Just Realized That We’re Not Married

So …. I just realized that my partner and I aren’t actually married.

I never think about it. We had a ceremony (I wore a green dress I made myself, family was there, we had a cake that looked like a chess board). We pledged our love (with music that we edited ourselves so we would walk down the aisle … yes, we both walked, we could express ourselves). We live together and take care of each other, but we never turned in the paperwork to be legally married. We thought about it, but we decided against it. We’re not really into the whole our-relationship-isn’t-valid-until-it’s-recognized-by-the-government kind of people. We met back in undergrad more than ten years ago and we’ve been married for four years. On a day-to-day basis we don’t think about the legalities of our relationship … we just are.

As we travel along our adoption journey however I’m noticing our strange we are. I don’t want to adopt as a “single” person because I’m not single. I would like birthparents that are considering our family to do just that: consider our family (one He, one Her and one pup).

We could just go down to the courthouse and file the correct paperwork and be done with it, but I’d rather not. It’s not who we are. Are there any other options? Do we have to be legally married to be able to adopt together?

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5 thoughts on “Just Realized That We’re Not Married

  1. I have been reading your blog for a while and it seems you’re still uncertain as to what kind of adoption you want to pursue.

    But since you mention birth parents, I assume you’re learning toward domestic infant adoption.

    Anyway, I figure your situation would be similar, legally, to two gay parents adopting. I googled and this is what I found:

    There is no specific prohibition against unmarried couples’ adopting children (sometimes called a two-parent adoption). Like singles, however, you may find that agencies are biased towards married couples. You may have a longer wait for a child, or you may have to expand your ideas about the child you are willing to adopt.
    Source: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/who-can-adopt-child-30291.html

    From what I know about adoption, though, I do think a lot of birth families would be hesitant to place their child with an unmarried couple. Right or wrong, they would question your commitment to each other, and by extension, their child.

  2. You’re right: we are still undecided. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings to create any bad energy. I didn’t realize until we got into this that some birthmothers seem to be very … angry .. about having created adoption plans. That makes me not want to take part in private adoption. Then when I think about foster-adopt I get worried about the trauma that the child endured to be placed in foster care in the first place and how that might affect our family. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and think about not adopting so no one’s feelings will be hurt … then I see something about kids and I want to cry because I know I’d like to have children in our family. This stuff is hard and complicated.

  3. Thanks for the link MaLa. It sucks that our relationship and commitment to each other would be seen as less than others. I’m guessing that you think we should just turn in the paperwork then?

    • Well, I can’t tell you whether or not to get married! 🙂 But I’d definitely suggest thinking about what it would mean to do it. Adoption itself is not-valid-unless-recognized by the govt., so yeah, adopting as a married couple would be easier in many ways.

      Regarding the ethics re: adoption, I can totally relate to a lot of your feelings. My husband & I did a LOT of research and soul-searching before deciding on our adoption path. If you want to talk more about this, you can email me (I think my address shows up for you when I post).

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