Although adoption connects prospective parents with children in need of good homes, and is thus a worthy and vital service, there are often many legal hurdles to overcome before an adoption can take place. For example, prospective parents must prove their fitness for being parents and may have to ask friends and family for letters of recommendation. Additionally, adoption requires certain legal filings and procedures. Some, but not all, of these steps in the adoption process may require the help of an attorney or other legal professional. The following information and tools to help you locate, hire, and work with an attorney for assistance with an adoption matter.
One of the useful tools available here is a questionnaire intended to help determine your eligibility to adopt. Laws relating to adoption vary from state to state and this document will not establish with total certainty that you will be found eligible to adopt, but it does touch upon common issues that apply to guidelines generally applicable. It can be viewed as a way to detect potential issues early in the process.
In addition to asking questions that relate to general criteria to adopt there is discussion of the reason for the question being asked and some general principals relating to the issue at hand. By understanding the issues presented here you can better prepare yourself to address potential problems before they interfere with an adoption. If you determine that there is a potential issue there are links to articles relating to eligibility for adoption that can help you learn more about restrictions and how they can be overcome.
It is worth noting that this questionnaire relates to legal eligibility, but agencies, countries, or birth parents may require information about religion, fertility status, educational background, and other aspects of your life and use your responses to determine whether they are willing to permit or participate in an adoption.
When you are meeting with an attorney to discuss the possibility of adoption there are certain documents that you should bring to your appointment to help the attorney begin to understand the advantages and challenges they may face representing you.
Some documents that are commonly helpful in this situation include certified copies or originals of the adoptive parent(s) birth certificate, marriage and divorce certificates (if applicable), a doctor's examination and statement from the health insurance company that will cover the adopted child, criminal background check release forms and reports, local police department letters of good standing, passports, and any relevant immigration documentation. Other important items may include letters of reference or a home study.
Adoption Intake Form
Among the information and materials presented here to help you prepare for an adoption there is a form intended to facilitate the establishment of a relationship with your attorney. The form asks for most of the basic information needed by an attorney to help determine your intentions and eligibility.
Preparing this information in an orderly and concise fashion in advance of your meeting will help you and the attorney maximize your benefit from a consultation or initial meeting. Less time looking for information or filling out paperwork means more time asking and answering important questions that help establish the basis of your working relationship.