Adopting a child is a wonderful opportunity to provide a child with a loving, nurturing and caring home. When you decide adoption might be right for you and your family, you should consider many things ahead of time to become an informed and knowledgeable adoptive parent. Below are five considerations you should think about when beginning your adoption journey:
Part of the adoption process includes being approved to adopt a child by an appropriately licensed agency or social worker. Specifically, you must undergo an extensive home study and it is a good practice to prepare for the process by organizing information about you and your family, such as educational backgrounds, medical information, employment and income information, and personal references.
In the early stages of planning you should also consider what type of adoption you want to pursue. Three common types of domestic adoption are public agency adoptions, private agency adoptions, and independent adoptions.
Public agency adoptions involve adopting a child who is in the legal custody of the state agency. Often these children were removed from harmful situations and may have experienced trauma in the process. Your adoption attorney can guide you through this process.
Private agencies, on the other hand, are non-governmental entities (usually non-profits) that facilitate adoptions by connecting children with adoptive families. Birth parents using a private agency often remain involved in the process and the selection of the adoptive family.
There are also independent adoptions in which the birth parents and adoptive parents find each other without the use of an agency and then rely heavily on attorneys to manage the legal components.
However, regardless which type of adoption you choose, an experienced adoption attorney can help you understand the legal procedures involved and make sure your adoption is accomplished in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.
You should also consider whether you want an open or closed adoption. Most adoptions have some level of open relationship between you, the natural parent(s) and the child. An open adoption is not easily defined as each adoption situation is unique. The scope of each open relationship varies and can range from sharing photos and updates to in person get togethers throughout the child’s life. In a closed adoption, there is little to no direct interaction between the birth parents and the adopted child, during the natural mother’s pregnancy and after the adoption is finalized.
If you have decided to adopt a child, an important consideration is the financial aspect of the adoption. Each private agency determines its own fees and expenses. If you choose to adopt a child in the legal custody of a public agency, there may be an adoption subsidy provided by the state to assist with the adoption expenses. Other fees and expenses that are typically paid by adoptive parent(s) are attorney’s fees, uninsured medical expenses, court costs, and possible assistance with the natural mother’s living expenses. State laws vary as to fees and expenses that can be legally paid in connection with adopting a child. It is advisable to seek legal counsel before paying any adoption related fees and expenses.
You may want to consider the many different ways you can network to find the adoption situation that is right for you and your family. Talking with friends, extended family, co-workers and others about your desire to adopt a child could be the path that leads to growing your family. Adoption support groups can also be a great resource to educate yourself about adoption and meet professionals in your community who have the knowledge and expertise to assist you with your adoption journey.
The attorneys at our firm have assisted hundreds of families with their adoptions and we would be happy to answer your adoption related questions. You can learn more about our Adoption Practice here.
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.
In a legal situation that was daunting, confusing, and thoroughly stressful, the team at Krigel & Krigel was indispensable. The attorneys were knowledgeable, prompt, patient, and communicative. Always taking the time to walk me through the processes & what to expect in the next steps. I couldn’t recommend a better group of professionals.