"Texas Second Parent Adoption Website"

"Texas Second Parent Adoption Website" GLBT Family Adoption Attorney - http://TexasSecondParentAdoption.com Second Parent Adoption is a process that allows an unmarried adult to adopt the child of a partner or friend without being married to one another.

The procedure is very similar to that of the stepparent adoption process wherein the rights of one of the child’s parents have been terminated. Because marriage remains closed to the GLBT couples in most states, the Second Parent Adoption has grown considerably.

Mission: Provide Effective, Reliable and Dependable Legal Representation to Persons Wanting to Adopt

02/09/2013
"Texas Second Parent Adoption Website"

A question received this week from an individual. I thought the topic would be useful information for some others. Enjoy.

QUESTION RECEIVED FROM SHELLY: For six years, my boyfriend and I have lived together raising my eight year old son from a prior relationship. My son thinks of my boyfriend as his father, but now we are splitting up. My boyfriend is really good with my son and I don’t want their relationship to end; but we don’t want to get married just to have a step-parent adoption. Can my boyfriend adopt without our having to marry? Is the process something we can do ourselves or do we really need an attorney?

12/20/2012

Everyone in the LGBT Community should have an estate plan. Because Texas refuses to recognize LGBT relationships, we do not have automatic rights to inherit our partner's estate; even if you are married in a state that recognizes same-sex unions. As members of the LGBT community, it is very important that we take the additional steps to protect our loved ones and our estates from being transferred to persons that do not have the best intentions. As LGBT parents, it is not an option! I've had clients lose everything to their partner's siblings, ex-partners and creditors. Even with a Will, your home can be taken if you do not have it titled in your name. You should sign a right of survivorship record it in the property records.

All to often, LGBT individuals do not have a Will, which can be devastating to a family already trying to recover. If you have no will at time of death, your recognized chidren inherit first. If no children, then your parents inherit and then your siblings. The Texas legislature completely left out LGBT partners.

There is NO EXCUSE why anyone in our community should not have a Will and a designation of guardian for minor children. Therefore, I am making this my mission for those within the Houston Gay and Lebian Parents Group (HGLP). Prepare your Will, Sign it and then live your life. I'm organizing a pro bono (free) Will signing workshop (Willathon), to get everyone in the HGLP group to prepare and sign a basic Will and declare a guardian for minor children.

In the meantime, if you don't have a current Will, write one out on paper today. It must be completely and only in your handwriting. You cannot type and should not allow anyone else to write it for you. Write the following:

"This is my last Will and Testament revoking all others before it. Upon my death, I name ___________ as my Executor and ________________ as my alternate Executor to serve without bond. I give my estate to the following persons (1. “equally: _________________;” or 2. “in succession: ___________.)” If you have children, then please add, “I name ____________ as the guardian of my child _____________________. Signed on this day, December ____, 2012, by __________________."

You must list each person(s) by name that you want to receive your estate and whether they share your estate equally or the sequence you want persons to inherit from you if the person you chose first is not alive. THIS IS ONLY A TEMPORARY WILL and you should speak with an attorney to prepare a formal Will. If you use this method, you can email it to me privately to verify its validity.

11/05/2012
Private Adoption Agencies (TARE)

Question: I was looking into adopting a baby (or twins). Do you have any resources you could suggest as far as locating a baby or expectant mother?

Answer: There are two different types of adoption, Private and Government Agency. Private adoptions are negotiated between the parents of the child and adoptive parent/s, while government require strict adherence to guidelines. Unfortunately, money usually controls the selection process of a private adoption; and I do not mean to imply purchasing a child. There are costs associated with private adoptions that make the placement difficult for some. Most people that have upwards of $20k to spend and want a very specific looking child will utilize a private adoption agency. Although I work with some private agencies, I recommend against it. The money could be better spent. I refer you to:

http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adoption_and_Foster_Care/Adoption_Partners/private.asp

The link is sponsored by the Texas Department on Families and Protective Services also known as Child Protective Services (CPS). As a single person, straight or LGBT, you can adopt if you meet the requirements for foster parenting. Locate your zone on the map and you will see the private non-profit agencies that will work with you to become approved for foster parenting and adoption. Call each to see what you need to do to begin the application process for adopting through CPS in Dallas.

You can be generalized or very specific about the child or children you will accept for placement. The more specific, the longer your wait. But the placement is up to you. I tell my clients to be honest and express their desires about a child they will accept, because there are social and ethnic differences that will come into play as the child grows; and it is important to teach the child about his/her culture.

