The Six Steps of Adoption
Divorce is extremely common in today’s society: the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that half of all marriages will end in separation, with an estimated 46,523 divorces being filed each week. On average, first marriages that end in divorce usually last eight years. Because of this prevalence, it isn’t surprising that family law attorneys are typically associated with legal separation. However, family law lawyers are more than divorce attorneys; instead, these family law attorneys handle a variety of different cases. For this reason, if you are interested in adoption, you should hire a family law attorney to help you navigate this complex legal situation.
Adoption is an extremely confusing and emotionally arduous process. For this reason, working with experienced adoption lawyers can be extremely helpful. But when should you hire one of these family law attorneys? Read this brief explication of the adoption process to find out!
The Six Steps of Adoption
- Research–Adoption is a serious commitment. Make sure it’s right for you by checking out resources available for adoptive families before making a decision. Once you’re ready, find an agency in your area that is licensed by the state to provide adoption services. Ask about the type of children they place, their fees and more to make sure you’ve made the right choice.
- Prepare for a Homestudy–A homestudy is a series of meetings between you and an agency social worker to certify that you are a capable parent. You will be required to submit a number of documents, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, child abuse clearances and personal references, before giving the social worker a tour of your home to prove that it is a suitable environment. Because the social worker will be able to give you advice on your next step, you will only need a lawyer at this point if there is a problem with your paperwork.
- Search for a Child–Once the homestudy has been completed, you can begin searching for a child through your or another agency’s pool of children. Actively participate in the process with your caseworker to ensure that you are leaving no stone unturned in your search for your son or daughter.
- Exchange Information–Once you have found a child who seems like the perfect match, your caseworker will send their agency your information. If you seem like a good fit, you will then receive the child’s profile. Later, if you are selected to adopt the child, you will receive further information to make sure you are the right family for this child. At this point, if a child’s biological parents still have rights to their son or daughter, these rights will be legally terminated.
- Start the Official Process–Your agency will schedule a series of meetings with the child, and you will begin submitting official documents if all goes well. This is when you will likely hire an adoption lawyer. Once the process is underway, your child will be placed in your home and monitored for several months to ensure that the situation is a healthy one. If all goes well, you and your lawyer will file a legal intent to adopt.
- Complete the Process and Begin Your New Life–In a court appointment, a judge will finalize your adoption, giving you an amended birth certificate and a certificate of adoption. From this point, you and your son or daughter are officially a family, and you can start your new lives together!