Growing Your Family Through Adoption
Bringing a child into your family is always an exciting occasion, and doing so through adoption has its own special joys and challenges. Successfully navigating all the legal hurdles is one of those challenges. With the help of an experienced family law attorney to guide you, however, you will make it to the finish line.
I am attorney Andrew Titus, and I assist families with legal matters throughout southwest Minnesota from my office in Worthington. Helping families grow through adoption is a privilege to be part of and a wonderful aspect of my job working in family law. I would be happy to help you and your family through the process.
What Does Direct Placement Adoption Require?
Direct placement adoption, sometimes called independent adoption or open adoption, involves adopting a child from outside of your family, often through a private adoption service. The typical scenario includes a birth mother choosing a family to adopt the baby either before or shortly after birth. Legal requirements include:
- A licensed adoption agency must complete a home study.
- The birth mother must have her own separate legal counsel. The birth father does, as well, if he is involved and present.
- The birth mother completes a form regarding her social and medical background.
- The birth parents must sign a consent form for the adoption.
If you adopt a child from out of state or go through an international adoption agency, you will need to meet additional requirements. Adoption agencies may set certain criteria regarding adoptive parents, but they are not legal requirements. In an open adoption, both the adoptive family and the birth mother or parents may agree to have some level of contact. I am happy to discuss your options with you so you know what to expect and can make the decision that best fits your family’s situation.
Are You Considering A Stepparent Or Second Parent Adoption?
Stepparents choose to adopt their spouse’s children for a number of reasons. An emotional bond is often the main reason, but it also provides children with formal legal protections. In order to complete the process, you must go through several steps, but the most important may be to sever the noncustodial biological parent’s parental rights. In some cases, this may already be done, or the biological parent may be willing to agree to the adoption. In other cases, that parent may challenge the adoption and the issue could go to court.
Second-parent adoptions are more common when a child’s second parent was not established at the child’s birth for some reason, often because the parents are not married. Before same-sex marriage was legalized, one parent in a same-sex couple would often have to go through the adoption process to be added to their child’s birth certificate. This situation can apply to any couple, however.
Somewhat related to these types of adoption is adoption by a relative. When biological parents can no longer care for their children, a relative may step in to raise that child. The courts have a special process for this situation. If you are considering the adoption of a child related to you, contact Titus Law Office, PLLC, to discuss your situation with me.