Adopting a child is immensely rewarding, but the adoption process itself? Not so much. Growing your family is already a major life adjustment; add on potentially long waiting periods, costly fees and complex legal concepts, and no one would blame you for feeling overwhelmed. One way to lower anxiety levels: Buy a legal insurance plan with adoption assistance. ARAG®, for example, has a network of attorneys you can tap to help you navigate the system and put you on the path to parenthood. We asked one of them, Houston-based attorney Nikita Lamar, to shed light on what prospective parents should know.
First Things First
There are three routes you can take for a domestic adoption: You can work with an agency, hire an attorney, or go through the foster care system. “In private adoptions, whether through an agency or an attorney, the birth parents are choosing to relinquish the rights to their child,” Lamar says. “For an adoption through Child Protective Services (CPS), on the other hand, the state is moving to terminate those rights, usually due to abuse, neglect or abandonment by the birth parent.”
Understanding Your Choices
To determine the best course of action for your family, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of each adoption method. In all three scenarios, you’ll need to attend pre-adoption counseling, and a representative will visit your home to make sure it’s safe and kid-friendly. A private adoption will also require you to write a profile of your family, with details on your lifestyle, hobbies and parenting philosophies.
Working with an agency is the most traditional adoption method, and the one with the most clearly defined process. What makes it different is how you find birth mothers, or rather, how they find you; after submitting your profile, an agency will show it to birth mothers, who make the decision whether or not to move forward with your application. If you work solely with an attorney, you’re expected to locate a birth mother yourself, with assistance from…
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