Thursday, March 12, 2009

2nd Parent Adoption

You know when you know the answer to something but you don't like it so you ask a second opinion? This is what I have been doing in regards to 2nd parent adoption.

In our hearts and minds this baby is both mine and Shazam's. We created it together and the only difference is that I share DNA and Shazam does not. I truly feel that genetics does not make a parent so Shazam is as much baby g's parent as I am. That said the law seems to feel differently.

I was hoping that since Shazam and I are legally married and will be able to put both my name and Shazam's name on the birth certificate at the hospital that we would be able to avoid the whole 2nd parent adoption.

I read some stuff online but thought I should actually ask someone who knows the law. I called my friend Amy whose mother is a law professor. She called the woman who wrote the actual law, and now I have the answer. Of course it was not what I wanted. We do of course need to do the 2nd parent adoption. It makes me mad. If I am legally married why do we have to jump through all these hoops while the hetero couples just get to walk out of the hospital with their birth certificates. Not only is it make me feel like second class citizens but the money is making me feel sick.

Of course we will do it. Shazam's parents live in NH and we will be there all the time. My extended family lives in VT and we are there multiple times a year. Staying in the state of Massachusetts is just not an option for the rest of this child's life. So today I am looking for a lawyer. Instead of looking obsessively at strollers and car seats I must spend my free time figuring how much it is going to cost us to make our child our child.

From what I can gather it should be pretty straight forward. We should be able to get the home study and waiting period. From what I can see we will need a cori (criminal background check), the marriage certificate, the birth certificate, and some affidavits. I guess I will find out what else we need when we meet with a lawyer. Argh!

Anyone do this already and can tell me their experience? Would love to hear how it works.


Anonymous said...

We just did it...the paperwork at least. It will take about 8 weeks after the baby is born for the 2nd parent adoption to make it through the court.

The paperwork, which for us was everything including power of attorney, medical directive, standby guardianship, and wills was just over $3000. Most of that will be refunded after next year's taxes, so at least there's that! In our state, we don't have to have a home visit or references from friends/family. I, as the adoptive parent, will need to get a physical though...don't know why, but it's an adoption requirement apparently. When the baby's born, we're sending the paperwork to the judge along with some pictures of our family. Our lawyer told us that all of the judges in the city we're sending the paperwork to approve second parent adoptions so we should be fine. Good luck!

Snickollet said...

I have no practical advice, I'm afraid.

I'd just like to go on the record as saying that I think it's ridiculous and awful that you have to do this. You're being forced to waste your time and money and it pisses me off. I wish things were different.

The end.

Shazam! said...

$3,000!!!??? I think I'm about to vomit in my trash can.

~Jess said...

I was thinking at first that maybe it's because of genetics, but then I thought about us...we don't have to do that. I know when we went through the cryobank, Matt had to sign forms both with them and the RE stating that regardless of DNA he would be responsible and the child be his heir etc.

I don't have an answer. I think it's bogus, especially considering that you two are LEGALLY married. If you weren't, then I would say yea, but you are.

Sorry I don't have any really input *hugs to you both*

Alison said...

We did a 2.5 years ago (although in Maryland.) We didn't have to have a homestudy, but did have to get together a lot of paperwork, and complete something called a "values inventory." (complete BS.)

It also cost us just over $3000 to do everything - and it is all tax deductible.

My advice is to get the list of documents you need from your attorney and start collecting them. You won't have the time or energy once s/he is here. There are a few things that you can't do until after the baby is born, but do as much leg work pre-baby as possible.

It IS ridiculous - but be thankful you live in a state where it is possible.

Shazam! said...

I've decided to have a "Help Me Adopt My Baby" bake sale to cover lawyer costs.

cmd said...

I have no advice to give, unfortunately. But I think the whole 2nd parent adoption is totally lame! And where do they get the nerve to charge $3000?

Count me in on the baby bake sale.

Feminist Housewife said...

I am so disappointed to hear that our marriage certificates are not enough!!

I was under the impression that since we are married both names can go on the birth certificate right away though, right? The 2nd parent adoption is just what makes the legality set in stone (because other states can choose not to accept a birth certificate as it's not a "legal document").

Or do you have to wait until 2nd parent adoption is complete to get the non-bio mom on the birth certificate? Because that would REALLY annoy me - adding insult to injury!

Shazam! said...

Our names will both go on the birth certificate immediately.

We just got advice from a good source to do it and god forbid something happen while we are in NH or VT where our marriage license won't be enough.

Feminist Housewife said...

Oh good! Just wanted to make sure I got the story straight.

I'm still coping with the fact that both names on the birth certificate aren't "enough" to claim our own frickin' children...

I know we are so fortunate to have legal marriage, but it's so frustrating that even having that, there are still additional hoops to jump through.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 kids--one born in 1995 and twins born in 2003. We live in western MA and did second parent adoption with all three. The first in 1995 cost $1000, if I'm remembering right. I think we paid $1200 total when we did the twins in 2003. We didn't need a home study in either situation. I know things are cheaper here in the western part of the state, but it seems outrageous that it should cost $3000. It's just not that complicated. I'd check with a couple of different lawyers who do these routinely and see what they charge. Good luck!


Alison said...

Our $3000 adoption also covered new wills, power of attorneys, paperwork to name L as the baby's guardian until the adoption went through, advance directives, and perhaps something else. Most of it had already been done by another attorney, we just had to update it. Perhaps if you just need the adoption services, it will be cheaper.

Shazam! said...

Thanks everyone for your input! SSG has a call with a lawyer this week so we'll perhaps see what ballpark cost we are talking.

sasa said...