Adoption lawyers can ease the confusion of the adoption process as they guide you through the many steps that must be taken before you hold your baby or child in your arms.
Why Use Adoption Lawyers?
There are many reasons why people interested in adoption use an attorney. Whether you choose an open adoption, private adoption, or international adoption, the laws can be quite confusing and even overwhelming at times. A lawyer who specializes in adoption is familiar with adoption laws and the ins and outs of the adoption process. He/she can assist with the following:
- Provide adoptive parents with an explanation of the entire adoption process
- Work with the adoptive parents to create a legal plan that suits their particular adoptive situation
- Work with other adoption lawyers across state lines and internationally
- Inform adoptive parents about all adoption-related fees and ensure that those fees are legal
- Work with the adoption agency, if applicable, to determine that the adoptive parents' rights are enforced and the termination of the birth parents' rights is completed
- Review all contracts and legal documents related to the adoption
- Create other legal documentation, such as open adoption arrangements and final placement of the child
Choosing an Attorney
Choosing an attorney can sometimes feel like a hit or miss game. Unless you personally know someone who deals in adoption issues, you may feel inadequate when it comes to selecting a professional that will protect your rights and offer you the best legal guidance and advice. You can always check with the American Bar Association, but the following tips will also help you as you search for an adoption lawyer:
- Begin searching for an attorney as soon as you have decided that you want to adopt.
- Check adoption forums, such as Adoption.com, Adoption Forums.org, and Adopting.org for help and advice from other parents just like you.
- Ask for references, and check them out.
- If you know someone who has successfully adopted, ask them for the name of their attorney.
- Search for an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in the type of adoption you are interested in, such as a domestic adoption, China Adoption, or open adoption.
- Interview your potential lawyer. Have a few questions ready, such as, How many years have you practiced adoption law? and How many adoptions have you successfully facilitated?
- Find out the attorney's fees for the services provided. Ask for a breakdown of the fee schedule, including the dates that fees are due and the specific reason for each amount of money.
Where to Find a Lawyer
There are several Websites which offer listings of attorneys who specialize in adoptions. For example:
- American Academy of Adoption Attorneys offers a comprehensive member directory, listing approximately 330 attorneys who practice and/or are knowledgeable in adoption law. This site's agency directory also offers viewers access to adoption agencies that are affiliated with the members of this association.
- Law Info allows viewers to do individualized searches by states. It also offers law information for individual cities and business and consumer resource links as well.
- Attorney Locate helps adoptive parents search for adoption lawyers in both the United States and Canada.
- Find Law is loaded with information, including an overview of adoption law facts, types of adoption, guide for adoption, state adoption laws, international law, and other parenting issues. The site also offers a database of lawyers to choose from as well.