Do I Need a Lawyer to Adopt?

Family Law Attorney

Adopting a child can be one of the most fulfilling undertaking for parents and children alike. The process can be daunting, time-consuming, confusing, stressful and emotional. It is critical you seek the assistance of an experienced adoption lawyer to help you through the maze of paperwork and procedures associated with adopting a child. 

The intent of the adoption process is to protect the best interests of the child to ensure they are placed in a home that will give them the best possible chance to find a loving, caring family.

There are different types of adoptions. The means most commonly used are:

Using an Agency

These are private or public adoption agencies that are licensed and regulated by the state. Their objective is to place adoptive parents with children. Public agencies frequently work with children who are wards of the state, often because they are orphaned, abused or abandoned. On the other hand, private agencies are typically run by charitable organizations or social services. Pregnant women who want to place their child up for adoption often seek the help of private agencies to place their child with another family.

Independent Adoptions

An independent adoption can involve the birth parents and adoptive parents directly. Often a doctor or pastor is asked to participate as a go-between as this type of adoption can be extremely emotional and fragile. It is highly recommended the adoptive parents employ a lawyer to make sure the paperwork is done correctly. Make sure you check the laws in your state about independent adoptions as many states have strict regulations concerning this method of adoption. 

Sometimes, the biological parent or parents to retain some connection with the child after the adoption is finalized. This is known as an open adoption and all parties involved need to fully understand and agree to the terms of the adoption before agreeing to move forward with this type of plan.

Identification Adoption 

Typically, in this type of adoption, the adoptive parents find an expectant mother who does not want to keep her baby. The adoption agency is then asked by all parties to handle the balance of the process. The waiting time is often shorter for parent wishing to adopt as they have found someone willing to give up their baby for adoption.

International Adoption

Because you must comply with the laws of the country you wish to adopt from, along with this country, this means of adoption can be the most difficult to accomplish. An agency that handles international adoption must obtain certification from the State Department and the prospective parents must comply with the following State Department requirements:

  • Counseling provided for the biological parents by the foreign adoption agency
  • Legal consent from foreign biological parents
  • Local placement has been considered for the child by the foreign agency
  • The child has been given the okay to be adopted in the United States

These are the most commonly used methods of adoption. Any couple considering adoption should consult with a family law attorney with experience in adoption to assist them in all the specifics of the process, like a family law attorney in Lake Forest, IL.

Thank you to Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC. for their insight into adoption law and the importance of hiring a lawyer.