Open Adoption: Not So Simple Math

Open Adoption: Not So Simple Math

I WANTED my son to become the kind of person who appreciates the beauty of the world around him, so I smiled when, at 6, he asked to borrow my camera in case he saw “something beautiful.”

Open AdoptionWe were taking a walk in the woods outside Boston, and following behind him I was surprised by how much he moved like his father. We spent that afternoon showing each other icicles and hollow trees, breaking frozen patterns in the river ice, inching too close to the water to get a better view of the bridge above.

When we arrived home, Ben said that the reason he wanted to go for a walk was to spend time with me. It had been three months since I last saw him. I smiled sheepishly and stepped into the living room, where the woman who had adopted him six years earlier sat reading the newspaper.

Is open adoption the next big thing?

It is a far cry from the moment he was born, when my 23-year-old body seemed to know exactly what to do, when I suddenly and surprisingly wanted nothing more than to admire him nursing at my breast. When, after a drugless labor, my surging hormones helped me to forget that I was a college student, that I lived in Cincinnati, that I was passionate about architecture. During those days I was roused by the slightest sound of his lips smacking, innocent newborn desire that offered my deepest fulfillment.

In the months before I gave birth, when my boyfriend and I were just getting to know the couple we had chosen, I was able to comprehend the coming exchange only on the most theoretical of levels, but it seemed like gentle math: Girl with child she can’t keep plus woman who wants but can’t have child; balance the equation, and both parties become whole again.

During those months, my son’s mother, Holly, observed that birth mothers have to accomplish in one day the monumental task of letting go that most parents have 18 years to figure out. Days after his birth, when I struggled with letting go, Holly sat with me and cried — for the children she never got to have, for the fact the adoption would bring her joy while causing me pain, and out of fear that she had already grown to love a child I might not give her.

I decided to let her take him for a night, to see if I could handle it. She drove him to Dayton, Ohio, where she was staying with family, then called and asked: “Do you want him back? I’ll bring him right now.”

UPDATED: You can now listen to our Modern Love podcast, featuring the actress Sarah Paulson reading this column and a conversation with the writer. Look for the “play” button below.

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New York Times – Modern Love by Amy Seek April, 2007

Low Income LGBT Legal Needs Identified New Report

LGBT LegalLow Income LGBT Legal Needs Identified by New Report

The report is the first of its kind in the nation and provides insight into the civil legal challenges and discrimination faced by low income LGBT individuals. It analyzes survey data from more than 300 low-income New Yorkers on a range of LGBT legal issues related to violence and harassment, housing, income and disability assistance, immigration, health care, family, employment, education, and veterans’ rights. In addition to identifying key challenges, the report provides a series of concrete findings and recommendations to improve legal services for low-income LGBT people.

“The public doesn’t usually associate poverty with the LGBT community. Unfortunately, that perception is wrong: poverty is a huge problem for many LGBT people. Yet there are far too few LGBT legal resources to address the challenges and discrimination faced by low-income LGBT individuals,” said Cathy Bowman, LGBT & HIV Unit Director at Legal Services NYC’s Brooklyn office. “Our goal with this report is to raise awareness and generate action to fight poverty in the LGBT community,” said Adam Heintz, Director of Pro Bono Services at Legal Services NYC and a primary author of the report. “Mainstream legal services organizations and LGBT groups each have a vital role to play in that fight. Legal Services NYC was very fortunate to have hundreds of low-income LGBT people share their experiences with us for this report. We owe it to them to make sure their voices—which have so often been ignored—are heard now.”

Legal Services NYC, the largest civil legal services provider in the U.S., released today a report entitled Poverty is an LGBT Issue: An Assessment of the Legal Needs of Low-Income LGBT People.

The report’s findings were taken from a survey of 310 low-income LGBT people, along with additional data from community members, experts, and other sources.

Findings of the report on low income LGBT legal needs include:

• Low income LGBT people face many of the same challenges as others living in poverty: LSNYC’s survey found that 62% of low-income LGBT New Yorkers had difficulty paying for a basic need in the past year. Analysis of every civil legal practice area explored uncovered a substantial need for services.

• LGBT Legal challenges are exacerbated by discrimination, harassment, and violence: Survey respondents reported discrimination, harassment, and violence in a range of contexts. Transgender respondents described particularly pervasive discrimination.

