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Same Sex Couples Can Legally Adopt In Utah ... And Avoid Costly Runarounds

Photo courtesy Jerry Rapier
Kirt Bateman and Jerry Rapier with their son Oscar.

The Utah Supreme Court lifted a stay on adoptions by same sex couples Thursday.  That changes the possibilities for many families, but one Salt Lake City man told KUER  that it doesn’t erase the debt his family has incurred in order to adopt. 

Jerry Rapier takes care of his son Oscar on Friday. His husband Kirt Bateman is at work, but taking a moment for some Facetime.  Rapier posted a message on Facebook Friday morning thanking the Utah Supreme Court for lifting a ban so couples like them can adopt legally in the state. But he asked, “Where should we send the bill for our astronomical adoption expenses due to said ban?”

“A huge portion of what we spent on our adoption adventure truthfully was unnecessary,” Rapier tells KUER. “It was necessary in our specific situation, but in the big picture, it was unnecessary. We - literally even with our limited incomes - could already have a complete college fund for our son.”

Rapier says he and his husband were talking about adopting a child for 10 years before they finally did it. They were waiting for it to be legal in Utah, but they didn’t want to wait anymore. They temporarily relocated to South Carolina in order to become joint legal guardians of their son before returning to Utah. He says he expects to have the debt paid off by September next year.

“I’m really glad that other people will not have to go through the complicated process that we went through,” Rapier says. “I’m just glad that people can be served by any adoption agency in the state of Utah. And if we decide to expand our family, we have greater options now.”

Utah law requires state agencies to give adoption priority to married couples and to prohibit adoptions by cohabitating unmarried couples. In December last year, same-sex marriage became legal in Utah, thus legalizing adoption for those couples. The U.S. Supreme court stayed the order, but this month, the Court refused to hear the case, and the hold was lifted.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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