Adopting a child is not for everyone and for those who are beginning the adoption process, using an adoption attorney is not for everyone either. However, if you are like most people who are thinking of adopting, you have probably been researching the issue for weeks.
How can an Adoption Attorney Help?
There are laws in South Carolina regarding adoption. As such, it makes sense to get help from an experienced adoption law attorney. At Greenville Family Law, we have helped many families achieve their dream of adopting. Much of the adoption process is about one side getting ready to relinquish a child and another side preparing themselves to receive a child. This part of the process has nothing to do with legal documents or laws. As such, an attorney is not needed. Nonetheless, an experienced adoption attorney can share insight as to what other clients have done to prepare for the addition to their family. Moreover, a seasoned attorney will know how to put you in contact with people who can help you answer the thousands of questions that any adopting parent has.
However, there is a large part of the process that deals with laws, regulations and legally binding agreements. And, an experienced adoption law attorney can help you focus on preparing to become a new parent while the lawyer focuses on the legal stuff.
In explaining our role as attorneys, at Greenville Family Law, we like to compare ourselves to the gynecologist of an expecting mother. The mother does not look to the gynecologist for help in deciding what color to paint the new baby’s room or on how to best explain to their other children about the arrival of a new brother or sister. In fact, there is so much a family who is pregnant does to prepare for their new family addition that has nothing to do with their gynecologist. However, there are so many parts of the pregnancy process that many mothers would not even consider navigating without the experience and expertise of a gynecologist. The same is true for the adoption process.
Beginning the Process of Adoption
At Greenville Family Law, we do not charge a fee to visit or talk to a family who is looking to adopt. Many times, during these visits we meet a family that has thoroughly researched and studied the adoption process. However, we also meet with families who have put very little previous effort before talking to us. It is this second group of people that we make sure to tell that researching adoption is the first step. In other words, the way to becoming pregnant when you are adopting is by researching and reading everything you can about adoption.
An attorney should not be involved in your decision to adopt a young child or an older one. Nor should a lawyer make decisions about ethnicity or sex of the child. However, what a seasoned adoption attorney will do is help you understand the process in light of your adoption decisions.
How Long Will It Take?
One of the ways that an adoption attorney differs from a gynecologist is that it is very difficult to predict when adopting parents will conclude the adoption process. While 40 weeks is the normal gestational period for all human pregnancy, the timeframe for adopting is heavily dependent on a variety of factors. And, to make predicting an adoption timeframe even more difficult, there is no control on some of the factors.
For example, adopting a child from a pregnant mother that you already know has a more certain timeframe than finding a child who is Asian, female and less than two years old. While adopting a beautiful Asian little girl may happen more quickly than adopting the child of a known pregnant woman, the point is that one method is more uncertain than the other when it comes to the timeframe. However, both these adoption scenarios also involve factors that are out of anyone’s control. As such, it becomes very difficult for us even to attempt to predict how long the process will take.
Understanding What the Adoption Process Entails
While we cannot predict how long the adoption process will take, we can inform our clients as to how many steps there are to adopting a child in South Carolina.
While each adoption is different, generally speaking, the first step is commonly referred to as the Home Study step. This is the process by which your family and home are evaluated. The focus of this evaluation is to discover and address any risk factors for future adopted children as well as the family itself. The next step typically involves searching for a child that fits your criteria. Once a child is found, the process moves onto the relinquishment of a child and the subsequent placement of that child into the new home.
After the adopted child is in their new home, there are typically two more steps. First, there is a review of how well the placement is going. There are many ways that different agencies make this determination. Nonetheless, a family adopting a child should expect to have some review after receiving their new family member. The last step in adopting a child pertains to the legal requirements involved in ending the adoption process and beginning the parenting relationship. Naturally, all families begin the parenting process the second their new child is placed in their home. However, there needs to be a legal process by which someone else’s child becomes your child.
Finding the Right Adoption Attorney
In most cases, when a person needs an attorney they are looking for someone who is ready to fight for their cause. Someone that is an attack dog in the court room or known as a no-nonsense, in-your-face lawyer. However, when it comes to an adoption attorney, a family needs someone that is not only experienced, but that has the disposition of a helping friend rather than someone ready to enter the boxing ring. At Greenville Family Law, we do not charge for the initial consultation, so please give our experienced Greenville, SC adoption attorney a call and let us answer your questions and hopefully you will discover that we are the right fit for you.