Private Infant Adoption
There are two types of private adoption: (1) agency placement and (2) direct placement.
In this type of an adoption, an expectant mother makes an adoption plan with her agency. That agency will help match her with the prospective adoptive parents working with their agency. The fees are often higher and each agency has its own set of policies and rules for placement.
In this type of placement, the birth mom will sign a Consent for Adoption to the Agency for the adoption. The Agency will later sign a Consent for Adoption to the prospective adoptive parents, once it feels all the necessary requirements have been met (those required by law and those required by the Agency policies).
With an Agency adoption, the prospective adoptive parents will still need their own counsel to finalize the adoption and to provide legal advice throughout the process. Adoption agencies are not law firms and their attorneys represent the agency, not you. The agency is working with both the expectant parent and the prospective adoptive parents, so it may not always have your best interest in mind. It must weigh your needs and concerns with those of the expectant parent.
We will walk you through the process and help you avoid pitfalls and unnecessary legal conundrums.
This process can start with an expectant mother contacting a private attorney, like Kristy or Cory, or by reaching out to a friend or family member who might know of someone looking to adopt. One attorney will represent the birth parent and a different attorney will represent the prospective adoptive parents. We represent both expectant parents and prospective adoptive parents, but never on the same case.
In this type of placement, the birth mom will sign a Consent for Adoption directly to the prospective adoptive parents. The two attorneys involved on the case work together to ensure paternity rights have been handled correctly, facilitate counseling services, and handle any living expenses that might be needed.
Relative and Stepparent Adoption
The process to adopt a relative or stepchild is slightly different from the foster care or domestic infant adoption process. We provide the necessary services to create a seamless process for everyone involved. Relative and stepparent adoptions follow very similar legal processes.
A relative adoption refers to the adoption of a child by his or her grandparent, great grandparent, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, cousin, or sibling. Sometimes this happens when the legal or biological parents consent to the adoption and sometimes it is first necessary to file a Termination of Parental Rights case against one or both parents.
A stepparent adoption refers to the adoption of a child by his or her parent’s spouse to create a legal parent-child relationship. This may also include same-sex couples who are now able to legally adopt a spouse’s child in Arizona. Like relative adoptions, sometimes this happens when the legal or biological parents consent to the adoption and sometimes it is first necessary to file a Termination of Parental Rights case against one or both parents.
Every adoption involves the legal process of transferring parental rights and responsibilities from one parent to another. Whether you are pursuing infant adoption, foster care adoption, international adoption, or relative or stepparent adoption, the process will involve termination of parental rights, background checks, and legal finalization.
However, stepparent and relative adoptions differ somewhat in legal process and home study requirements. For example, the home study is significantly limited for stepparents and close blood relatives. In Arizona, it usually consists of a background check with the Department of Child Services and a fingerprint clearance. We can help you understand the legal requirements to complete your stepparent or relative adoption and walk you through each step from beginning to finalization.