Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Considerations for same-sex spouses when contemplating adoption

It is only natural for couples in loving relationships to consider starting a family, regardless of whether they are heterosexual or same-sex couples. Adoption is one of the options available for same-sex spouses, and it is reported that many of the estimated two million LGBT adults wanting children nationwide are considering adoption. However, this is not a decision to be rushed, as several matters need careful consideration and an understanding of applicable Massachusetts family laws.

Couples have to decide whether they prefer using government adoption agencies or private agencies. Adopting through a public adoption agency may be a lengthy process, but it will be affordable, and the adoptive parents may even receive short-term financial support. The fees for adopting through a private agency are much higher, but a couple can choose an agency that is sensitive to LGBT adoptions and even have some level of choice about preferences related to the child they want.

Before proceeding with an adoption, careful thought must be put into preferences related to the child's age, sex, ethnic origin and whether to consider adopting a child with specified mental, physical or emotional challenges. Furthermore, both parents must be committed to providing a loving home to the adopted child. The ability to invest the necessary funds related to care, clothing, allowance, and saving for studies, along with time to support extracurricular activities, is essential.

Forming a loving parental bond with an adopted baby may happen sooner than forming such a bond with an older child who may have been disillusioned by previous negative experiences. The level of support and acceptance of family, friends and the community will also be crucial to the happiness of the child. Same-sex spouses in Massachusetts may benefit from consulting with an experienced attorney who focuses on LGBT family law for guidance and support throughout the adoption process.

Source: hrc.org, "8 Questions to Ask Before Starting the Adoption Process", Accessed on June 1, 2015

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