Just like heterosexual couples have the option to form families in different ways, so do LGBTQ couples and single individuals. The law has changed to reflect the evolving landscape in the country, and LGBTQ couples and single parents can adopt children in the same manner heterosexual couples can. As per Colorado law, any individual over the age of 21 can petition for adoption. While the language of the law itself has not been updated recently, it does account for same-sex couples in civil unions and includes same-sex spouses.
A specified second adult is allowed to adopt, in a process known as second parent adult. In order to adopt, there is no requirement of marriage and this form of adoption is available to both married and unmarried same-sex couples. A second parent adoption is one in which someone can adopt a child who has a sole legal parent. This means a non-biological or birth parent can establish legal rights as a parent while the sole legal parent does not lose any of his or her parental rights.
Stepparent adoption is another form of adopting a child in Colorado. The spouse or partner of a legal parent adopts the legal parents offspring. Same-sex spouses of partners joined through a civil union can petition to adopt their stepchildren. The custodial parent has to consent to the adoption and the non-custodial parent has to give up his or her parental rights.
The main difference between the two types of adoptions is the relationship between the petitioning parent and the child's legal parent. While the petitioning parents must be married or in a union for a stepparent adoption, this is not the case for a second parent adoption.
While perception and law have changed across the country, same-sex adoption is still more challenging due to discrimination. Couples looking to expand their family may want to consider consulting someone experienced in same-sex family law issues to discuss their options and fulfill their dreams of becoming parents.