Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-12-11
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Center for Law and Social Work gives LGBTQ families equal footing
by Angelique Smith
2019-11-13

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


According to the Equality Illinois publication Growing Your Family: A Guide for Prospective LGBT Adoptive Parents, there are more than "34,000 same-sex couples in long-term relationships living across the state, and 21 percent of these couples are raising children." While the passing of marriage equality afforded same-sex couples with children some protection, whether or not parentage is recognized can vary by state.

The Center for Law and Social Work ( CLSW )—a non-profit located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood—addresses the unique challenges that LGBTQ families may face. Windy City Times spoke with CLSW's executive director of 10 years, Dr. Maria Nanos, LCSW, about the importance of LGBTQ families protecting their future through second-parent adoption services.

Windy City Times: How did the Center for Law and Social Work start?

Dr. Maria Nanos: It started in 2003 with mostly grandparents raising grandchildren and that grandparent having a standby adoption in the event he/she passed away or was unable to take care of the kids anymore. There'd be an automatic, seamless transfer to another person that he/she chooses and the whole family knows what that plan is. That's where it started but we have expanded quite a bit.

WCT: How has it evolved to where it is now?

MN: We now serve a lot of programs for adoption and guardianship. It's really three big buckets: one is working with Department of Child and Family Services ( DCFS ) involved families, post-adoption, post-guardianship. The next is our adoption listing service, so people interested in adopting our kids on the Heart Gallery on our site. The third big bucket has nothing to do with adoption and guardianship, but it's kind of a referrals resource for students that are sexually assaulted on college campus. It's called Porchlight Counseling. And then also we have our legal services: We can be your adoption attorney.

WCT: Tell us about the second-parent adoption services that CLSW offers.

MN: Because we are a non-profit, we're able to put our clients on a sliding scale based on income, which can slide down to $100. We don't discriminate because somebody doesn't have any money. This is true for any person and we offer [sliding scale] to everyone. ... We can do stepparent adoption with heterosexual couples and we're trying to get out there more with second-parent adoptions. If anyone needs to adopt a child, make a referral, the social worker can come meet your family and talk to you, make sure everything's on the up and up, then the attorney makes contact, they file it in court and it happens.

WCT: What are the typical demographics of the couples that seek out your services for second-parent adoptions?

MN: It's usually two lesbians. However, we've also had a transgender man whose spouse gave birth to the baby, and he wants to be identified as the father.

WCT: What are some of the LGBTQ-focused events that CLSW supports?

MN: Six months or so ago, there was a recruiting event for prospective foster parents at the Center on Halsted. We have a lot of youth who identify as LGBT and we need homes to at least foster them until they're eighteen years old. We also have an LGBT new moms group in Oak Park, so we're going to talk to them about second-parent adoption and how important that is.

WCT: And you sponsor a Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) volleyball team?

MN: We do! It's called Second Parent Strong.

WCT: CLSW had a second-parent adoption workshop over the summer—can you tell us about that?

MN: We were a sponsor of [Pride Kids &] Family Fest on Clark Stteet the day before the Pride Parade. They had about 300 families and we were handing out information about second-parent adoptions. We had a lot of people calling asking for more information, so we set that date and we had fourteen couples come for the first workshop. We hope to have another one in January; one up here and one on the southside because we have an office near 35th and Ashland which opened in May. We also have an office in Springfield and we hope to do one there, as well.

WCT: What happens in the workshop?

MN: It's basically a second-parent adoption 101. We basically explain why it's important and then it's a Q&A. We actually went around and met with each family, because everybody's got a different situation. Here's the thing that came up that was kind of interesting. With three of the couples that I talked to, the mom who carried the baby used their spouse's egg. So, then they asked, 'Who's the birth mother?"

WCT: Right, because there's the mother who gave birth and the genetic birth mother. I assume it would be similar to surrogacy.

MN: Yep, the birth mom is the genetic mom, even though you gave birth. And you'd still need second-parent adoption.

WCT: What are the advantages of LGBTQ couples pursuing second-parent adoption, particularly in light of marriage equality passing?

MN: When we were at the Fest, all kinds of people came through. Some said, 'Oh, I'm on the birth certificate.' Just having your name on the birth certificate is enough in the state of Illinois because we recognize a birth certificate as parents. There was a case, an interracial couple—one parent was African American and one Caucasian. The Caucasian spouse had the babies, they were much more "Caucasian-looking," and there was an accident. The Caucasian mom was incapacitated and the African American mother was, like, 'These are my kids[to the authorities].' She produced the birth certificate and they were like, 'We care about your birth certificate and we don't acknowledge that in our state.' She had not adopted them. It's just too risky. If she's had those adoption papers…

WCT: That's awful.

MN: Not only going out of the state, a birth certificate is not going to cut it if a couple gets divorced. If you didn't adopt that baby, it could get messy. What if the birth mother takes physical custody and denies the other person visitation? Adoption is forever, it's about having equal footing.

WCT: What do you see as the future of the organization?

MN: We'll probably venture into working with older people who need guardians. We also do adult guardianships—minors with special needs who turn 18 and they need an adult guardian. Those adults need to be protected. I want the LGBT community to be protected. And I want their kids to be protected, as well.

To learn more about the Center for Law and Social Work's services and second-parent adoption workshops, or to donate, visit CLSW.org . Also, one of the couples will be celebrating Adoption Day with other adoptees at the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St., on Friday, Nov. 22, at 10:30 a.m.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Velazquez, Craig and Maloney Press HHS on Removal of LGBTQ Protections 2019-12-12 - Washington, DC — More than one hundred members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written the Trump Administration's Department of Health and ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal: Van Dyke's Confirmation An Affront to LGBT Community 2019-12-11 - ( Washington, DC, December 11, 2019 ) — Today, Sasha Buchert, Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal, issued the following statement after the U.S. ...


Gay News

State rep candidate reveals connection to Gacy 2019-12-11 - Running for Illinois state representative, former comedian/radio host Patti Vasquez has revealed that the late serial killer John Wayne Gacy murdered her brother, ...


Gay News

Memoir profiles lesser-known sides of Edie Windsor 2019-12-11 - Mention the name Edie Windsor, and many LGBT residents would correctly associate her with the landmark litigation that ultimately paved the way for ...


Gay News

WORLD Marriages in Brazil, chemsex, couple attacked, Gus Kenworthy 2019-12-10 - The state Institute Brazilian Geography and Statistics said that same-sex marriages in Brazil grew 61.7 percent in 2018—a trend that grew from October, ...


Gay News

GOP offers answer to Equality Act; LGBTQs criticize measure 2019-12-06 - On Dec. 6, Republican Utah Rep. Chris Stewart unveiled the so-called Fairness for All Act—legislation that supposedly protects LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal to 11th Circuit: Schools Must Provide Trans Students Equal Restroom Access 2019-12-05 - ( ATLANTA - Dec. 5, 2019 ) — Today, Lambda Legal asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to affirm ...


Gay News

Johnson retires after Lightfoot fires him 2019-12-05 - Former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson—fired for allegedly lying to Mayor Lori Lightfoot about his actions in the hours before he was ...


Gay News

Pritzker strengthens state's cannabis law 2019-12-04 - Surrounded by criminal-justice reform advocates and lawmakers at Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Dec. 4 to strengthen what ...


Gay News

WORLD Haitian activist dies, New Zealand spot, teens admit guilt 2019-12-02 - One of Haiti's most prominent LGBTQI activists, Jeudy Charlot, was found dead at his home in Pétion-Ville outside of the capital of Port-au-Prince ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.