Using Adoption Attorneys for Legal and Ethical Guidance

Happy baby boy that was adopted

If you are thinking about adoption or already going through the adoption process, it’s essential to consider its legal aspects and ensure your adoption is handled in an ethical and legal manner. The adoption process involves many laws and regulations that affect many steps of the process. Not only that, but an abundance of paperwork is necessary for both birthmothers and adoptive parents. Discover how an adoption attorney can help you navigate the ethical and legal challenges of the adoption process while becoming more informed about the ethical aspect of adoption.

What are some adoption-related laws? 

In the United States, much of domestic adoption law is determined at the state level and varies significantly from state to state. In general, adoption laws define specific aspects of the process, such as who can facilitate an adoption, home study requirements, when a birthmother can sign relinquishment papers, revocation period, finalization period, the different types and amount of financial assistance allowed, the rights of the biological father, and more. To learn about specific adoption laws in your state, the Child Welfare Information Gateway is a great resource you can use to find out more about the specific adoption laws that affect you.

Hire an attorney who specializes in adoption.

The legal aspects of adoption can be quite complicated, so it’s critical to rely on an industry expert to help you navigate this part of the adoption process. We recommend only working with an experienced adoption attorney.

A key aspect of hiring an adoption attorney is that they have specific knowledge about the adoption process. You may be tempted to just hire an attorney who has general knowledge about law or a family member or friend; however, one who does not specialize in adoption will not have the same level knowledge and experience to properly assist you as you navigate the legalities of adoption. Working with an attorney who does not specialize in adoption could jeopardize your chances of having a successful adoption.

An adoption attorney in your area will have a deep understanding of state adoption laws, allowing them to properly guide you through the important legal aspects of the adoption process. Additionally, an adoption attorney in your area can be proactive in anticipating any issues that may arise and be experienced in problem solving, which can help give yu the best chances at a successful adoption.

What do adoption attorneys do? 

An adoption attorney is a legal professional who plays an essential role in the adoption process. They provide various adoption-related services, including general legal counsel, preparing and filing legal paperwork, negotiating the terms of the adoption, facilitating expectant mother financial support, and representing their client in court appearances, and more. 

Perhaps the most important aspect of what an adoption attorney does is ensuring all aspects of the adoption are in accordance with adoption law. Their knowledge of the legalities of adoption also help prospective adoptive parents and birthmothers understand their rights and the technicalities involved in the process so that the adoption is conducted in a transparent and ethical manner.

Tips for choosing your adoption attorney: 

Having the right adoption attorney by your side throughout the adoption process is key to success for both birthmothers and prospective adoptive parents. As a potential client, you have the right to ask questions to determine if the adoption attorney you are interested in would be a good fit for you. An important part of this is choosing the right adoption attorney to suit your needs. Here are some of our tips for choosing an adoption attorney. As you conduct your interview, keep in mind that a trustworthy attorney will be transparent about their prices, success rate, and processes.

  • Look for attorneys that practice adoption law in your state.
  • Ask about their average price for facilitating an adoption and what their fee schedule is.
  • Ask how long the attorney has been practicing adoption law and what their experience looks like.
  • Ask what types of adoption they have the most experience with.
  • Be upfront and open about any concerns you have about the adoption or your background that could affect the outcome of the process.
  • Communicate your adoption plan and goals to assess if the adoption attorney you are looking at would be a good fit for you and your family.
  • Inquire if they are a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys or other related professional organizations.
  • Ask for referrals, reviews, and testimonials from previous clients.

What is ethical adoption? 

As the adoption world continues to transform, ethical adoption is considered a non-negotiable aspect of modern adoption. Ethical adoption is the consideration of adopting a child while keeping the best interests of all involved parties front and center throughout the entire process. It ensures that the adoption is conducted in a manner that is legal, transparent, and free of force, fraud, or coercion. 

With the help of an experienced adoption attorney, an adoption can be handled in a responsible and ethical manner. This is essential because the nature of adoption is inherently delicate and requires transparency throughout the entire process. If unethical or non-transparent acts are involved in your adoption in any way, it could cause issues with the outcome of the placement or further down the road. 

Tips for ensuring an adoption is ethical:

  • Hire a qualified, experienced adoption attorney to help you navigate the legal aspects of the adoption process to ensure that everything is done properly and you are meeting all legal requirements and upholding the rights of all parties involved.
  • Work with an adoption professional that values ethics and transparency as an inherent part of their work.
  • Educate yourself on the adoption process to ensure you are prepared and informed as possible about adoption, discourse within the adoption community, and ethics in adoption. Taking time to inform yourself ensures you understand your rights as they relate to adoption and also that you are putting your best foot forward to conduct your adoption in the most ethical manner. 

What are some red flags signaling an unethical adoption? 

As both prospective adoptive families and birthmothers move through the adoption process and hire professionals who will help them along the way, it is important to understand what are some red flags of unethical adoption practices.

  • Lack of transparency related to practices done by adoption attorney or adoption professionals
  • Providing false information to either party or withholding critical information
  • Promising a quick turnaround or specific timeline on the adoption process when the timeline for every adoption looks different for every unique case
  • Lack of informed consent from the birthmother, or lack of information available about her legal rights 
  • Use of coercive or misleading language when communicating with either party 

Ethics, Attorneys, and Adoption 

Adoption is a delicate and nuanced process that requires the utmost standard of ethics. Whether you are a prospective adoptive parent considering adopting a baby or a birthmother who is considering adoption as an option, having an adoption professional and experienced attorney on your side can ensure your adoption meets these standards. While it may seem overwhelming to initiate the adoption process, working with a trusted professional can have a positive impact on your overall experience and ensure the adoption has the best chances of being successful and you can reach your personal and family goals.

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Angel Adoption, Inc. provides marketing and advertising services that assist biological parents considering adoption and prospective adoptive parents to connect with each other, and provides support and referral services throughout the process. Angel Adoption, Inc. is an independent contractor and provides services under the supervision of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, License #012998, One Oakbrook Terrace, #501, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181; 708-771-7180.