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You may not be able to have a child of your own, think that there are already many adorable children in the world who need a home or want to legally become the father of one of their stepchildren. No matter what the reason is for wanting to legally become the father of a child that is not biologically yours, the adoption law will tell you how.
An adoption attorney makes sure that the process complies with these legal requirements and can also help you decide which type of adoption is best for you.
The adoption process
While state laws vary, anyone who wants to adopt a child must go through a legal adoption process. You, the expectant father, begin the process by submitting to a thorough investigation by licensed social workers or juvenile court officials. During the investigation, you and the child you will adopt will be thoroughly evaluated to verify that you are both suitable for adoption and a good fit.
Research and evaluation includes a home study, including training and home visits. The entire investigation process is expected to last at least six to eight weeks. The investigation includes interviews with all members of the family, full criminal and medical background checks, and much more. Once the investigation is complete, the worker will make the recommendations in a written report and present it to the court.
Open and semi-open adoptions
The vast majority of adoptions in the United States require some degree of communication or information sharing between birth parents and biological parents. Many adoptions are now open or semi-open. In open adoptions, birth parents and adoptive parents exchange information. The biological parents can visit the child and receive information as the child grows. In semi-open adoptions, the information exchanged is limited to the first names and states of residence. They can also agree to exchange letters or photos through a third party.
Adoption of the stepfather
Many families are assembled today, so it is very common for a stepparent to want to adopt their spouse’s children through the stepparent adoption process. To do so, the stepparent may first need to obtain the consent of the non-custodial parent. While some states allow consent to be in writing, others require that the non-custodial parent appear in court. The non-custodial parent can object to the adoption as well as challenge it. A stepparent who wants to adopt their stepchild will typically have to undergo a home study, and perhaps a criminal background check.
Private adoptions, called “independent adoptions,” are very common too. In a private adoption, the birth parents and adoptive parents are handled without the help of an agency. An adoption attorney can facilitate the process to protect clients and get everything done within a legal framework.
Adoptions can also take place through a public or private agency. Public agency adoptions are typically done for children with special needs or who are leaving the foster care system. Private agency adoptions can be international or national. The fees charged for private adoptions can be in the thousands of dollars and generally require the advice of an attorney specializing in adoption law.
In about one in 10 adoptions, birth parents or adoptive parents continue to opt for a closed adoption, despite the modern trend toward some form of open adoption. In a closed adoption, the information about the biological father is kept sealed. The identity of the adoptive family is also protected from the biological parents. The idea behind a closed adoption is that it offers more protection against biological parents who later regret and back down with the adoption. Some adopted children then try to find information about their biological parents and find it difficult to do so since the records are often not released to them either.
Do you want to make it official? Get a free analysis of your case
The adoption process can be similar to the natural birth of a child: long and difficult, but the end result is wonderful. If you want to legally become the parent of a minor, get a free analysis of your legal situation from the law office of Valdez, Monarrez & San Miguel. The first appointment is free and confidential. Call 1.866.66. VAMOS.