-- Richmond, VA USA (April 25, 2000)
Interstate adoption is also an option but I believe you need first to qualify under your own state's guidelines in order to be considered by an agency in another state. You might want to find out if there are any agencies that are accepting of gay and lesbian parents as potential adoptive parents. Such an agency is clearly willing to look past the surface of things before making a decision. La Vida in Pennsylvania has a reasonable track record with non-traditional families and may be licensed to work in Virginia. (Many private adoption agencies hold licenses in multiple states.) I think they do domestic (U.S.) adoptions but you would want to check to be sure. Last year I did an in-service on HIV for a number of adoption workers in NJ. A serious question they raised was about the impact of severe parental illness (including HIV) on a child who has already experienced whatever losses brought them into the adoption situation. They would also tend to avoid an adoptive family where a parent has a terminal form of cancer, for example. Is it better to place a child in an adoptive home where there are likely to be future losses vs. leaving them in foster care? Maybe. Hard to know for sure one way or another.
You'd want to think about your spouse's health status in terms of how long has he had the virus? How has he responded to medications as they've become available? Is he very adherent to the medication regimen? Has he experienced any opportunistic infections? Which ones? How are his T-cells and virus load counts? In other words, is he relatively healthy with reasonable prospects for continuing good health? You may want to see if the Americans with Disabilities Act has any language that would be useful in making a case. Wisconsin specifically says that a person with a physical disability cannot be excluded.
You may want to consider moving to a state that does not require married partners to adopt together since a few states allow the court to "excuse" or make an exception for a spouse who is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable (Arkansas, Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, West Virginia). A few states have no language about spouses at all -- Idaho, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington -- but you'd want to check with an adoption attorney in those states to be sure.
Possible resources to check out for further information or for advocacy: