Same-sex couples can generally adopt children in Tennessee and all other states. However, it may still be illegal for those in same-sex relationships to adopt children from some foreign countries. Regardless of where the adoption is taking place, the couple may need to be in a relationship that has legal recognition in the child's birth country.
For Tennessee residents who are thinking about adoption, the rise of genetic testing available in direct-to-consumer kits has changed older ideas about confidentiality and secrecy. In the past, birth parents could place a child for adoption anonymously, in a closed process. In this type of adoption, the child or adoptive family would know little about how to contact the biological parents. While there were abuses associated with the closed adoption system and many parents had moved toward more open adoptions, that process has been changed through the use of at-home DNA kits.
Individuals in Tennessee and throughout the country who wish to become adoptive or foster parents generally have the right to do so. Typically, an individual must show that he or she is able to care for a child. In many cases, the sexual orientation of the prospective parent doesn't influence whether he or she can have the child. However, some adoption agencies are allowed to discriminate against same-sex individuals based on religious grounds.
While Tennessee Republican representative Diane Black has garnered attention for her vocal support for adoption, LGBTQIA couples and individuals seeking to adopt have not felt that same level of support. Black has spoken about adoption on Twitter as well as in Congress since 2015. However, prior to her appearance on the national political scene, she proposed a bill in Tennessee in 2005 that would bar "homosexuals from adopting".
The adoption process allows children who were born into unfavorable situations to live in families with people who love and support them. However, because there are a lot of people involved, including the birth mother, birth father, child and adoptive parents, adopting a child may be complex and time-consuming. Several things could go wrong before a Tennessee adoption gets finalized, so the pre-adoption paperwork aims to prevent uprooting a child from a loving home.
Individuals who are in same-sex relationships are generally allowed to adopt children. As with any other potential adoption in Tennessee, it would need to be determined that approving an application is in a child's best interest. To that end, a representative of the court will likely do a home check. It is important to be as honest as possible during the check.
In Tennessee, a person who is at least 18 years old can adopt regardless of their relationship status. Those who are married may be allowed to adopt on their own if their spouse is not competent to do so. Stepparents may adopt a spouse's child after getting married to the other parent. Furthermore, an individual is generally allowed to adopt a child regardless of his or her sexual orientation. However, some states allow sexual orientation to be considered as part of the adoption process.
In most cases, it is necessary to obtain consent from biological parents before a child can be placed for adoption. One exception to this need for consent is if the parents' parental rights have been terminated by the court.
Tennessee residents who wish to adopt have the option of picking a child from a foreign country. In such a scenario, the adoptive parent or parents would need to follow the laws and procedures of that country. The Department of State can provide information as to what these laws and procedures are. Furthermore, someone who wishes to adopt a child must meet requirements created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
People in Tennessee who wish to adopt a child must go before a court to legally acquire parental rights to the child. Prospective parents might work with an adoption agency or independently arrange for an adoption. Similar to custody determinations in divorce cases, courts apply the best interests of the child standard when reviewing adoption petitions.