Adoption remains one of the most fragmented issues in family law. Unlike other cases, such as divorce, there is very little conformity to a federal standard.
Same-sex couples who live in New Jersey are lucky to have one of the most progressive home states in the nation. This was the first state to have a child-welfare agency earn the Human Rights Campaign’s seal of recognition under the All Children — All Families Initiative.
Adopting in New Jersey
Adoption is a highly formal process, whether couples want to adopt children of their spouses or they want to work through an agency. There are various steps, depending on the approach:
- Applying for grants
- Gathering documents and completing forms
- Building community
- Searching for agencies
- Preparing a home for the adopted child
This web of interrelated issues becomes complicated quickly. However, it all comes down to a single principle. All of the decisions that the court makes are in consideration of the best interests of the child. The court, therefore, looks for evidence that an adoptive family would be functional and healthy.
The AC-AF Initiative
The Department of Children and Families continues to meet the qualifications of the AC-AF Initiative by pursuing and maintaining policies that support all families. In a time of changing laws and extreme ideological stances, this is a rare piece of good news for same-sex couples.
Laws and policies, regardless of how progressive they are, are far from the only factors in a typical adoption. These complex cases typically require patience, strategy and the willingness to hold people accountable to the rules.