Can I adopt my partner’s biological child?

LGBTQ legal issues did not resolve when the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal. There are still many lingering problems the community faces. In North Carolina, one of those issues occurs when a same-sex couple tries to create their own family by having children. You may have a situation where your partner is the biological parent of the child, and you wish to adopt the child so you have legal rights as the other parent.

According to PrideSource, the state enacted a law in 2010 that makes it illegal for any same-sex partner to adopt the child of your partner. This is called a second parent adoption. It happens when you are not married and you want to adopt the legal child of your partner.

When you cannot adopt your child, it becomes more than just a legal issue. You not only have zero parental rights, but it could also affect your ability to provide for the child. You may not be able to put him or her on your insurance. You may not be able to pick your child up from school. You get no recognition as a parent, even though you are the child’s other parent.

While this is not just an LGBTQ issue as unmarried heterosexual partners are in the same boat, it is more likely to affect LGBTQ couples. You will either have one partner who has a biological child or you will have a child adopted by your partner that you then wish to adopt. In either case, you are out of luck. The biological parent or the original adopting parent is the only legal parent under the law as it stands.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court is hearing cases about this issue, so it could change in the future. This information is for education and is not legal advice.