New parents should enjoy the process of adopting a child. However in many cases, legal paperwork and other issues complicate the matter, leading to confusion and stress in what should be a happy time. Having a trusted attorney by your side throughout the adoption process can alleviate the anxiety that adoption issues cause.

At the law office of The Gufford Law Firm, P.A., our lawyers and staff utilize over 20 years of legal experience in order to provide comprehensive adoption representation to clients across the South Florida Treasure Coast. We want our clients to understand the many aspects of adoption, and we educate them on these issues, allowing them to make informed decisions.

What are the Different Types of Adoptions?

Agency Adoptions

Agency adoptions involve the placement of a child with adoptive parents by a public agency, or by a private agency licensed or regulated by the state.

Public agencies generally place children who have become wards of the state for reasons such as orphanage, abandonment, or abuse. Private agencies are sometimes run by charities or social service organizations. Children placed through private agencies are usually brought to the agency by a parent or parents who have or are expecting a child they want to give up for adoption.

Independent Adoptions

In a private, or independent, adoption, no agency is involved in the adoption. Some independent adoptions involve a direct arrangement between the birth parents and the adoptive parents, while others use an intermediary such as an attorney, doctor, or clergyperson. For most independent adoptions, whether or not an intermediary is involved, the adopting parents will usually hire an attorney to take care of the court paperwork.

Most states allow independent adoptions, though many regulate them quite carefully. Independent adoptions are not allowed in Connecticut, Delaware, or Massachusetts. An "open adoption" is an independent adoption in which the adoptive parents and birth parents have contact during the gestation period and the new parents agree to maintain some contact with the birth parents after the adoption, through letters, photos, or in-person visits.

Identified Adoptions

An identified, or designated, adoption is one in which the adopting parents and the birth mother find each other and then ask an adoption agency to take over the rest of the adoption process. The process is a hybrid of an independent and an agency adoption.

Prospective adoptive parents are spared the waiting lists of agencies by finding the birth parent themselves, but they reap the benefits of the agency's counseling services and experience with adoption legalities. Everyone may simply feel more comfortable if an agency is involved. Identified adoptions are available to parents in the states (Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts) that ban independent adoptions.

International Adoptions

In an international adoption, the new parents adopt a child who is a citizen of a foreign country. In addition to satisfying the adoption requirements of both the foreign country and the parents' home state in the U.S., the parents must obtain an immigrant visa for the child through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly called the INS). The child will be granted U.S. citizenship automatically upon entering the United States. There have been some recent changes to international adoption law:

The Hague Adoption Convention. As of April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention governs intercountry adoptions between the United States and other Convention member countries. The treaty establishes federal oversight of adoption agencies here and policies overseas. The goal is to protect children, birth parents, and adoptive families from unethical adoption practices, including child abduction and hidden fees.

New adoption requirements. Agencies in the U.S. must now be certified by the State Department, and parents planning an international adoption must prove to the State Department that the foreign country's agencies have provided counseling for the birth parents and obtained a legal consent from them, that a local placement has been considered, and that the child has been properly cleared for adoption in the U.S. These new provisions may cause international adoptions to take even longer than they have in the past, but they will also protect parents from predatory or corrupt agencies

Just as there are different types of adoptions, there are also different issues that may stem from adoptions. Our office confidently handles numerous types of adoptions, including the following:

  • International
  • Local
  • Traditional
  • Stepparent

True Dedication to our Clients

We are a firm that is truly dedicated to our clients. Each client has direct contact with their attorney throughout the adoption process. We concentrate on making each adoption as efficient and painless as possible.

Contact an adoption lawyer at The Gufford Law Firm, P.A. today. We clearly explain the adoption process so each client can focus his or her attention on the new addition to the family. We offer a free initial consultation, at which time we discuss the unique case and needs of each prospective client. Se habla español!