Tips & Advice
Types of adoption
The primary types of adoption are:
- adopting through an agency (using a public or private agency
- adopting independently (a direct arrangement between birth parents and adoptive parents, usually via a conduit),
- (a combination of independent and agency where a candidate is identified independently, but the process is navigated by an agency)
- adopting as stepparents (stepparent formally adopts the child of the new spouse)
- relative adoptions (a relative adopts a familial child, perhaps in the event of death of the birth parent)
- same-sex adoptions (same-sex couple as adopting parents)adult adoptions (adult adopts someone over the age of 18)
What are the benefits of hiring an adoption attorney?
There are several benefits of hiring an adoption attorney. An attorney can obviously navigate all the legal wrangling involved in adoption. They can also help with potential future issues, such as the birth parents wanting the child back, which can be a traumatizing situation. Adoptions attorneys can also provide more freedom between birth parents and adoptive parents in approving or rejecting each other, potentially providing a more satisfying match. An agency match is usually not negotiable.
How much do adoption attorneys charge?
Costs to hire an adoption attorney can vary, so it’s wise to consult with one directly to understand all the potential expenses. Court documentation fees can range from $500-$2000, and attorney fees can range from $1,500-$12,000 or more depending on other variables and attorney rates. A reputable adoption attorney should be willing and able to explain all their costs up front.
What is an independent adoption?
Independent adoption is when prospective parents are advised by an attorney specializing in adoptions, rather than going through an adoption service or agency. While this is quite common and legal, there are several states that do not allow this method: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, North Dakota and Massachusetts. Independent adoptions can potentially be much lower cost than agency adoptions.
Is it necessary to hire an attorney in order to adopt?
While it is not necessary to hire an attorney in order to adopt, it is strongly advised. There are many potential legal landmines involved that professional attorneys can help navigate, from all the complex laws and paperwork, to potential future issues, such as a birth parent wanting the child back, or persistent health issues. Attorneys can also provide more freedom between birth parents and adoptive parents in selecting or rejecting each other, versus an agency. Because you will need to be covered legally at some point in the process, it’s advised to have legal counsel available from the start.
How much does it cost to adopt a child?
The cost to adopt a child can vary widely depending on the type of adoption program you go through-- e.g., if you use an agency or attorneys, and whether it is a domestic or international adoption. While adoption costs range from roughly $10,000 on up to $50,000and potentially higher, the average cost is $40,000. There are a lot of variables, so it’s important to do the research on how you want to proceed. Some adoptions agencies and attorneys will offer free consultations.