If you’re gay and live in the United States and would like to adopt a child, how you go about it will depend on what state you live in. The different states have different rules about how you can adopt a child. If you are gay and live in Florida and would like to adopt a child, at the time of this writing, you won’t be able to. Florida is the only state that does not allow any type of gay adoption.
When it comes to gay adoption, your state will dictate which of the 3 main types of adoption you may apply for. Some states are very liberal in what type of adoption you may pursue; others will limit you as to what type of adoption you may apply for.
The three main types of adoption which will directly affect you are: Single or individual adoption, joint adoption, and second parent adoption. A description of what each type of adoption is follows:
Single or individual adoption: This type of adoption is as the name suggests, a single person or individual applies for an adoption. The types of children you can adopt through this process are those who are wards of the state or children who were put up for adoption by their birth parent(s)
Joint adoption: This type of adoption takes place when a couple who isn’t legally married asks the court to allow them to adopt a child. The types of children you can adopt through this process are those who are wards of the state or children who were put up for adoption by their birth parent(s)
Second parent adoption: This would be used if you or your partner already has legal rights of a child. Whichever one of you does not have legal rights, can ask the court to grant joint rights of the child. The person who already has rights does not relinquish their rights; they simply share the rights with their partner.
Obviously, if you and your partner want to adopt together, the best option is if your state allows joint gay adoption. If your state does not allow joint gay adoption, then you may have to do an individual adoption. Most states do allow individual gay adoption.
If your state does not allow joint gay adoption, then either you or your partner would file for single adoption (as long as your state allows it). Once the adoption goes through, whoever does not have adoption rights, can then file for a second parent adoption. Of course, this is provided your state allows second parent gay adoption, which most do.
One of the best things you can do if you are considering gay adoption, is to contact an adoption agency. If there is one available in your area, you should try to find one that specializes in gay adoption. They will better understand the laws and regulations. An adoption agency that specializes in gay adoptions can get you through the adoption process much easier, because they have more experience with this type of adoption.