Father's Day is this coming weekend, so make sure you've got your plans or presents ready to go before you check out for the week. While the day is meant to honor the other half of our chromosome, it can bring stress and sadness to those who are trying to become parents, same-sex or otherwise.
However, there is always hope as there become more and more options to becoming a father (genetic or not). In Texas, there are options for adoption or even surrogacy for same-sex couples who want to raise a child. One couple in Houston has successfully gone through the surrogacy process and has a blog tracking their path to fatherhood on the Houston Chronicle's website.
There are different types of adoption that may be more or less difficult based on your location. These types are public agency adoption, private agency placement, independent or open adoption, and international adoption. No matter the type of adoption, there are administrative steps that must be taken prior to matching adoptive parents and children.
Texas requires that couples or individuals wishing to adopt have a pre-adoptive social study. This study checks the suitability of the household for the introduction of a child. The state also requires a criminal background check for the couple and a medical history of the child.
Also in Texas, if a couple is married, both must join the petition for adoption. This raises an issue with same-sex marriages, as Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages from states where it is legal. This is under protest as being unconstitutional, but for the moment only one member of a same-sex couple needs to be listed on the petition for adoption.
As you move through the administrative steps, you will also be going through the steps of the adoption agency that you choose. Be sure to remember that through it all, a judge must sign off on the final adoption. This step can be eased by using a private judge, which is available if both parties agree.
So, this Father's Day know that you can adopt a child if you have the desire to be same-sex parents in Houston, and thank your lucky stars you don't live in Florida.
- Find a Family Attorney in Houston (FindLaw)
- Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents: Life After Adoption (FindLaw)
- Adoption and Same-Sex Couples: Basics (FindLaw)
- Lambda Legal - Texas (Lambda Legal)