Which Kind Of Adoption Do I Need?

Which Kind Of Adoption Do I Need?

Starting the adoption process begins with understanding the requirements to adopt. So, what are the requirements to adopt in Utah?

Adoption requirements in Utah include being 18 years of age or older. One may be married, single, or divorced, and a home study and in-home inspection will be conducted. Proper housing and personal space for the adopted child are required, as well as a background check for all adults in the home. Starting the adoption process in Utah begins with making the decision to adopt, understanding your options, and selecting your chosen adoption liaison to help you.

You must meet the requirements, which most often mandates a background check as well as attending adoption classes. You may also want to take a look at names and contact information for adoption agencies in your area.
Assuming you have already decided you want to adopt, now it is time to get that ball rolling! Are you excited? So are we! Adoption is what we are all about, and we would love to help you on your journey. The adoption process involves many things to consider. Read on to learn more about the adoption process in Utah, as well as some things to consider along the way.

If by chance it’s a stepchild you wish to adopt, you will want to read our article about adopting your stepchild in Utah. The process for adopting a stepchild is much less complicated than traditional adoption.

Adoption Requirements in Utah

• 18 years of age or older.
• Be at least 10 years older than the child.
• Child 12 years or older must consent.
• Must pass a home study.
• Adequate space for a child.
• Must be healthy enough to raise a child.

The requirements to adopt a child vary by state. We have listed a few of the requirements to adopt a child in Utah below. For a full list of requirements, you will want to contact the state of Utah directly.

Considering Adoption

Perhaps you have been unsuccessful with fertility treatments and cannot conceive naturally. Maybe you have an already-established family with biological children, yet you wish to extend your family. Or perhaps there are stepchildren involved that you wish to adopt as your own. Regardless of the reason you decide to adopt, there are so many things to consider.

Today, many single parents choose to adopt without a partner. Let’s face it; there are times when we have not met that perfect match, yet our biological clock is still ticking.

Or perhaps you prefer flying solo and do not feel you need a partner to raise a happy, healthy child. In today’s world, it is perfectly acceptable to adopt a child without a partner.

How do you feel about adopting a child as a single parent? Have you discussed your decision with your extended family? Are they just as excited as you, or are they a bit apprehensive about you adopting by yourself?

Making peace with your decision will help you focus on your journey toward adopting your child. One of the most difficult things to deal with is sharing your excitement with your extended family, only to be met with mixed responses that are not as favorable as you would have hoped. Remember though, that you have had much more time reaching your decision to adopt. Unless you have shared your day-to-day adoption ventures with your extended family, they may need some time to digest your adoption decision. Of course, you can go through the adoption process without family support, but having their support does offer much comfort during this exciting yet sometimes stressful time.
Going through the adoption process and fulfilling the requirements is easier with family by your side. When sharing your adoption decision with your extended family, be mindful that it might take some time for them to get on board with your decision.

Maybe they secretly had hoped to extend their bloodline. Perhaps they are concerned about the race and ethnicity of the child you adopt. They could be wondering about possible behavioral, emotional, and physical issues that can sometimes come with a child from a previously broken, unstable home. The most important thing you can do when sharing your decision to start the adoption process is to listen and validate their feelings. Give them some time to let the adoption news sink in. If telling your extended family in person makes you uncomfortable, one option could be to write a handwritten letter and mail it to them. This is a much more personal touch over and above what can be a cold-feeling email. This allows them to internalize your news, talk amongst themselves, and then circle back around to you after the news has registered.

Child Adoption Options

One may choose to adopt either domestically, internationally, or through the foster care system. You will want to consider your options and decide the route you wish to take.

Domestic Adoption

Just as domestic adoption implies, your child will be US-born. If you are holding out for a newborn, then you will want to follow the domestic adoption route. Although it is not impossible to adopt a newborn by other means, it is more unlikely.

Domestic adoptions can be completed within a few months.

