Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 2627 times since Wed Nov 13, 2019
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.


This article shared 2627 times since Wed Nov 13, 2019
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

Trump-era LGBTQ housing discrimination reversed, Quigley praises HUD action
2021-04-22
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) , a Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and ...


Gay News

Senate passes COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, NMAC responds
2021-04-22
--From a press release - April 22, 2021 - Following is a statement from NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata on Senate passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. "NMAC applauds the Senate passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in an ...


Gay News

Quigley, HUD Secretary talk importance of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections
2021-04-22
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, questioned Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge during a hearing held ...


Gay News

Illinois Senate passes proposal removing gendered language from marriage certificates
2021-04-21
--From a press release - On April 21, on its third reading, the Illinois Senate passed (by a bipartisan vote of 44-13) a proposal that amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to allow the removal of gendered language ...


Gay News

Jennifer Pritzker threatens to leave Tennessee over anti-trans legislation
2021-04-21
Jennifer Pritzker—the world's first out and only known transgender billionaire, as well as a cousin of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker—threatened to pull her fortune from Tennessee if lawmakers pass transphobic ...


Gay News

Ex-cop Chauvin found guilty of murder, manslaughter; LGBTQs react
2021-04-20
On April 20, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second- and third-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter in his case involving George Floyd. Floyd died in May 2020 after Chauvin placed ...


Gay News

Gay, trans panic defenses continue in court cases in many US states
2021-04-20
--From a press release - Gay and trans panic defenses first appeared in court cases in the 1960s and continue to be raised in criminal trials today. ...


Gay News

Pilsen Law Center responds to death of Adam Toledo
2021-04-16
--From a press release - Chicago Illinois — The shooting by Chicago Police of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, is yet another reminder to our community that much critical work remains to be done to prevent the use of lethal force through policies ...


Gay News

GLAAD responds to increase in suicide attempts among trans youth in Arkansas
2021-04-19
--From a press release - (New York, NY - April 19, 2021) — GLAAD is responding to reports of an increase in suicide attempts among transgender youth in Arkansas, which on April 6 became the first U.S. state to outlaw gender-affirming ...


Gay News

NATIONAL More trans deaths, bullied teen, Manhunt, trans writer, Biden
2021-04-18
A Black transgender woman in Missouri was shot to death—and investigators swiftly tracked down a suspect they believe shot her after meeting on an online dating website, LGBTQ Nation reported. Dominique Lucious was found dead April ...


Gay News

WORLD Peru items, Kenya, UK government, Poland city
2021-04-18
The first lesbian elected to Peru's Congress promised to put up a "strong battle" for LGBTQ+ rights in the South American nation as two social conservatives go head to head for a presidential run-off vote in ...


Gay News

Poll: Most Americans oppose anti-trans laws
2021-04-18
A new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll showed that two-thirds of U.S. residents oppose laws that would limit transgender rights, PBS reported. About one half of one percent of U.S. adults are transgender, according to a recent Gallup ...


Gay News

Everytown for Gun Safety groups respond to police shooting of Adam Toledo
2021-04-16
--From a press release - The Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety's grassroots networks, released the following statement responding to the video and subsequent reports of the fatal police shooting ...


Gay News

Equality Florida, HRC condemn Florida House passage of trans sports ban
2021-04-15
--From a press release - Tallahassee, FL - The Florida House has voted 77-40 to ban transgender girls from playing sports alongside their peers. The vote comes just hours after transgender students and advocates held a press conference in the Florida ...


Gay News

Illinois Latino Agenda issues statement on shooting of Adam Toledo
2021-04-15
--From a press release - On March 29, 2021, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer. Since the shooting, there have been different narratives formed of who Adam Toledo was. Various media have made allegations saying ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

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.