Once the agency prepares you for placement, you will first have a child/children placed with you as a foster placement. Usually, this is the time frame in which the parent's rights are being terminated. In many cases, the parents correct the issues that cause removal of the child and they are reunified. However, a good many are terminated and the foster parent then is cleared for adoption.

Once cleared, it is the adoptive parent’s responsibility to hire their own attorney to file application for adoption. DFPS will pay up to $1500 toward the attorney's fees. I usually accept this as a full and final payment (coupled with a second parent adoption). The adoptive parents are required to pay the expenses, which are usually no more than about $500. But then you get the adoption tax deduction credit. Some employers also pay for the adoption services of their employees. Plus, depending on the child, the state may give you free healthcare for the child, four year college scholarship to a Texas University and even a monthly stipend to help with expenses.

I recommend you call the agencies listed within your zone and ask each the criteria for assisting you. I am very interested to learn if any refuse you assistance if you are LGBT. I would appreciate you letting me know so that I can advise the next person that asks. Good luck. If and when you are ready, please consider me to represent you during the application phase. Mike Gonzalez
http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adoption_and_Foster_Care/Adoption_Partners/private.asp

The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) website contains photographs, profiles and videos on children waiting for adoption, how to become a foster care or adoptive family, parent video testimonials, successful family and youth stories, myths, barriers, joys and challenges of foster care and adop...

08/21/2012
Lesbian Couple Tests Colombia's Adoption Laws : NPR

Lesbian Couple Tests Colombia's Adoption Laws : NPR

In Latin America, high courts are expanding the rights of gay people, including the right to marry. Now many courts are also ruling in favor of gay adoption. NPR's Juan Forero has the story of one case that could set an important precedent involving a lesbian couple in conservative Colombia.

"Texas Second Parent Adoption Website" I want to highlight information about the Houston Gay & Lesbian Parent's Group (H...
06/05/2012
Houston Gay and Lesbian Parents

"Texas Second Parent Adoption Website" I want to highlight information about the Houston Gay & Lesbian Parent's Group (HGLP). My family first joined the organization around 1999; and at that time I thought of the group as merely a support group. Now that we are on the edge of the most significant time in American GLBT History, I can see how important a role our group and our city has played in promoting a positive change in attitudes all around the world. All too often there is to too much publicity about negative incidents; such as bashings or violations of civil rights involving the GLBT Community. However, there is so much that is done behind the scenes by persons in our community that are not given sufficient credit. I hope to shine some light on these persons and organizations in my upcoming article. Stay Tuned.

E-mail is being used extensively in HGLP to send reminders of events or other information of interest to GLB&T parents. If you would like to get these messages please subscribe to HGLPEvents through our Yahoo Group.

Modern Science Creates Life By In Vitro Fertilization; Yet We Still Bastardize Our Children -In recent years, there has ...
05/12/2012
Gay Couples And Surrogacy