You are apt to receive a more substantial medical and social history of the child you wish to adopt as compared to adopting internationally when medical history may not be known. Most birthmothers will know your first names, and many will have spoken to you on the phone or met you in person before the birth. This helps them get to know you, which builds trust and confidence in choosing you as the adoptive parents for their unborn baby.

Whether you choose to adopt domestically or internationally, neither are more-or-less expensive than the other. Rough estimates are provided in this article, but those numbers vary widely and do not imply what it will cost you to adopt a child. There is no waiting list. You instead will put together a personal profile for the birthmothers to review, and they will determine who will adopt their baby.

Your profile is a visual and written introduction that gives the birthmother a sneak peek into who you are as a family, so she can then have an idea of what it will be like for her unborn child. If you look young and have an active lifestyle, you are more likely to be chosen by a birthmother.

International Adoption

As implied, your adopted child will be internationally born. Choosing an international adoption means adopting an older child, but as young as an infant or toddler is possible.

You will rarely receive family medical history when adopting from another country. Although, you would receive medical information for the child. There is a perceived advantage of being very far removed from the birthparents distance-wise. It is natural to have a secret fear that someday the birth parents and your adopted child will reunite.

Although not impossible, this is more unlikely when adopting internationally. Whether you choose domestic or international, neither are more-or-less expensive than the other. When adopting internationally, the cost of travel is likely to significantly add to the overall costs.

Internationally, the costs of adoption can vary based on which country you adopt from. You will be put on a traditional waiting list, which is very different when adopting a child domestically.

There are age limitations in some countries, which may make you ineligible from being able to adopt. Other factors such as how many times you have been divorced, as well as how long you have been married could affect your chances for international adoption eligibility.

Foster Care Adoption

There are over 100,000 children in the foster care system desperately in need of a forever home. Your chances of adopting a newborn drop significantly when adopting through the foster care system, although it is not unheard of. Foster care provides a safe refuge for children who have been removed from their biological family home due to some sort of trauma they have experienced.

The State in which they reside puts the children in temporary custody, while the biological parents complete individualized requirements to earn back custody of their children.

The ages of foster children available for adoption are between infancy and 21 years of age. The Fostering Connections Act allows states the option to continue providing care for a child up to the age of 21 if they are attending school, working at least 80 hours per month, or suffering a medical hardship.

A bit more than half of all foster children are returned to their biological parents. The children remaining in the foster care system are many times adopted by their relatives or their foster family. Foster care adoption is similar to other types of adoption concerning the paperwork, requirement obligations, etc.

Due to the trauma that all foster care children have been rescued from, it is important to be prepared for and understand the healing process that will follow.

Continued counseling as well as working on personal issues is to be expected.

The cost of foster care adoption is very minimal, if not zero out-of-pocket.

This is another incentive for many adoptive parents to strongly consider adoption through the foster care system. Those wanting to adopt from the foster care system are strongly encouraged to first become foster parents. This is a wonderful way to access the compatibility between yourself and the child you are considering for adoption. Becoming a foster parent prior to adoption reduces the wait time to finalize the adoption process. That is a huge plus and a great incentive to put that foster-care-parent hat on first!

How to Choose an Adoption Agency?

If you have decided to adopt within the Utah, you will want to become familiar with the differences between local state adoption agencies and national adoption agencies. With so many things to consider, it is natural to feel a bit overwhelmed by the entire adoption process. It will all be worth it, though!

National Adoption Agency

A national adoption agency represents all 50 states with offices all over the country and tends to be very large. Adoption costs tend to be more expensive due to their overhead of having employees spread out all over the Utah, which differs from local state agencies with fewer employees.

You may be asked to satisfy more requirements due to other state adoption laws. It all depends on the state in which you are adopting in. There is naturally a larger selection of children to choose from with a national agency, as well as shorter wait times.

Local Adoption Agency

Local adoption agencies are smaller than national agencies, as they specialize in just one particular state. Many local agencies can still assist in finding children from all across the US and are not necessarily limited to selecting a child only from within their state.

