In addition to the need for homes for children without any legally recognized parent, the need for a child who already has one legal parent to be adopted by the parent's gay or lesbian partner who is already serving as a de facto parent is very important to the child's emotional stability and material well being. This type of adoption, frequently referred to as a "second-parent" adoption,' is the focal point of this article. However, the matters discussed herein also apply directly and by analogy to situations where gay and lesbian couples and heterosexual unmarried couples desire to jointly adopt a child who is a ward of the state. Section II of this article provides an overview of Ohio adoption law. Section III presents the case of In re Jane Doe, starting with the decision of the lesbian couple to jointly bring a child into this world, and continuing with the efforts of both mothers to obtain legal recognition for the de facto parent's status through adoption, and the legal strategies employed by the mothers' attorneys, also addressed are the court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), the social science data supplied by the amicus curiae to help the court reach a fully informed decision, and the Ohio courts' rejection of the possibility of second-parent adoptions in Ohio. Section IV offers a critique of the courts' analysis of the case. Section V is a brief conclusion.


Symposium: Re-Orienting Law and Sexuality