A Story of Second Parent Adoption
An article from The Guardian tells the tale of two lesbian partners who went through a second parent adoption:
Related: Five Legal Steps Florida LGBT Parents Should Take
When Patricia Moreno was pregnant with her first child, she went through the usual existential doubts about how life as a new mother would be. Moreno, a life coach and fitness trainer from New York, had been trying to get pregnant for well over a year. She had been through multiple rounds of IVF and suffered a miscarriage. When she did get pregnant, in December 2009, she and her partner, Kellen Mori, were over the moon, and then they started thinking.
The couple’s marriage was not valid outside the US or in many of the more conservative states; the baby, conceived by IVF using Mori’s eggs and donor sperm, would not be recognised federally as belonging to both of them. (Moreno, giving birth, would be recognised as the biological mother. Mori, who had provided the eggs, would have no automatic universal rights.) “I’m not the mum, but I am the mum,” thought Moreno and wondered idly who the baby would identify with more. As well as a good obstetrician, she and her wife of three years would be needing a lawyer.
The two women faced a version of a problem that affects growing numbers of people. As the technology to create life outpaces the law’s ability to provide for it, couples are having children whose legal status is, depending on where they are in the world, terrifyingly open to interpretation. By necessity, most of them are same-sex couples, although heterosexual couples in surrogacy arrangements can face similar problems: the failure of one jurisdiction to recognise the legitimacy of a birth certificate issued by another. As is permitted in New York, Moreno and Mori were both named on their daughter’s birth certificate, but when they travelled, there was no guarantee that Mori, the “non-birth mother”, would have any rights. She is the child’s genetic parent but, on the advice of lawyers, was obliged to adopt her own daughter after Moreno gave birth.
Though Florida law has an expedited procedure for stepparent adoption (where a heterosexual spouse will adopt his or her stepchild), no such expedited procedures are provided for in the Florida Statutes for homosexual partners. This is, in part, because Florida does not recognize gay marriage.
[Related: In A Florida Child Custody Case, Does It Matter That I Am Gay?]
[Related: In Which County Should I File My Florida Adoption Case?]
However, a gay person may have the option of adopting his or her partner’s child through a “second parent adoption.” This is where partners jointly petition the court to allow the non-legal parent to become a legal parent.
The issue of second parent adoptions is unsettled law in Florida, and joint petitions for second parent adoption are not universally recognized or accepted throughout the state. If you have questions regarding adoptions and you wish to speak with a Tampa Bay adoption attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our consultation form.
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