These agencies are less expensive than a national agency, as their employee base is smaller.

You are apt to receive more personalized, face-to-face attention than you would a national agency.

Local agencies are overseen by the state, which in turn means they have more accountability than other types of adoption agencies.

Adoption Facilitators

Adoption facilitators are independent businesses specializing in matching adoptive parents with birth parents. They are basically like a liaison between the two parties involved.

These facilitators are not licensed adoption agencies. Facilitators arrange contact between the birth parent and the prospective adoptive parent. They are prohibited from using a photo listing to advertise children for placement.

Adoption Wait Times

For the future adopter, the wait can be the hardest part of the entire adoption process. There are some things you can do to distract yourself during this waiting process.

Maintaining a positive attitude is by far the best advice I can offer you. Overthinking during this time of wait can cause future adoptive parents to exacerbate their fears and doubts, creating a vicious cycle of worry. Constantly thinking about adopting a child can be referred to as adoption obsession. This is very typical of an adoptive parent that has never adopted a child before. With that said, it is not unheard of for adoptive parents who are not new to the process to suffer this same obsession.

Although putting a lot of time and thought into your adoption process venture is healthy and will help you become more educated, you do not want this obsession to get out of control!

You may find it helpful to reach out to other adoptive parents who have experienced the same things that you are going through to share your thoughts, concerns, and excitement.

What a wonderful way to get first-hand input that may hopefully help you along your adoption journey. Find others who have had feelings and experiences similar to your own to talk with. This is especially important if you have decided to adopt as a single parent. There is value in having others to talk to that have gone through or are going through the same experiences. We do not need a partner by our side to raise a happy, healthy child; but a human connection with others you can relate to can be a valuable experience!

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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What Is An Open Adoption?

What Is An Open Adoption?

Adoption is a process by which a child is born to one set of biological parents, and is then raised by different parents. The adoptive parents are the child’s legal parents. But just because the child is being loved and raised by his or her legal parents, should that mean that the biological parents, or birthparents, must forfeit all contact with them?

Many people say no, just because you don’t have the resources to raise a child should not mean that you have to cut that child out of your life completely. Children, too, have a right to know where they came from originally, and to establish relationships with their genetic parents, even if those people aren’t the primary parents.

The resulting custom is called “open adoption.” Open adoption can mean several different things.

The birthparents know who their child’s adoptive parents are, and vice versa. There was a time, not very long ago, when all adoption records were secret, and adoptive parents knew nothing about their child’s birthparents. Birthparents, too, let go of their babies and never saw them again. But adoptive parents need to know things like their child’s medical history, and birthparents need to know their child is well cared for and doing well. There can be contact between birth and adoptive families. Pictures may be exchanged, emails sent, letters written, and gifts given for birthdays and Christmas.

Adopted children may be encouraged to establish independent relationships with their birthparents. Rather than being cut off from their genetic roots, many adopted children are allowed and encouraged to get to know their birthparents. Birthparents may be treated like extended family. Some families invite their children’s birthparents to birthday parties or family dinners. The birthmother or birthfather is as much a part of the child’s life as an uncle or aunt, and is included in a similar fashion.

It avoids long searches for birthparents by adoptees. If an adopted child wants to know his or her birthparents, an open adoption makes that easier; the families already have some kind of contact. They do not have to spend years searching through old files and following rabbit trails. They can simply get their birthparents’ address from their parents or lawyers.

Different families will do open adoption differently. Many families, for example, are not comfortable including birthparents in the family, but are quite glad to send pictures and progress reports to birthparents several times a year. Others, however, feel that a child can never have too much love, and anyone who loves their child should be included in that child’s life. Open adoption often makes it easier for a birthmother to place her baby for adoption. Many know that they aren’t ready to raise a child, but still want to know the child is happy and loved. Open adoption provides them with a means to stay connected, to whatever degree, while still letting their child be raised by a loving family.

