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Friend's adoption and co-parenting approved by court

Adoption is usually reserved for those parents who meet a stringent set of criteria set forth by laws and the court. These criteria have been used for generations to ensure an adoption is in the best interests of the child. In the past, and in rare instances today, certain people used the criterion as a means to prevent minorities and interracial couples from adopting children. Today the focus has shifted to whether or not same-sex couples should be able to adopt children. But novel interpretations of existing laws are now opening the doors for new types of families.

Two people who are simply friends have been given the go-ahead to become legal co-parents of an adopted girl. The friends first started their journey when one of them decided to be a mom and her friend volunteered to be the sperm donor. After not being able to conceive the friends decided to adopt and raise a child together. Because they were not married, only the woman was able to legally adopt the child they found in Ethiopia. Since 2011 when the woman adopted the child the pair has raised the child together even though they live in separate households. The pair asked to have the men named as the child's second parent and the adoption court judge approved using a fairly new 2010 statute which allows intimate partners to adopt a child.

Like many other states, Utah has a law that bans adoption by same-sex couples. Due to the specific language of the bill and the recent federal ruling which allowed up to a 1,000 same-sex couples to marry in Utah, the ban may be challenged in coming months if a legally married same-sex couple attempts to adopt a child in Utah. There are many factors to consider when determining what is in the best interest of a child only time will tell if the sexual orientation of the adopting parents remains a consideration.

Source: Daily News, "Couple who are just friends allowed to adopt, judge says in landmark ruling," Jan. 3, 2014

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