGBT+ couples and individuals who want to adopt or foster a child. States with laws on the books discriminating against LGBT+ parents far outnumber those with laws that protect their rights.
Despite allowing any adult or married couple to petition to adopt a child, there is nothing in North Carolina law prohibiting discrimination against prospective parents who are LGBT+. Advocacy organizations evaluate child and family welfare agencies responsible for placing children and publicize those the organizations find to be inclusive.