In agency adoptions, children are placed with adoptive parents by a privately licensed adoption agency or by an agency of the State. The agency handles the judicial termination of parental rights of the birth-parents, freeing the child for adoption. We represent the adopting parents, guiding them through the legal process of the adoption itself.
How does a child become available for adoption?
How do prospective adopting parents get involved?
They contact the agency and/or the State directly, and the agency will review the costs and procedures.
In the case of adoption agencies, the birth-parents voluntarily relinquish their parental rights to the child. The Department of Health and Welfare (Idaho) and Department of Social and Health Services (Washington) will place a child for adoption who has come into the system in one of two ways: 1) The birth mother has abandoned the child at a hospital, police or fire station, pursuant to the Safe Haven Act; or 2) The child has been removed from his/her home because the parents are not capable of providing a safe and stable environment.
Will the adopting parents need a home study?
What expenses are there for the adopting parents?
Private agencies have fees, set by each agency. The State will require prospective adopting parents to take some training classes. In each case, the adopting parents pay for a home study and for the adoption attorney. Note: In the case of State agency adoptions, there are stipends which cover the costs in many cases.
In Private-Placement Adoptions, birth-parents and adopting parents find one another, and no agency is involved in the match-up. We represent the adopting parents throughout the process, including pre-birth responsibilities, Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption.
Is there a formal agreement among all the parties during the pregnancy?
Is there a limit to how much the adopting parents can pay for pregnancy-related costs?
Usually, yes; it is not required.
Is a home study necessary?
Yes, and the State provides oversight and must approve the home study.
Can the adopting parents take the child home from the hospital, even if the adoption is not yet finalized?
In Step-parent adoptions, we terminate the parental rights of an absent birth-parent, so that a loving step-parent can adopt the child.
Does the absent parent have to consent to the termination/adoption?
No. His/her rights can be terminated for a variety of reasons, without consent.
Does the absent parent have to be notified?
Is a home study required?
No. The State, however, is notified and submits a financial analysis to the Court.
International Adoptions generally take place in the child's nation of birth, and the adopting parents retain us to obtain a Comity (or re-adoption) order. With the Comity order, the child can get an American birth certificate, and any discrepancies in the foreign documents concerning dates and the spelling of names can be corrected.
On occasion, a child enters the country on a Visa, and the actual adoption occurs in the adopting parents' state of residence. In that case, the procedure is much like an agency adoption.