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Important Information Regarding Adoption

The adoption of a child should be a happy and enjoyable process for new parents; however in many cases it can be stressful and confusing. The legal paperwork and various other issues complicate what should be an exciting, rewarding and happy time. The anxiety and confusion can be alleviated by having a trusted attorney by your side throughout the process.

With more than 20 years of legal experience, our lawyers and staff are able to provide comprehensive representation to ease the stress of the adoption process for clients throughout the South Florida Treasure Coast. We educate our clients on the many aspects of adoption, enabling them to make informed decisions.

Types Of Adoption

Agency Adoptions

Adoption that involve the placement of a child by a private or public agency that is regulated or licensed by the state.

Children who have become wards of the state due to abuse, abandonment or orphanage are generally placed with adoptive parents through public agencies. Social service organizations and charities often run private adoption agencies. These agencies arrange the adoption of children who have been brought to them by parents who have a child they want to give up for adoption.

Independent Adoptions

Independent adoptions do not involve an agency. Some independent adoptions involve an intermediary such as a clergy person, attorney or doctor, while others will be arranged directly between the adoptive parents and the birth parents. In independent adoptions, the adopting parents will usually hire an attorney who will take care of the paperwork, whether an intermediary is involved or not.

Although most states allow independent adoptions, they are carefully regulated. In Massachusetts, Connecticut and Delaware, independent adoptions are not permitted. An independent adoption in which the birth parents and the adoptive parents have contact during the gestation period is called an “open adoption”. In addition to this period of contact, the new parents agree that some contact will be maintained with the birth parents after the adoption. This contact might include photos, letters or visits.

Identified Adoptions

A hybrid of the independent and agency adoption, an identified adoption (also known as a designated adoption) in one in which the birth parents and adopting parents find each other, and then hand the rest of the adoption process over to an agency.

Through this process, the adopting parents can avoid the waiting lists of agencies by finding the birth mother themselves, while still reaping the benefits of the counselling services and experience with adoption legalities of the agency. Involving an agency may make everyone feel more comfortable. In Delaware, Massachusetts and Connecticut, where independent adoptions are banned, identified adoptions are the legal alternative.

International Adoptions

Adopting a child who is a citizen of a foreign country is known as an International Adoption. In order to complete an international adoption, the new parents must obtain an immigrant visa for the child for the U.S. as well as satisfying the adoption requirements of both their own home state and those of the foreign country. U.S. citizenship will be granted to the child automatically on entering the United States. Recent Changes To International Law:

The Hague Adoption Convention

Inter-country adoptions between the U.S. and other Convention member countries are governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Federal oversight of adoption agencies here and overseas policies are established in the treaty. The goal of this treaty is to protect all parties involved from unethical adoption practices which include hidden fees and child abduction.

New Adoption Requirements

It is now a legal requirement that agencies in the U.S. be certified by the State Department, and prospective adopting parents need to prove to the State Department that the agencies in the foreign country have given counselling to the birth parents. In addition the agencies need to have obtained legal consent from the birth parents that a local placement has been considered. The child also needs to have been properly cleared for adoption in the United States. Although the new provisions may cause a delay in the process of international adoption, they are in place to protect parents from corrupt and predatory agencies.

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Port St. Lucie 8483 S. U.S. Highway One
Port St. Lucie, Florida 34952
Stuart By Appointment Only 100 SW Albany Ave., Suite 300k
Stuart, FL 34994
Fort Pierce By Appointment Only 311 S 2nd St., Suite 102b
Fort Pierce, FL 34950
Telephone: 772-466-0707 Fax: 772-223-9290 or 772-466-0907 Office Hours: 8:30 to 5:00pm M-F