Today is the second anniversary of Debbie's legal adoption of Luca. We were living in New York at the time - a state that allows same-sex adoptions. Debbie procured a Second-Parent Adoption:
Definition: Second parent adoption is a legal procedure that allows same-sex couples (gay and lesbian parents) to adopt their partner's biological or adopted children without terminating the first parent's right as a parent. Second parent adoptions give the child two legal guardians. It protects both parents by giving both of them legally recognized parental status.
Not all states allow second-parent adoptions. Some states don't allow gays and lesbians to adopt at all. Both Ohio (where Luca was born) and Florida (where we lived before having children and where we live now) expressly prohibit all Gays and Lesbians from adopting under any and all circumstances.
Besides the obvious, there are a number of things about laws such as these which are unfair, unconstitutional and just plain scary. During the time that we lived in Ohio after Luca's birth, I always thought about the risk of what would happen to him and what would happen to Debbie's relationship to him if anything happened to me. Here are a just few examples of what would have happened if I had croaked while living in Cincinnati:
- Luca would have had NO legal status
- Debbie would have had NO legal right to take custody or care for Luca
-Debbie would not have been able to make any medical decisions for Luca
- Debbie would not have been able to register Luca for school
Not to mention taxes, social security benefits, health insurance, etc. The list goes on.
So - here we are, pregnant again. And, guess what? - We are back to where we were pre-adoption. This baby will be even more unprotected in Florida than he would have been in Ohio - which at least offers some sort of weakened version of co-parenting status to couples like us.
There was, though, a recent case in Florida that makes us somewhat hopeful. In Miami, a circuit court judge ruled in favor of a gay man who filed to adopt a boy he had been fostering. The judge ruled that Florida's ban on gay adoption was unconstitutional and allowed the adoption to go through. This is big. As far as I know, no one has appealed the ruling yet. The fact that there is now a case on record claiming the state ban unconstitutional is a huge victory for Gay Family Rights in the state of Florida. You can read a bit about the case here.
We've made a decision to have Debbie file for adoption soon after this baby is born. Right here in the sunny state of Florida. We'll keep you posted.