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How to start the adoption process
If you are interested in pursuing adoption, it can be confusing to know where to start. The first suggestion for anyone interested in adopting is to read voraciously. Read every book, article or blog you can find. Find a local support group and make friends with others who have either gone through the process already or are in the midst of adoption. Doing this is a great way to become an expert about an otherwise confusing subject. Information really is power, and that is doubly true when it comes to adoption.
You also have a lot of decisions to make before you formally begin the adoption process by hiring an adoption attorney in Greenville, SC. You will need to think through issues such as domestic versus international adoption as well as your interest in adopting a newborn or perhaps an older child. Prospective parents must consider the option of adopting a special needs child. It’s better to have thought about these issues before starting work looking for birth mothers and matching with a child as the answers to these questions can help to narrow the sometimes lengthy search process.
How to choose an adoption attorney
It’s important that before you select an adoption attorney in Greenville, South Carolina you be sure you are comfortable with that person. One way of doing this is to research the person and the firm as much as possible online. Read things about the adoption attorney and ask friends or others in the Greenville, South Carolina or Upstate area who have adopted what they think. Once you’ve gathered sufficient information, it’s then time to meet the adoption attorneys in person.
Schedule meetings with as many as you feel you are genuinely interested in. You will be able to tell very quickly if this is a person you are comfortable working with about such a personal and intimate subject. If you feel uncomfortable or like the relationship just isn’t right, move on. Don’t settle for an adoption attorney in Greenville, SC that you don’t believe is right for you.
Phases of adoption process
There are many different pieces of the adoption process and these can vary depending on the precise type of adoption you ultimately decide to pursue. That being said, many adoptions involve the following steps:
- Home study
- Post placement review
- Legal finalization
Is the birth father required to be involved in the adoption?
Though it can be helpful to involve the birth father from the beginning, this is not always required. If the birth father has not lived with the birth mother for six months continuously prior to the birth of the child or if the father has failed to contribute financially to supporting the mother and child, then the birth father’s consent and participation is not required for an adoption to take place. This means that an absentee father is not legally entitled to be consulted about a potential adoption, the decision is then up to the birth mother alone.
That being said, if it is possible to involve the birth father this can be a good thing. For one, it resolves any possibly lingering issue of the father later having a change of heart and raising issues that would then take time and money to resolve. Second, involving the birth father in the process can make it much easier to get a complete medical history, something that is important for the child as he or she ages to understand what health issues may present problems down the road.
Do you have to be rich to adopt?
Absolutely not. It is a quite common misconception that adoption is only an option for the wealthiest of families. Thankfully this is not the case. Though adoption can certainly be expensive, the ultimate cost of adoption depends on a multitude of factors and can vary based on what is appropriate and financially feasible for your family. Steps can be taken to lower the cost of the process and save money for those who cannot afford to write a blank check.
Working closely with your adoption attorney on the front end and explaining your family’s financial constraints is an excellent way of ensuring the costs stay within manageable ranges. By discussing these issues from the very beginning you can be sure you and your adoption attorney are on the same page.
Adoption Costs in Greenville SC
A common question when it comes to adoption is what does the process cost. Though it’s understandable why so many people are worried about the financial impact of an adoption, the truth is estimating cost is hard to do for an adoption attorney in Greenville, SC without knowing the specific facts of your case. For instance, whether the adoption is domestic or international, whether you work with a private agency, the foster care system or are working with a friend of the family can all impact the total cost of an adoption.
Some very broad estimates for domestic infant adoptions range between $10,000 and $40,000+. These figures include all expenses associated with adoption, such as travel, birthmother expenses and legal costs. International adoptions may be somewhat more given the complexity of different laws and coordinating across international boundaries. Adopting a child you already know, such as a niece or nephew or a friend’s child, can cost as little as $2,000.
Though a lengthy search process can indeed prove costly (prohibitively so for many families) an experienced adoption attorney knows this is not the only option. Instead, the adoption process can be tailored not only to your wishes, but also to your financial reality.
How long does the adoption process take?
Like cost, the length of the South Carolina adoption process is one of the most asked questions and one of the hardest to answer with any degree of certainty. The amount of time you and your family spend on a waiting list depends on a variety of factors that are often outside of your control. However, some factors that result in lengthy wait times are within your control and often have to do with how specific your search process is. Issues such as the ethnicity, age and health of a child can play a big role in determining wait time. A seasoned adoption attorney in Greenville, SC will explain that your own restrictions (or lack thereof) can often lead to dramatically longer or shorter waits.
How long until adoption is finalized?
As mentioned previously, finalization is the last step in the adoption process. An experienced adoption attorney in Greenville knows that it can take many months or even years to finally get to the stage where a child is placed in your care. Once this happens it typically takes another three to six months of placement for the adoption to be legally finalized. That being said, individual cases can vary and there are some circumstances where finalization may be delayed.
Will adopted children know about their birth family?
The extent of information that your adopted child ultimately learns about his or her birth family is a function of how open or closed the adoption process is. A professional adoption attorney in Greenville, SC will explain that this is something that the birth family and adopted family must agree on together. If the adoption is open and continued contact with the birth family is allowed, obviously the child will know a great deal about the birth parents. If the adoption is somewhat open, only some details may be given to the child and the age at which this happens can vary greatly. In closed adoptions, very little beyond medical information is provided to adoptive parents and little if any contact between the adopted child and the birth family will exist.
Can a mother revoke her consent?
Our experienced adoption attorney in Greenville, SC recognizes that this is often a major worry among those considering adoption. Fearing that after settling on a birth mother and making plans for an adoption, that a sudden change of heart on the part of a birth parent could scrap the adoption is an understandable fear. In South Carolina, once adoption consent papers have been signed, they are seen as legally binding and irrevocable. After the papers are signed, the burden of proof switches from the adoptive parents to the birth parents. This means that courts will side with adoptive parents unless the birth parents are able to prove that there has either been fraud or duress or that the child’s well being is in danger.