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Texas – Faith-Based Adoption Agency’s Religious Beliefs Trump Child’s Best Interest

According to this article, a bill in the Texas House just passed permitting faith-based adoption agencies to reject adoptive parents based on the agencies religiously held beliefs.   It has been argued that the rejections may include gay, divorced, non-Christian, Jewish, etc. 

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Nebraska Supreme Court – Rejects State’s Ban on Gay Adoption; Holds It’s Akin to ‘White’s Only” Racial Discrimination

The Nebraska Supreme Court released an opinion on Friday, April 7, 2017, denying the State’s request to reverse the Nebraska Judge’s holding that the State’s ban on gay adoption was unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court also awarded legal fees in excess of $150,000 to attorneys representing the adoptive families, and clearly stated that a gay adoption ban was akin to ‘White’s Only” racial discrimination signs.

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TurboTax Adoption Tax Credit Issue Identified

According to this FAQ, there is an issue with the adoption tax credit and Turbotax for some adoptive parents.  

 

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South Carolina -> Federal Court Orders State to Issue Child’s Birth Certificate Reflecting Names of Both (same-sex) Parents

On Feb 15, a federal court Ordered South Carolina to create a birth certificate reflecting the names of both of the child’s (same-sex) parents.

 

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South Dakota -> Religious Freedom Bill Proposed Permitting Discrimination against LGBT Families by Adoption Agencies

A proposed bill  in South Dakota would allow adoption agencies to cite religious freedom as grounds to deny services to LGBT families according to this report.   

You may follow the bill as it goes through the legislature here.

 

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Upper House Speaker of Russian Parliament Signals Signals Weakening of U.S. Adoption Ban

One day after the European Court of Human Rights awarded compensation to U.S. adoptive parents for halting adoptions of Russian children and banning adoption by U.S. families, the Upper House Speaker of the Russian Parliament signaled that it was possible that the ban could be lifted if the U.S. would guarantee the health and safety of Russian children adopted by families in the United States according to this article.

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Texas Court Rules for Legal Dad in Mom v. Non-Medical Artificial Insemination Dad Fight

A Texas lesbian mom who conceived her child with donor sperm from her friend through “nonmedical artificial insemination” was not successful in her fight to prevent the sperm donor dad from being recognized by Texas as the child’s legal father.  Apparently, the sperm donor dad provided a donation in a cup that was then used by mom for artificial insemination.  The court opinion held that “because father did not provide sperm to a licensed physician for the purpose of artificial insemination, we hold that father is not a donor as that term is defined in section 160.102(6) and therefore may be named as a parent” to the child.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Denies Mother-Grandparent Adoption

A decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released this past Monday reversed and denied lower court rulings that allowed for the termination of a biological father’s parental rights in favor of an adoption recognizing the biological mother and the biological mother’s father (the children’s paternal grandfather) of twins as a parent.

Citing concerns for potential adoption abuse, lack of statutory authority, and a review and rejection by the Court comparing the instant proposed mother-grandfather adoption analogous to a step-parent adoption, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was unwilling to carve out a new adoption path involving a parent and a grandparent.

The decision is noteworthy because the Court recognized and acknowledged the continuing evolution and changes to family types implying that they needed protection.

In reviewing this case and the recent decision from a New York court regarding protections to relationships between children and non-parents who fill the role as a parent, it is important to remember that the adoption filing was likely triggered by a parent seeking the Court’s assistance based on a child’s best interest.

Like the New York case released earlier this week, these cases present difficult and complicated issues that may have existed in the past but were never realized or, if realized, unlikely years ago to be taken seriously and brought before a Court.  Now with recent expansive recognition of families, new adoption configurations that were once deemed not worthy of recognition are now at the court steps begging for consideration, recognition, and a chance to prove that the arrangement presented is in a child’s best interest.  Should children involved in these cases have to wait for a legislative body to recognize their other parent or should a Court step in first?  Here’s one recent story where a young adult had to wait until she finally turned eighteen for her step-father to legally be recognized as her father over the likely objection of her biological father.

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PA House Bill Would Provide Adoption-Related Counseling Services to Birthparents

Bill in Pennsylvania is reported to offer parents adoption-related counseling services to parents considering placing a child for adoption.  The bill was first introduced on October  7, 2015 and on June 21, 2016 it received a 198-0 vote on third consideration and final passage.

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Mississippi Gay Adoption Ban Reversal Spawns New Law & Lawsuit

After successfully challenging Mississippi’s gay adoption ban, Rev. Susan Hrostowski now finds herself filing another lawsuit and challenging Mississippi House Bill 1523, signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant, which allows government employs to discriminate based on their religious beliefs.

 

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