The Legal Aspects of Adopting a Child
Adopting a child is not an easy task as there are a lot of legal matters involved. Parents who want to adopt a child not only have to wait for a long period of time, but also sign a lot of documentations and get through multiple legal hoops. Of course, all these laws are meant to protect the child, but the process can be very stressful for most people.
The most stressful part of adoption is called home study, which is the visit of an official social worker at the house of prospective parents to assess whether their house is suitable to provide a good homely environment to the child and to brief the family about the changes that would need to be made to take care of the child.
How to Present Your Best Face
Clifford Greenberg, who is a law veteran in New York, suggests that the best way to present yourself in front of social workers is to be yourself, even if that sounds too scary. There are multiple factors that are being assessed by the judge, and if you try too hard, you may come off as being fake which may negatively affect your case.
Is it That Easy?
The home study period can end quickly if you decide to be true to yourself, but there are other legal factors which must be considered when adopting a child. Taking the help of an attorney is necessary in almost every case, and that can cost a person between $2,500 to $4,000, depending upon the attorney that is hired.
This cost usually covers all aspects of adoption, including connecting you to the right adoption agency, arranging for the fingerprints, compiling tax and other records, and engaging the right social worker for home study.
Handling the Emotional Challenges
There is some form of loss that is involved with the procedure of adoption, according to Brett Kimmel, an attorney dealing in family cases. There is already a lot of grief associated with not being able to conceive a child. If the parents are not able to generate the required medical history to fulfill the requirements of the adoption process, that can also cause stressful situations.
Differences in Adopting Locally and Internationally
International adoption has reduced from over 20,000 per year to around 7,000 per year, and this number is constantly dropping. This is because of changing rules, increased costs, and limitations on foreigners who want to adopt children.
International adoption can cost around $50,000 on average, depending on the country that the child is being adopted from. In domestic adoption, the cost can average around $30,000 to $45,000, as parents wish to connect with birth mothers and become part of the process as early as possible. The rules of adoption vary by state, and parents can expect waiting times to as little as two years to at most seven years. Therefore, many parents choose to adopt internationally by paying more, as waiting times can be significantly less than domestic adoption options.
Can the Birth Mother Change Her Mind?
The short answer to that question is yes, she can change her mind. However, in the state of New York, that option is not available once the birth mother signs on the surrender form, which is her explicitly giving up her right on the child. The purpose of the surrender form is to protect the adoptive parents against the change of heart, and it is not unfair to the birth mother as she is given three months on average before she must sign the form.
It is Cheaper to Adopt Through Foster-Care Agencies
Brian Esser, a New York-based attorney, highlights the fact that adoption does not necessarily have to be a high-cost process. Instead, parents wishing to adopt can go for foster-care agencies, if, of course, adopting an older child is not an issue. This type of adoption is not preferred by many people, as the children in foster homes find it difficult to adjust to a home environment for a little while, but they do adjust eventually and the whole experience becomes as fulfilling as the more expensive options.
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