CREAT­ING LGBT FAM­I­LIES So you want to have a baby...

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

“Work­ing through the ap­proval process to be­come an adop­tive or foster par­ent is a jour­ney that takes ef­fort and vul­ner­a­bil­ity on a par­ent’s part, every­one grows while you are work­ing through this process, and it is im­por­tant that par­ents and fam­i­lies re­ceive that sup­port from their case worker.”

If you’re ready to make the com­mit­ment to care for a child per­ma­nently and estab­lish a new le­gal fam­ily, then adop­tion is one of the op­tions for you.

There are a few dif­fer­ent ways this can be done in Ge­or­gia. You can do a public adop­tion through the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices, Di­vi­sion of Fam­ily and Chil­dren Ser­vices, or go through a pri­vate agency who is li­censed in the state to place chil­dren for adop­tion, or do an in­de­pen­dent adop­tion where there is no agency in­volve­ment prior to the place­ment of the child.

The re­quire­ments to adopt are roughly sim­i­lar to the ones listed above for fos­ter­ing, and as far as costs go, be pre­pared to pay for the med­i­cal exam and drug screen, a home study fee, as well as le­gal fees so that the pe­ti­tion for adop­tion can be drawn up and you’ll have rep­re­sen­ta­tion when you go to court for fi­nal­iza­tion of the adop­tion. But the state does of­fer adop­tion as­sis­tance, which in­cludes fi­nan­cial and med­i­cal ben­e­fits, and there’s also an adop­tion tax credit of $2000 from the state, plus the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will pro­vide an adop­tion tax credit for a spe­cial needs adop­tion.

There are no laws in Ge­or­gia against LGBT in­di­vid­u­als or same-sex cou­ples adopt­ing chil­dren. How­ever, find­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions that are will­ing to work with LGBT peo­ple and are well-ed­u­cated on the is­sues they face can some­times be dif­fi­cult. CHRIS

April 29, 2016

Kids is one lo­cal pri­vate agency where that won’t be a prob­lem, and in fact their client base is cur­rently around 75 per­cent self-iden­ti­fied same-sex cou­ples or LGBT in­di­vid­u­als.

“Work­ing through the ap­proval process to be­come an adop­tive or foster par­ent is a jour­ney that takes ef­fort and vul­ner­a­bil­ity on a par­ent’s part, every­one grows while you are work­ing through this process, and it is im­por­tant that par­ents and fam­i­lies re­ceive that sup­port from their case worker,” says CHRIS Kids adop­tion and fam­ily spe­cial­ist Kalie Lounds-Gio­vanni.

Les­bians who want to have their own child

If you’re a les­bian or part of a les­bian cou­ple and you want to have your own child, you first need to com­plete a fer­til­ity workup to help estab­lish the best treat­ment plan. The test­ing done on each part­ner de­pends on who will be car­ry­ing the baby. That per­son will have blood­work done as well as a hys­teros­alp­in­gogram to as­sess the uterus and fal­lop­ian tubes.

Next you need to se­lect a sperm donor. Donors may be anony­mous and cho­sen from an ac­cred­ited sperm bank, or you may pick the donor. If the donor is known, make sure to ad­dress im­por­tant le­gal is­sues like es­tab­lish­ing le­gal parent­age—this will in­crease the costs in­volved as well.

Then there are two op­tions for treat­ment—in­trauter­ine in­sem­i­na­tion (IUI) or in vitro fer­til­iza­tion (IVF). IUI is when the donor’s sperm is placed di­rectly into the uterus when the woman is most fer­tile, prior to ovu­la­tion. IVF is the fer­til­iza­tion of an egg by sperm out­side the body. Once fer­til­iza­tion and em­bryo de­vel­op­ment oc­curs, a num­ber of em­bryos are trans­ferred to the uterus in or­der to de­velop within the per­son car­ry­ing the preg­nancy.

Ex­pect a round of IVF treat­ment to cost around $12,000 be­fore med­i­ca­tions, which can run an­other $3,000 to $5,000.

Gay men who want to have their own child

If you’re a gay man or gay male cou­ple and want to have your own child, the one who plans to be the ge­netic fa­ther first needs to com­plete a se­men anal­y­sis to as­sess the fer­til­iza­tion po­ten­tial of the sperm. How­ever, some cou­ples may both want a ge­netic re­la­tion­ship to the child, in which case sperm is used from both part­ners for fer­til­iza­tion of donor eggs.

Next, you need to se­lect an egg donor, who may be anony­mous and cho­sen from an egg bank or the donor may be known. If the donor is known, make sure to ad­dress im­por­tant le­gal is­sues like es­tab­lish­ing le­gal parent­age—this will in­crease the costs in­volved as well.

There are many op­tions avail­able for LGBT in­di­vid­u­als and cou­ples in Ge­or­gia who want to bring chil­dren into their lives. (Stock photo)

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