Every year in the United States there are 135,000 children who are adopted. Though almost 81.5 million couples think about adoption, there are still 107,918 foster children eligible and waiting to be adopted. It might seem like adopting a child would be a simple process. Unfortunately, due to the years of waiting and legal implications, some couples give up the idea of adopting. The Women and Children’s Law Center was designed to make the adoption process easier on adopting couples. With their help, adoptive parents can reach their goals fast and avoid mistakes that will keep their family from being together.
The Women and Children’s Law Center pride themselves on the part they play to bring a child to their new home. The law center also looks after couples and answers any stirring questions they might have. These are the five most common questions couples have before they are ready to adopt.
- What kind of adoption should we do?
There are a total of four different adoption options available to couples: foster adoption, private adoption, identified adoption and intercountry adoption. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 40 percent of all adopted children in America come from a different race, culture, or ethnicity. As of 1995, with the passing of the Multi-Ethnic Placement Acts (MEPA), no adoptive agency can discriminate against adoptive children when it comes to adoption opportunities. It is up to the couple to determine which kind of adoption they would like to partake in. Currently, the Unites States is the leading country for child adoptions.
- How long will it take to adopt?
There are two specific processes each couple must go through before adoption is completed. The first process is called Pre-placement. Pre-placement is the process that comes before the child is adopted. Often, during this time, Homestudy occurs. Homestudy is a series of meetings between prospective parents and a social worker. During these meetings, a social worker will have a more in depth conversation with the couple in order to learn if they are eligible to adopt a child.
The time it takes to adopt a child depends on the child and where he or she was adopted from. Depending on the mental health of the child, an adoption could take two to seven years. However, if a child had special needs, the process could only take a few months.
The second process is called Post-placement. In post -placement, an adopting agency will supervise the new family for no less than six months. In the six months, an adoption agency will oversee how the couple responds to the child’s needs and necessary care.
- What are the legal implications if we decide to adopt a child from out of the country?
If couples are interested in adopting a child from a different country, their Homestudy must still presume in their given state. Couples must file the necessary paperwork with the United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to get legal citizenship for their child. However, even if they are in accordance with all of the United States immigration laws, each couple must still follow the adoption laws of the foreign country they are adopting from. This accordance with both national and foreign governments is why so many couples turn to agencies and law firms to ensure the process is done correctly. If any mistakes occur during the adoptive process, each couple must start the paperwork and Homestudy over again.
- What will it cost us to adopt a child?
Again, it really depends on what kind of adoption a couple would like to move forward with that will determine price. If a couple is thinking about adopting an infant from the United States or from a foreign country, adoptions could run anywhere between $10,000 to $30,000. However, if the adoption process is a step-parent adoption, meaning a step-parent is wanting to take joint-custody with the biological mother or father, the fees can be from $1500-$2000. Although legal fees of a step-child adoption vary by state greatly, adoptions normally run in this price range whether you have both biological parents’ legal consent.
- How important is an attorney in our adoptive process?
The first thing a couple should do in the adoptive process is hire an attorney, even before they have decided which type of adoption to proceed with. An adoption attorney is necessary because they can go over the implications and processes of all adoption genres. Attorneys are necessary to ensure each couple understands the estimated time and cost of their adoption process. Aside from the laws of both the United States and (if you decide on foreign adoption) the foreign country you are adopting from, couples must also comply with the adoption laws in their own state. Every state has different laws and different processes in which to complete any adoptions. For example, some states, like Oklahoma, allow the Homestudy to be waived if it is a relative adoption, such as a step-parent adoption, but other states do not. Though a couple could study all the laws in their state, it is wise to hire a professional to handle legal matters. For example, during the adoption hearing, couples should want a lawyer to represent them and know the etiquette of a courtroom. After all, all of their work and time waiting for a child cannot be completed until a judge from their state accepts their request to adopt a child.
Whether a couple is considering an international or domestic adoption, hiring an adoption attorney is always a necessity. Even if the couple was simply wanting to perform a step-parent adoption, an attorney is necessary to inform the couple on exactly what they need. This could be anything from legal advice to process descriptions, to even to allocating legal documents to the correct legal departments. More importantly, if a couple is willing to do a step-parent adoption, and one of the biological parents do not consent, there is an immediate need for an attorney to handle the case’s legal affairs. Often times, if you do not have an attorney in the case of an absent parent, the court will appoint one to you. By a couple hiring an attorney that they have approved to represent their case, their minds are at ease in whether their attorney knows and understands their interests.
If you are at all in need of an adoption attorney and in the Oklahoma area, contact the Women and Children’s Law Center. They are staffed with only the best and brightest adoption lawyers that take pride in completing your adoptive goals. Visit them online today and bring your family together.