Adopting Adults: Resources, Experiences?

We recently received a request from a young man, over the age of
18, who has not had parental figures for a very long time.

He’s looking for information on the legal possibilities of being
adopted as an adult, as well as information on organizations or
firms that are willing to work with adults in his situation.

Personally I’ve never handled such a case, but I have met 18+ young
adults who were fostered by LGBTQ parents but were never adopted by
them, and who still want a formal adoption proceeding to take
place. It’s interesting, though I wouldn’t say all too surprising,
how important the legal recognition of parent-child relationships
can be for folks when that legal relationship will carry few of the
benefits it did when the person was still a minor.

In many instances children who are fostered by LGBTQ parents but
live in states where adoption is either illegal or difficult to
come by age out of the foster care system without ever becoming
permanently legally related to their foster parents. Florida, for
instance, bans adoptions by all gay people, single or coupled, but
allows gays and lesbians to foster.

I participated in one town hall in Fort Lauderdale in 2007 on the
adoption issue in which two foster moms and their adult child wept
at the microphone as they described their feelings of helplessness
when their child turned eighteen. The adoption ban had obviously
not been repealed in time and they knew that their chances of
legally adopting the boy who had become their son after 11 years
were slim. He will always be their son, but the significance of
having him be their legally adopted son was kept from them.

All of which is to say that there are extremely important social
and cultural values attached to the legal relationships we create
for one another, whether those relationships are taken for granted
at birth (my biological mother and father, for instance, “always”
being my mother and father based on genetics, upbringing
and their legal relationships to me since I was born) or
created over time.

If anyone reading this blog has information that might help this
young man as he charts his own family course, please leave it in
the comments or email me at