Modern Science Creates Life By In Vitro Fertilization;
Yet We Still Bastardize Our Children -
In recent years, there has been an enormous increase in GLBT use of In vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy and adoption across the world. In case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, IVF means fertilization outside of the body. Last year, I helped to facilitate the adoption of six children conceived through surrogacy in India. It was during the third adoption that the judge stopped the proceeding and made me explain the legal process by which the children are allowed to depart India and enter the United States. Well, the difficult explanation was how they got into the surrogates. The great news is that doors have opened up all over the world for the GLBT community. The unfortunate news is that the dollars are not always being spent right here in the most advanced medical community in the world, Houston, Texas. Local surrogacy is simply cost prohibitive for most.
In addition to the excessive cost, our state legislature has seen fit to implement a law that provides protections for one group of citizens and not all others utilizing surrogacy. While there are various types of surrogacy available, gestational surrogacy is the only one recognized by the Texas Family Code. The gestational mother carries a fertilized embryo that is implanted in her by assisted reproduction. The embryo is comprised of either the intended mother’s egg, or a donor egg, and the intended father’s sperm, or donor sperm. Therefore, the child is not biologically related to the gestational mother or her husband. In order for a gestational surrogacy agreement to be validated, Section 160.754 of the Texas Family Code requires that the intended parents be married to each other and that each intended parent be a party to the gestational agreement. If you fit this pattern, then you are allowed to submit your agreement to the court and have your parental rights established in advance of the child's birth. Your child’s birth certificate will automatically list you as the biological parent(s) without any reference to the surrogate. This protection is huge in family law and affordable.
However, if you are not married, then you are SOL. You can file your agreement, but the court will not enforce it. For example, Chi and Don are members of the Houston Gay and Lesbian Parents Group and currently expecting two sets of twins under two different surrogacy agreements. They received eggs from a donor female which were fertilized with Chi’s sperm then implanted into the two women. As a result, the surrogates have no biological ties to the children. While it’s perfectly legal for non-married and/or GLBT persons to enter into surrogacy agreements, the non-biological surrogate is automatically presumed to be the child’s parent and therefore named on the birth certificate. Chi will have to file a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage in order to establish himself as the children’s’ father and a Petition to Terminate the Parent Child Relationship between the surrogate and the child.
By now you may be thinking that there is no real issue since married, non-married, straight and GLBT persons are all allowed to enter into surrogacy agreements for the birth of their children. To begin with, you will spend much more money for legal fees if you are not a married heterosexual couple. Then, you risk the chance of the surrogate challenging your right as the child’s parent which tends to increase after the birth of the child; and it’s very difficult to provide protections if the surrogate mother puts the unborn child at risk.
My initial thought is that of the children’s rights. In 1972 the US Supreme Court heard the case of Garcia v. Perez, from a lower court which had ruled that unmarried fathers were not obligated to provide support to the mothers of their illegitimate children. The Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that the laws of Texas could not constitutionally grant legitimate children a judicially enforceable right to support from their natural fathers and at the same time deny that right to illegitimate children. Furthermore, the duty to support exists despite the fact that the father may not have custody of the child. Hooten v. Hooten, 15 S.W.2d 141. Any law that provides greater rights and/or protections to children born of a marriage above others not born of a marriage effectively bastardizes the child and promotes the social stigma. Section 160.202 of the Texas Family Code entitled “NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON MARITAL STATUS,” states that a child born to parents who are not married to each other has the same rights under the law as a child born to parents who are married to each other.
My question then is whether or not a child with married parents that are afforded the protections of a surrogacy agreement receives any greater benefit than a child with unmarried parents that are not otherwise afforded the same protections of a surrogacy agreement, whether the child is born or unborn.
In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed the Prenatal Protection Act which named the unborn children of Texas individuals from fertilization to natural death. The law does not distinguish the unborn children of married, unmarried, straight or gay parents; but simply protects unborn children as an “individual” and a “person.” If this is the case, then the unborn child is entitled to due process and afforded rights under the Texas Constitution which includes the enforceable right to support from their natural fathers [and natural mothers] , keeping in mind something as simple as the issuance of a birth certificate, establishment of parentage or availability to health insurance. Although the social conservatives within the Texas Legislature implemented the Prenatal Protection Act in 2003 for the purpose of limiting abortion, it was also 2003 when they implemented the marriage requirement for the protection of the biological parents in gestational agreements. Until Texas removes the requirement of marriage for the protection in gestational agreements, we continue to bastardize our children not born of a marriage.
It sure seems the basis of a good challenge for overturning another discriminatory bastardizing statute.

Gay Couples, Gay Surrogacy, GLBT Parents,

LOCAL SCHOOL TEACHES POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT TO OUR CHILDREN THROUGH A HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL PROJECTWhen I attended high sc...
04/09/2012
Cypress Ranch High School Anti-Bullying Lip Dub "Who Do U Think U R?"

LOCAL SCHOOL TEACHES POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT TO OUR CHILDREN THROUGH A HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL PROJECT
When I attended high school, it was a tradition that the seniors hazed the freshmen. Looking back, most of it was intended to be good, clean fun and a rite of passage. Of course, there were always those that pushed the envelope; and I can remember two individuals from high school that carried the “good, clean fun” to the point of hatred. Unfortunately for GLBT youth that are already in fear of being "outed," even a slight amount of teasing or bullying can prove to be too much. More and more often, there are those that will never be able to "look back" because they have taken their own lives. Well, I am ashamed to think that I once believed hazing was once good; or clean, much less fun. I’m not ashamed to say that one of the individuals I mentioned that carried the “good, clean fun” to the point of hatred is currently a loser; and the other one I started calling “ friend” immediately after high school and still today. I'm not sure that we will ever answer the question of whether or not bullying is nature or nurture, but since human nature continues populating, we must continue to nurture our youth with tolerance, which will hopefully lead to understanding and ultimately acceptance.

Available on iTunes: http://alturl.com/9kfvw (Benefits Anti-Bullying Campaign) On March 28, 2012, students at Cypress Ranch High School came together to crea...

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