Adoption Stories: Making a Family Legally Whole


Adoption is probably every family law practitioner’s favorite thing to do. Uncontested adoptions are most common, where it is fairly obvious to everyone that this family is meant to be together legally because they are already together — step-parents, second parents, and the family member that stepped up to save a child from unsafe circumstances. There are also contested adoptions where perhaps a birth parent is unwilling to let go of the child even if in many circumstances it may be appropriate. Sometimes there are contested adoptions where the birth parent is perfectly right that it isn’t the right placement.

In any case, it is always helpful to have a lawyer help to keep the process moving smoothly and assist with some of the complicated elements necessary when you’re dealing with such a significant life event. After all, the termination of a parental right is the termination of a Constitutional right, and the courts do take that very seriously.

Many of our clients wonder what role a child plays in the adoption process. First, depending on their age they will be assessed or interviewed by an adoption agency professional who will want to do a home study and make sure the placement is appropriate for the child. These agencies endeavor to make this as unobtrusive and non-frightening experience for children as possible. If a child is older they will likely appear at the final adoption hearing and the judge may ask them questions. Judges tend to be pretty good at soliciting information sufficient to proceed while gauging the comfort level of the child and making it a pleasant experience (judges love doing adoptions!). If you have specific concerns about a child’s ability to participate in the process, your lawyer can help try to work with the judge and professionals to increase the comfort of the child through the process. The key thing is to have a compassionate attorney who is child-centered and wants to be helpful.

For adults, it can also be a scary experience, particularly if it’s a contested matter. But here at our firm, we will answer all your questions and be available to you to help you navigate the experience– and we love seeing the love of a child affirmed by a court! Some of us have even been through the adoption process personally, and can relate to the anxiety you feel!

If you’re ready to make your family legally whole, call for a free consultation at 856-227-7888!

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