Become a Gay Dad

A Reader Asks: Can I Adopt In the United States If I'm Undocumented?

"I really want be a father, build a family but I don't know how start," a reader asks our expert, Brian Esser. "In my case I will be a single dad because I haven't yet found a good man to share my life with. But what concerns me is my status here in the US. I'm Brazilian, I don't have "papers" even though I have a good job. Because of this I don't know if I can adopt a kid here. So my question is: can I adopt a kid here or is not allowed for me?"


Even before the current occupant of the White House began his unprecedented assault on immigration into the United States, your question is one that doesn't have a clear answer. As a lawyer, I always start with the black letter law. My state, New York, has no statutory requirement that a person be a US citizen, or even have any legal status in this country, to adopt. As for other states, I did a quick survey of state law and did not see citizenship requirements in summaries of other states' law (but my research was by no means exhaustive). I've worked with undocumented parents to complete step- and second-parent adoptions for their children and successfully finalized those cases. I have worked with private adoption clients who are permanent residents, or have non-immigrant visas, but not yet with an undocumented parent-to-be.

Regardless whether requirements that adoptive parents are citizens are written into the law, bear in mind that there are a number of gatekeepers in the adoption process. You may find that lawyers, social workers, or agencies might decline to work with you because of your immigration status. Some of the judges that I appear before ask more detailed questions about immigration, while others take a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" approach. Assuming good intentions, these judges and adoption professionals might be concerned about what would happen if you were subject to removal proceedings after a child had been placed with you, but before you were able to finalize an adoption.

What if you had to leave the United States, but you had made commitments to a birth parent regarding open adoption, and you were unable to travel back for agreed upon visits? Are you able to obtain Brazilian citizenship for your child if you have to, or decide to, return to your home country? It's tempting to say it's none of their business and you would figure it out, but courts and adoption professionals see taking these factors into consideration as part of their mandate. I cannot say for certain that you will not be able to adopt, but I would expect that it will be a more challenging path given your circumstances.

Have a question you'd like answered by one of our experts? Send an email to dads@gayswithkids.com with "Ask An Expert" in the subject line.

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Researching surrogacy but feel like it's all Ancient Greek to you? You're not alone! The surrogacy process is filled with jargon, so we've started this surrogacy glossary of commonly used terms every gay dad should know as he embarks on the surrogacy journey.
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Become a Gay Dad

Jewish Agency to Help Cover the Costs of Surrogacy for Gay Couples

Isaac Herzog, of the Jewish Agency's Chairman of the Executive, has made it a priority to support employees family-planning journeys, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Agency for Israel is about to become first state organization to provide financial assistance to gay employees seeking child surrogacy services overseas. The move is intended to help offset the high costs associated with conducting surrogacy abroad.

The move to do so was led by Isaac Herzog, the Jewish Agency's Chairman of the Executive, who has made it a priority to support employees family-planning journeys, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The decision will apply to the agency's roughly 1,250 employees. The loans can be used to help cover the costs of necessary medical procedures before surrogacy, and for the process of surrogacy itself, the article notes.

Last year, in a controversial move, the Israeli government expanded the ability of single women to access surrogacy services in the country, but excluded single men and gay couples from the policy.

Herzog said the following in announcing the new initiative:

"We are also making a symbolic statement, because it reflects the egalitarian stance of a large organization that is recognizing the right of every man or woman to actualize their wish to be parents and to raise a family, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The Jewish Agency is one big family, and all its members are equal."

Gay Dad Life

Why Date Night Is So Important

When you're a parent, time alone with your significant other isn't a luxury — it's a necessity.

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"Warm milk!"

"Turn on the lights."

"Where's your phone?"

"Put on Nick Jr."

"Feed me yogurt while I play Fortnite!" (Note: we don't… well… anymore.)

This Groundhog Day routine follows us as we pick out his clothes for the day —"Comfy camouflage t-shirt and sweat pants!" he insists (shoot me now). We then make him breakfast, prepare his packed lunch and then make sure his completed homework is in his schoolbag.

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Dig through your phones — what was the last pic taken of you BEFORE you became a dad?

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But what about that last photo BEFORE you first became a dad? What does that image look like, we wondered? Well, we asked our Instagram community to dig through through phones and find out. Some of us are enjoying a last carefree meal or glass of wine, others of us are captured nervously contemplating our futures. Whatever it is, we've decided these BEFORE pictures are just as meaningful.

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Entertainment

Gay Dad in Sundance's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' is Relatable AF

Sundance hit "Brittany Runs a Marathon" stars a gay dad trying to get in shape.

Who would make for the best marathon training partner for an overweight, overly boozed 27-year-old woman? A gay dad, of course!

The pairing, for any gay man who has been subjected to impossible beauty standards (not unlike... literally all women?) makes a bit too much sense after watching the new Sundance film, "Brittany Runs a Marathon," starring SNL writer Jillian Bell (as the 27-year-old) and Micah Stock as the (somewhat *ahem* older) gay dad.

Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

We won't give too much more away, apart from saying that the trio — based off of actual people and events — really works. It's the feel good film you're waiting to see.

Expert Advice

Your 15 Most Common Questions About Adoption, Answered by an Expert

We asked our Instagram community for their biggest questions about adoption. Then asked Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network to answer them.

As part of our new "Ask an Expert" series on Instagram, our community of dads and dads-to-be sent us their questions on adoption in the United States. Molly Rampe Thomas, founder of Choice Network, answered them.

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'Life Is Amazing': Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Recently Grew!

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