- Robert & McKenzie
Steps to Adoption: Lawyers
Disclaimer: The steps I describe in this series are the steps we took toward adoption. This is our perspective on the steps to adoption.
You are now matched and it is time to move to the next step, hiring lawyers. Your agency or consultant will have lawyers you are required to use or recommend lawyers. You do NOT have to go with their recommendation. However, I would recommend using a Quad A adoption attorney. These attorneys specialize in adoptions and the majority of their practice is in adoption cases.
I would interview at least two attorneys and decide which one fits you best. In some cases, states require that the birth mother have a separate attorney from you but not in all cases. Either way, the adoptive parents pay the attorney fees for both parties. The attorney will draft all required paperwork for both parties in preparation for birth and court.
What Happens After Birth?
Once the baby is born, there will be a waiting period before the birth mother can terminate her parental rights. Each state has their own requirements. Once she has signed, then two things will happen
1. There will be a waiting period where the birth mother can change her mind or
2. Once she has signed, she cannot change her mind
Either way, once rights are signed, you will go to court to be given custody of the child. Be prepared to wait a few days for court. You will go before a judge and be asked to sign papers saying you are ready and willing to provide for the child. You will be provided an adoption decree at this time as well that you can use if needed. We only needed it to add the child to our insurance.
Once court is complete, be prepared to wait. If you crossed state lines, you have to wait for ICPC (interstate compact) to clear before you are allowed to leave the state where the baby is born. This can take a few days or in some cases weeks. Your attorney will file all necessary paperwork to make sure you are cleared to leave the state. I know it’s tempting but please do NOT leave the state before you have been given permission.
Overall, this is a very interesting time with a lot of communication with your lawyer. This is why it is very important to choose a lawyer that you trust and feel comfortable with. I can tell you we did not go with an attorney recommended to us by our agency. We just did not feel comfortable with them or their fee schedule. We have had some great attorneys and feel very blessed to have chosen them for our adoptions.
(Please note: We are not attorneys and do not claim to be. We are simply speaking from our experience. Please consult your attorney for the legalities of your specific adoption.)