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Gay and Lesbian Adoptions
Hi folks - We are a 2 mom family with 2 kids (conceived via
sperm bank donor) and my wife (the non-bio mom) needs to
adopt our kids ASAP to ensure legal recognition of her
''parent'' status because we are moving to another state that
doesn't recognize our marriage (and of course because the
feds don't recognize her as their parent without the
adoption, even though we are both on the birth certificates
Anyway, we need advice from those of you who have done this
before about what is the cheapest and fastest way to get the
second-parent adoption done. It seems like we can just mail
in the forms to the county courthouse and then wait for the
visit and court date - is it really that simple? How much
did your second parent adoption cost you, and how long did
it take? Did you use a lawyer or go through an agency when
you did yours? Would that make it faster then just DIY? Is
it even possible that a judge would *not* approve a second
parent adoption for kids who have only ever been raised by
these 2 parents (barring something like neglect/abuse, of
course)? It is so crazy that we need to spend so much time
and $$ for a parent to adopt her own children!
Anyway, any help, suggestions, lessons learned, are much-
need to get legal
we have done this twice- it can take some time for the social worker visit
i cannot recall exactly the costs- (800-1300$) but they are tax-deductible on
your next return at least.
We used a wonderful lawyer who handled it all for us-
Ora Prochovnick email@example.com
Call Emily Doskow ASAP - The process takes between 6 to 9 months because
they (the county) must do a home study.
Her information is listed below. It is worth every cent and you can deduct
costs of adoption (yes, even second parent adoption) from your taxes via a
credit rather than deduction. At nearly $4,000 - we got every cent back on
federal taxes. Two kids will not be twice the cost - only one home study and
Emily Doskow- Attorney at Law
1010 Grayson Street, Suite 2
Berkeley, California 94710
T: 510-540-8311 F: 510-531-2074
Two Moms and one Absolutely Terrific Daughter
We did this for both our kids. For one I had to, for the
other, I had to if I wanted to leave California. I'm not
sure if you still need a home visit, but that's the most
expensive part of the whole deal. Having a lawyer helps. I
didn't want to risk losing my kids in say, Virginia, because
I forgot to dot an I or cross a T. But that's me, I'm still
kind of afraid of the rest of the country.
We used a lawyer (Deborah Wald) for two second parent
adoptions. She asks you to decide how much you can pay
within a range of 2K to 5K. There's some tax credit for
adoption - think you can get all the $ back you spend on
lawyers fees, court fees, fingerprinting, etc.
It's a lot of paperwork and legwork.. it took about 6mos
from birth to adoption for both our kids.
I don't think there's any chance of it NOT being approved -
the court session is actually kind of sweet.
It's a drag, but it feels good when it's all done!
We JUST went through this process. We were totally nervous about it but
the whole process to be very quick and painless.
The county social worker is quick and the courts are slow right now so things
getting scheduled quickly. From our time of filing to the judge granting the
adoption (including sending in our forms, getting recommendations, and the
social worker home visit) was slightly more than two months.
We went through Alameda County on our own. No lawyer. The social worker,
Jennifer Ling, was helpful and guided us every step of the way. It's $500
county to write their report but you get it all back when you file taxes.
Good luck. It's very exciting when it's over.
I wanted to chime in when this was originally posted (May
4), but I missed the deadline. Having read the responses, I
felt compelled to write a few lines even though a bit late.
I was surprised that almost every response advised seeking
the help of an attorney in order to complete the second
parent adoption. I want to emphasize that this is not
necessary. Second parent adoption is very straightforward in
California. You simply have to file the proper forms (which
are available at the courthouse - I even believe you can
download them online at
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/forms.cgi), and agree to
a visit by a social worker (this is the worst part - mostly
irritating, time consuming, etc).. You will automatically be
granted the status of legal parent unless there is some
piece of information that is uncovered in the process which
would clearly indicate that you are unfit to parent (there
would have to be compelling evidence - e.g., prior criminal
history (of a specific and very extreme nature), or perhaps
serious drug abuse, etc.).
The other thing to keep in mind is that you will need a
couple of references (for the social worker). They can be
friends or colleagues at work. They will receive a
questionnaire asking about your ''character''. This is no big
deal, but it can feel burdensome - and also a bit unfair to
be subject to this level of scrutiny, but so it goes..
I have done this recently and will soon be doing it a second
time. Believe me, you do not need a lawyer to fill out the
simple forms and schedule appointments for you. you might
throw away a lot of money. Feel free to ask the moderator
for my email if you would like to contact me for any more
detailed advice. Good luck.
mom in a two-mom family
To the person and her partner who are interested in adoption: If
you are, indeed, gay, you might try checking out the Gay and
Lesbian Families group (not positive about the name) at the
downtown Berkelely YMCA. If I were part of a gay couple
interested in adopting, I would want to talk to others who had
done so successfully, and that seems a likely place to meet folks
who have been down the road, so to speak. As a member of a
heterosexual couple, I could recommend lawyers, agencies, etc.,
and will happily do so, but I don't know much about the
particular challenges of working the system as a gay couple.
Editor Note: Probably Our Family
this page was last updated: Sep 7, 2011
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