Many people assume that since same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015 that LGBT couples enjoy the same rights as any heterosexual couple might. However, this could not be more wrong. Take for example, the birth of a child. One would assume that the individuals listed on the birth certificate would be considered the child’s legal parents. This is not the case. Krystal and I are both listed as parents on Amelia’s birth certificate (the hospital tried to tell us no and wanted to put the donor as the “father” – do not piss off a woman who just gave birth to a baby is all I have to say).
We started the adoption process towards the end of my pregnancy and completed it at the beginning of September. This adoption has been in the works for at least 6 months. Some would ask if the IVF Agreement would be protect both Krystal and I’s parental rights? Unfortunately this agreement only protects the embryos and not any children that may result from the creation of those embryos. The documentation prior to beginning IVF classifies me as a surrogate and Krystal as a donor, making the ownership of the embryo rather muddy without the clarity the IVF Agreement provides. Some would assume that it would be me that would need to adopt the child since Amelia is biologically Krystal’s baby, however that is incorrect. In the state of Texas since I physically gave birth to Amelia I am her legal parent.
In all honesty, none of this is very clear from a legal standpoint. That is why our attorney recommended that we both adopt Amelia for the sake of clarity and we wholeheartedly agreed. This meant that we both had to complete all the paperwork that goes into an adoption. Thankfully it was two for the price of one. More than anything we want our daughter to be protected and for both of us to have rights as her legal parents and guardians, should something happen in the future. Below I have listed the steps we took in order to actually adopt Amelia, I’ve also included costs for those that are interested.
Steps to Adoption:
- Fill out an Employment Contact to hire the attorney and pay the retainer ($2,500)
- We each completed a “Declaration” which basically states we are who we say we are, we are of sound mind, and the child is not a property of the state.
- Our attorney filed a petition with the court and the court assigns an evaluator. Our firm uses a specific evaluator (social worker) located in San Antonio. So there was an added cost of mileage and travel time, but we were assured that she will recommend the adoption to the court/judge. (more on this later)
- Our social worker mailed us a packet with information we must complete before her visit… this was a lot of stuff! All I can say is make sure your bank does free notarizing! (see list below) totaling ~$100
- We completed the home visit and approved the home evaluation document. (~$1,0000)
- Our attorney filed the home evaluation with the court
- We scheduled our Court Date!
- Showed up to court and adopted our sweet Amelia
When we started this process the home study/visit was probably the most intimidating part. There was lots of preparation in terms of paper work, but our social worker was the kindest individual ever and made the questions more of a conversation than an interrogation. I will not lie there were A LOT of questions about every facet of your life you could imagine. Some we answered together, some were answered alone. All in all the visit took about 3.5 – 4 hours of pure question and answers. Krystal and I were hesitant to have the social worker from San Antonio drive in, but it was very much worth it in the end since there was no question if she was going to recommend us for the adoption.
Documents Required for Adoption:
- Child Neglect/Abuse Central Registry Check
- FBI Domestic Adoption Check ($25.00 each)
- Criminal History Record/Fingerprinting ($30.00 each)
- Our Birth Certificates
- Our pay stubs
- Proof of health coverage for Amelia
- Our Marriage License
- Clean bill of health for Amelia, myself and Krystal
- 5 references from family or friends.
Although this process seems excessive and at times it was frustrating as we ask ourselves, “why do we even have to do this?” The piece of mind was worth every penny we spent and it was an extremely pleasant experience. No one that we encountered was negative and everyone was willing to work with us. Even the judge was as informal as one can be in those settings and followed her one rule by holding Amelia the entire proceeding. This may not be the answer for every family, for us it was a way for us to feel safe and protected. So now when Amelia plays two truths and a lie, she can say she was adopted because technically it would be true!
For those that are interested the total cost of this adoption was around $3,500. For those interested in our attorney, please feel free to contact me. We were very pleased with their services and prompt replies to any and all questions and will do any legal work with them in the future.