•Anti-LGBT harassment in public places is common: 39% of survey respondents reported being verbally harassed in public for being LGBT in just the past year.

“The public doesn’t usually associate poverty with the LGBT community. Unfortunately, that perception is wrong: poverty is a huge problem for many LGBT people. Yet there are far too few legal resources to address the challenges and discrimination faced by low-income LGBT individuals,” said Cathy Bowman, LGBT & HIV Unit Director at Legal Services NYC’s Brooklyn office.

“Our goal with this report is to raise awareness and generate action to fight poverty in the LGBT community,” said Adam Heintz, Director of Pro Bono Services at Legal Services NYC and a primary author of the report. “Mainstream legal services organizations and LGBT groups each have a vital role to play in that fight. Legal Services NYC was very fortunate to have hundreds of low-income LGBT people share their experiences with us for this report. We owe it to them to make sure their voices—which have so often been ignored—are heard now.”

The report’s findings were taken from a survey of 310 low-income LGBT people, along with additional data from community members, experts, and other sources. Findings of the report include:

• Low-income LGBT people face many of the same challenges as others living in poverty: LSNYC’s survey found that 62% of low-income LGBT New Yorkers had difficulty paying for a basic need in the past year. Analysis of every civil legal practice area explored uncovered a substantial need for services.

• LBGT Legal challenges are exacerbated by discrimination, harassment, and violence: Survey respondents reported discrimination, harassment, and violence in a range of contexts. Transgender respondents described particularly pervasive discrimination.

•Anti-LGBT harassment in public places is common: 39% of survey respondents reported being verbally harassed in public for being LGBT in just the past year.

January 19, 2016 – legal Services NYC

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New York Adoption Facts

New York Adoption Facts

New York Adoption Facts

If you are a same sex couple living in New York adoption is a topic that will definitely come up between partners looking to start, or expand, their family. Before you decide what’s best for your family, it’s a good idea to do some research, look at all your options, and even speak with an attorney that specializes in adoption before you file a petition.

What are my options for New York adoption?

Luckily, New York adoption laws don’t place many restrictions on same sex couples or the LGBT community when looking to adopt a child, as long as you pass all the required medical and background checks.

 

You need not be married or even in a relationship. When looking to adopt, here are the options available:

  • Traditional adoption: This is the process that comes to mind when most people think about adopting a child. The child is typically (but not always) a baby or very young child, and you start the process through an adoption agency. All of New York’s social service districts have an adoption unit, and this is usually a good place to start researching information. If you’re interested in an international adoption program, make sure you choose an agency that provides those services.
  • Fostering or adopting a foster child: Fostering a child is often a deeply rewarding experience and as such many people decide to go this route to bring children into their lives. There are a couple different options within the foster care system. Some people choose to be a foster parent only, with no intention to adopt. You can also be a foster parent and then decide to adopt your foster child, or, you can become a foster parent with the intention of adoption from the very beginning. A foster child is generally only available to be adopted if they cannot be reunited with their family.

Once you start the adoption process, there are a few different ways to petition for New York adoption.

  • Petition Jointly: You do not have to be married or in a partnership to petition to adopt a child in New York, however, if you are married or life partners a joint petition will be the easiest and most seamless way for both partners to create a legal relationship with your child. With a joint petition, legal parentage is automatically established for both parents.
  • Second Parent Adoption: A second parent adoption will be necessary if you did not file a joint petition to adopt your child, if you are not married and if only one partner is legally their parent. Both parents will still need to participate in the process.
  • Step Parent Adoption: Marriage does not automatically create a legal relationship with the child; a legal relationship will need to be established for the non adoptive or non biological parent (if your partner has a biological child). This process is similar to second parent adoption and applies to married couples.
  • Single Parent Adoption: You can be single and petition to adopt a child in the State of New York.
  • Adopting a Foster Child: Before adopting a foster child, you will need to get certified to be a foster parent. If you plan from the beginning to adopt a foster child, you will then go through the process of adoption matching, pre-adoption placement and then follow through with filing the adoption petition and finalizations.

 

 

As head of the Nontraditional Family and Estates division of Albert W. Chianese & Associations, Anthony M. Brown has provided gay and lesbian couples and individuals with all the help and information they need to make an informed decision on how to start their families. If you’re ready to start or expand your family through adoption, call 212-953-6447 or email Brown@awclawyer.com.