One of the more complicated areas in family law is adoption. This legal creation of a relationship between a parent and child who do not have any biological relation makes adoption law a complex subject matter. The primary purpose behind laws governing adoption are to protect the best interests and needs of the children that are involved. The following article covers the basics of what to expect if you or someone you know is considering adoption.
Adoption is the legal process in which an individual, or two individuals living together, take a child or adult in as their own. The adoption process gives potential parents all of the legal rights and responsibilities of natural birth parents. Likewise, their adopted child will inherit all the rights they would have as if they were their natural child. The child would also inherit their last name and receive a new birth certificate, which also gives the parents the ability to change the child’s first name.
There are a number of reasons why people may choose to adopt. Many parents will tell you that there is nothing quite as fulfilling as raising a child. In that case couples that are infertile or unable to have a child of their own may opt for adoption. Others may adopt simply because they can and want to help a child that finds themselves in foster care. No matter how they ended up there, each child comes from a different background with a different story of their own. These are some common reasons why children are put into adoption:
There are two different types of adoption; agency adoptions and private placement adoptions.
In private placement adoptions, consent is required by the child’s birth parents. If this surrender agreement is given in writing in court before a judge, the decision is irrevocable and the birth parent/s cannot reconsider and have the child returned. However, if the consent is given in writing with a notary outside of court, the birth parent/s have up to 45 days to change their mind and cancel the agreement.
In either case, adoptive parents must receive a court certification and complete a home study before taking the child home. When a child is 14 years or older, they must also consent to the adoption.
An Open Adoption is an agreement made between birthparents and adoptive parents that allow the birth parents to stay in contact with the child. If the adoptive parents decide later on to not allow the birth parents see the child, then the birth parents will have to go to court to enforce the agreement. In this situation they will have to provide proof of the open adoption agreement as well as prove how their continued contact would be beneficial to the child.
We all know that legal processes tend to take time, and the adoption process is no exception. From the time you begin the initial application process to the time when you bring a child home, can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Even after that, it may take months before the court finalizes the adoption. This is a brief overview of the steps taken during the adoption process as seen on the NYS Office of Children and Family Services webpage:
As adopted children grow up they sometimes develop interest in their history; like ethnic background, medical history, or who their birth parents were and what they did. There’s a variety of reasons children may seek this information. For some, it helps to find closure for questions that were never answered. There are however laws that control the release of personal information pertaining to adoptions and birth families. This link for the NYS Adoption Information Registry provides further information on reconnecting with birth families. They are the only registry authorized to access sealed information for people born or adopted in New York State.
Adoption law incorporates a lot of moving parts and circumstances that can get very complicated right from the beginning. The only way to successfully complete a legal adoption is with the help of an experienced family attorney. Your attorney will make sure each step of the adoption process is done correctly with all the required documents and certifications. The attorneys at Hall Ricketts Schuller & Gurbacki are experienced family lawyers that provide the special focus and attention to detail that is needed during the adoption process.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form