Lesbian couples often use anonymous or known sperm donors for one of the mothers to conceive. The non-biological mother is then known as the “second parent.” In a second-parent adoption, the biological parent retains her rights as birth mother of the child while consenting to the child’s adoption by her partner.
- The biological father surrenders his rights (either by being an anonymous sperm donor, through a donor agreement, or a by signing a consent to surrender his parental rights).
- The biological mother must consent, but does not give up her rights.
- The non-biological mother petitions for a second-parent adoption.
RLM has developed an expertise in second-parent, private-placement, and agency adoptions in New York.
Adoption is still necessary for same sex couples, even if they are married. Marriage confers a legal family relationship between adults – it is still important to secure a legal relationship between parent and child. At that point, it is really a step-parent adoption. This ensures the legal relationship even in jurisdictions where same sex unions may not be recognized.
When lesbian couples use known sperm donors (often friends), it is important to have a written and signed sperm donor agreement. The donor will usually agree to sign a surrender of parental rights so that the non-biological mother may adopt. But it is very important to clarify the expectations and legal relationships of all of the adults involved as early as possible. Will the donor have a right to see the child? Will he have any financial responsibilities? It is important that both sides consult with an attorney before signing such a document, so that they understand their rights and responsibilities. Joy understands the process and will be happy to guide you through the process.