If you’re considering bringing a child into your home through adoption, you are in good company! According to the Adoption Network, there are about 1.5 million adopted children in the United States, which is one out of 50 children.
There are many ways to adopt a child, including but not limited to:
In this post, we’ll explore adoption in New Mexico, specifically what it’s like for LGBTQIA+ individuals and couples to adopt in New Mexico.
Can LGBTQIA+ People Adopt in New Mexico?
Same-sex adoption in New Mexico became legal in 2015, when the federal law legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states was passed. This means that LGBTQIA+ parents in New Mexico have the same rights and responsibilities as their heterosexual counterparts when it comes to parenting. This includes access to fertility treatments for lesbian couples trying to have a child. Additionally, if there is a divorce later on, each partner has the opportunity to share in the custody of any children they may have had or adopted.
Adoption agencies must abide by the state’s adoption laws. Therefore, if an agency or company says you cannot adopt because you are LGBTQIA+, that is discrimination. Adoption, gestational and traditional surrogacy are options in the state that are recognized by the court system in New Mexico.
LGBTQIA+ Adoption: What You Should Know
There are a couple of ways LGBTQIA+ persons may adopt in New Mexico.
Joint adoption is when partners adopt a child together. In this situation, neither parent has a biological connection to the child.
Second-parent adoptions occur when one partner is recognized as a child’s parent. This could be because they are the biological parent, or because they adopted a child on their own previously. Second-parent adoption by the non-legal parent establishes equal parental rights for both partners.
Another scenario we sometimes see are individuals and families who may choose surrogacy with a friend, or pay for a surrogate without getting anything official on the record. These situations can be risky, and we recommend getting a lawyer to help from the start.
How much does it cost to adopt a baby in New Mexico?
The adoption process varies from state to state. In New Mexico, however, there are organizations that work to make adoption less costly for people.
Fostering a child is free. In fact, you can receive financial assistance to help you to meet some basic needs. Do note that foster care should not be entered lightly, however. A number of children in the foster care system have experienced trauma and that affects their experience with you (and yours with them). We have seen some families who are unprepared for this, and try to walk back their adoption experience. If you’re considering fostering, or fostering to adopt, it’s worth educating yourself first.
Adoption in New Mexico is free if you adopt a child through the Children, Youth and Families Department. You may also receive financial assistance for some of the other standard costs of finalizing your adoption. The following expenses may be reimbursed in part, or completely:
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
- Transportation, lodging, and meals during visits with your potential adoptive child
- Department required physical and psychiatric exams not covered by your health insurance
If you adopt through a nonprofit or private agency, they may charge fees. If you adopt a child who is waiting in foster care in another state, your licensing agency may charge fees. Average costs are in the thousands of dollars. There are also additional fees associated with international adoption.
Sutherland Family Law Can Help with The Adoption Process
The adoption process in New Mexico can be long and complicated. If you’re adopting through an agency, there are several stages involved, such as pre-adoption counseling, home study, background checks, and interviews.
Let Sutherland Family Law help guide you. Our lawyers are experts in LGBTQIA+ family services. If you’re just starting your journey, or if you feel you have faced discrimination while going through the adoption process, please contact us.