Friday, November 14, 2014

National Adoption Month

Each year, November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month.  Adoptions are one of my favorite things to practice in my law firm. Everyone (including the judge) is happy when they leave the court room. 

For each of us to have each other is a dream come true. No, I didn’t give you the gift of life; life gave me the gift of you.    -Unknown

Adoption is a way for a couple or a family to claim legal responsibility for a child who has no parents, whose parents have abandoned them, or whose parents are unfit to care for them.
Because Utah adoptions laws differ slightly from many other states regarding parental rights, it is important to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. While there are several types of adoptions the four most common ones are:
·         Step-Parent Adoptions;
·         Agency Adoptions;
·         Private Adoptions; &
·         Public Adoptions

Step Parent Adoptions

            A step-parent adoption is simply an adoption involving a child’s biological custodial parent and a step-parent who wants to adopt their step-child.

Agency Adoptions

            Agency adoptions are exactly what they sound like: adoptions undertaken with the help of an agency. The agency usually connects the adoptive parents with the birth parents and arranges most of the meetings and paperwork.

Private Adoptions

            Private adoptions are adoptions in which an agency’s assistance is not used. In private adoptions, the adoptive parents find their adoptive child; many times through family connections (e.g. an underage niece becomes pregnant and wants to give the child up for adoption).
            Private adoptions can be less expensive than working with an agency; however, given the complex nature of the adoption process, you want to make sure you’ve enlisted the help of an adoption attorney to make sure the process is done correctly.

Public Adoptions

            Public adoptions, (sometimes called foster-parent adoptions), is when a child in the foster care system is adopted by their foster parent.
            In public adoptions a lot of the work is facilitated by the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), and an attorney is only brought in to assist with the finalization of the adoption.

Adoption Finalization

            Finalizing an adoption is the last step to completing the adoption process. Finally, after all those years of filling out paperwork, searching for your adoptive child, having people ask you personal questions and inspect your house, the criminal background checks, the birth mother interviews, the waiting, you will now be legally recognized as your child’s parents.
            Finalizing an adoption is one of the most enjoyable things that attorneys and judges participate in as part of their jobs.
            The process of finalizing your adoption, however, can be quite complicated. There are documents to file with the court, people to notify, fees to pay, and the hearing before the judge that you need to prepare for. Don’t do it on your own. You should enlist the help of an adoption attorney to ensure your adoption finalization is done correctly. 

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