Oklahoma allows LGBTQA+ parents to adopt, but the laws and processes to do so are constantly in flux. If you are seeking to adopt, the road ahead may be treacherous without legal help. Keep reading to learn more about same-sex adoption.
Oklahoma Same Sex Adoption Laws
LGBTQA+ adoption is legal in Oklahoma. Single people and couples can petition for adoption and same sex partners can petition to adopt their partners child from another relationship. In general, same sex adoption follows the same steps as heterosexual couple but there are some extra steps LGBTQ couples may be required to take.
While same-sex adoption is allowed, the Oklahoma legislature passed a law in 2018 that private adoption agencies had the right to approve or deny adoption petitions that they believe would violate the agency’s religious or moral policies. In other words, if a private adoption agency has specific interests in upholding religious values, they have the right to refuse adoption to same sex parents.
This law does not ban same sex adoption by any means, but it does create a massive hurdle for LGBTQ parents to overcome in the adoption process. Most of Oklahoma’s adoption agencies are associated with religious organizations. In fact, only one agency in the state has no associations with religion or denominations.
Because the law allows agencies to choose, there are no legal pathways to sue for discrimination. The law establishes the option to choose which parents to accept as a right which means that should an LGBTQ couple be denied, the denial is not discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Adoption laws do not have specific language that applies to non-binary or transgender parents, nor do they include restrictions against parents who identify as such. Adoption agencies can deny adoption to non-binary and trans parents as a part of their right to choose.
In Oklahoma, the requirements to adopt a child are as follows:
- Prospective parents must be 21 or older
- Parents must be in good physical and mental health
- There must be sufficient accommodation for adopted children including a bed, personal space, and accommodations for special needs children if necessary
- Finances must be stable, and income must be sufficient to cover childcare costs, schooling, transportation, and other expenses
- Prospective parents must be able to carry out their parental role; they must be capable of caring for the child and providing the protection and love they need
- Spouses and partners must adhere to the same requirements
Once prospective parents petition for adoption, the agency must approve the application. Upon approval, a home assessment is scheduled to ensure that the living environment is safe, secure, and suitable for a child. In some cases, agency representatives may look for environmental hazards, proximity to schools, cleanliness of the home, size of the home, and the location when deciding whether to continue the adoption process.
Adoption may happen in any number of ways from private adoptions to stepparent or foster adoptions. Whether a parent is seeking to adopt a foster child, relative, grandchild, or their partner’s child from a previous relationship, it is important to retain an attorney.
Helping Bring Families Together
Adoption can be different depending on your circumstances, and for LGBTQA+ parents, the process can be long and difficult. Nichols Dixon PLLC has extensive experience with adoption in Oklahoma and our compassionate team of legal advocates can help you every step of the way from petition to final adoption.
When you need trusted adoption legal counsel, contact Nichols Dixon PLLC.