When couples are looking to expand their family, adoption is a giving and beautiful option. But many couples have secreted fears about adoption. Their concerns can range from the uncertainty of finding the right birth mother, to hidden medical issues, to the ever-looming possibility that a biological parent could change their mind before the adoption is finalized. In addition to the practical and emotional concerns, new parents may also be leery of the process of adoption.
Initially it is important for couples to understand the basic process of adopting a child:
- The first step is to contact an agency or an attorney who specializes in adoption. It is through the expertise of those in the community who facilitate adoptions on a regular basis that many questions can be answered and many fears can be put to rest.
- Second, the couple needs to be ready to undergo the scrutiny of the adoption home study. It will be necessary for the adopting couple to meet with a social worker on several occasions in order for a thorough investigation to be completed before an adoption can be approved.
- Third, the adopting family must wait for the right prospective birth mother to come forward, or to find the right child via the social services system. This step takes time and patience and is imperative so that the most compatible match can be made for both the child and the adoptive parents.
- Once the match has been made, the fourth step is to have the consent of all of the parties involved, including the biological parents, the adoptive parents, and if the child is old enough, the desires and consent of the child being adopted.
- The fifth step is to begin the process of filing the adoption paperwork with the court. Once the birth mother and father have consented to the adoption and the transition of custody is imminent, it is time for the court to become involved.
- After the court has reviewed the request for adoption, the court will issue a signed custody order. This order confirms that the Judge is in agreement with all of the submitted paperwork and is ready to approve the adoption.
- Once custody has been transferred to the adoptive parents, social services will proceed with in-home follow up visits to ensure that the adjustment of both the child and the adoptive parents is going smoothly. If any issues present themselves, the social worker will be readily able to advise the family or to set up additional services as needed.
- If all goes well and the family and the new child are thriving, a court date will be set to finalize the adoption.
Most state laws and regulations are designed to facilitate a smooth and easy transition for the successful placement of children in need of homes. However, each state’s regulations do vary. Some states require more scrutiny of the adoptive parents than others. Other states give the birth mother and/or father more time to change their mind prior to the adoption becoming final.
For example, some of the friendliest adoptive states seem to be:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
Some of the less adoption-friendly states include California, Maine, Maryland, Ohio and Rhode Island. However, it is absolutely still possible to adopt in these states, and there are many local and national adoption professionals who can assist families in navigating the process and their state’s laws.
The state of New York falls somewhere in the mid-range. In New York, consent is required of both biological parents regardless of whether the child is born in or out of wedlock. The father’s consent is particularly dependent upon the amount of time the father lived with the child, his level of involvement and care of the child and his financial contribution to the child’s welfare.
It is highly advised that each couple take the time to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the particular rules and regulations of the state in which they will adopt their new child. In addition, it is important for all couples considering adoption to surround themselves with knowledgeable professionals to guide and assist them through the process.
In the event that you find yourself facing any of these questions, please do not hesitate to contact Zurica Law at 917-538-3670. We will be happy to assist you in answering your questions and representing your interests.
Anthony Zurica is an Attorney specializing in Adoption Law and a guest writer for Considering Adoption. Based in New York City, Anthony stands by his clients as an ally and friend during the entire process of adoption, from application to successfully becoming a parent. Although adoption can be an emotional and oftentimes lengthy process, Anthony is committed to being there every step of the way, 24/7.
Dedicating his life to inspiring optimism and encouraging patience, Anthony works closely with individuals and families. Furthermore, Anthony is a proponent and advocate for LGBT families.
Anthony also volunteers as a CASA (court-appointed special advocate for children), and is on the junior board of the New York Foundling, a charity that that empowers thousands of children and families to live independent, stable and fulfilling lives throughout NY. Find out more and feel free to get in touch through his website, www.nycadoptionlawyer.com, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.