The Challenges of Open Adoption

Families who are looking to expand their family through adoption are bound to have many questions. In fact, it’s perfectly normal for any future parent to have questions about parenting, regardless of how they bring their new child into the family. Adoptive parents have even more questions to think about, because not only do they have to worry about raising a child, but also about the process of adoption itself. Often, one of the biggest questions is what the best arrangement with the child’s birth parent should be. Most parents know that they can choose either a private adoption, where the birth parents have no contact with the child, or an open adoption, where the birth parents do remain in contact. Choosing open adoption always leads to more questions as it’s not a black-and-white arrangement. Every family is different and has different needs when it comes to birth parent relationships, and sometimes these needs can change over time.

A Permanent Arrangement

One question that many adoptive parents have is whether an open adoption has to be a permanent arrangement. Most accept that that is the idea situation, but there can be circumstances that might lead adoptive parents to want to change the terms of an open adoption, or cancel contact with the child’s birth parents altogether. So what should adoptive parents do when encountering these situations? Will reducing or cutting off contact be harmful to their child.

In general, consistency is extremely important when it comes to raising children. Children need to know what to expect in order to feel comfortable and secure. Cutting off contact with the child’s birth parents unexpectedly, especially for reasons that are not understandable to the child, can lead to emotional challenges for your child. In an open adoption, when relationship problems arise between you and your child’s birth parents, it’s always best to try to work out your differences first before cutting off contact completely. However, there might be situations where maintaining frequent contact causes your child more harm. This is always a risk with an open adoption. Sometimes, for various reasons, a child is not able to handle a regular relationship with their birth parent. When this happens, you might have to make the decision to reduce contact, or end it altogether for a period of time (assuming you don’t have a legal arrangement that would prevent this).

Doing What Is Best for Your Family

When it comes to open adoption and the relationship your child has with his or her birth parents, there is no one size fits all solution. You have to choose the arrangement that works best for your family, and you might have to adjust that arrangement over time. If you are unsure of how successful your child’s relationship with his birth parents is, just sit down and have a conversation with him. An open adoption is never an easy thing. It’s bound to have its challenges, but with compassion, understanding, and open communication you will be able to successfully navigate through it as a family. Times have changed in the world of adoption. Years ago couples went to their local adoption agency, filled out the paperwork and waited for their newborn. Today’s adoptions are far more involved, expensive, and difficult to negotiate. The whole process can be a scary and daunting proposition. That’s why many couples now turn to an adoption consultant for help and guidance.

Never heard of one? You’re likely familiar with a wedding planner who coordinates all the details involved in putting together a wedding. In a similar way, an adoption consultant serves as an advocate for adoptive parents. Consultants help the pre-adoptive parents navigate the maze, create a profile, and connect with the best agencies and attorneys for them. With a consultant, your adoption will most likely go quicker and be safer. Chances are you’ll also save money, have less stress, and probably sleep better at night.

Just starting to consider adoption? This may be the best time to get involved with a consultant. The first step in approaching an adoption is a thorough and honest look at what’s involved and an assessment of whether adoption is a good decision for your family. Before you start the process, you need to know what you’re getting into, and have realistic expectations.

If you decide adoption is right for your family, there are a lot of decisions you need to make. Would you prefer a domestic or international adoption? Will it be an open adoption, closed, or somewhere in between? Do you want a newborn, or would you consider adopting an older child? There are pros and cons to each type of adoption and while some families are very comfortable with a fully open adoption or an older child, others prefer raising a newborn with less of a connection with the birth family.

Once you’ve narrowed the type of adoption you want, the journey truly begins. An adoption consultant can help you get started and work with you to put together a customized plan to help you through the process. You’ll learn about procedures, home studies, legal issues and the various levels of openness. A consultant can help you prepare for your interaction with birth parents and various adoption professionals and will work with you to put together a prospective parent profile. A great profile can make all the difference in how fast you’re selected by a birth mother.

Many couples pursue adoption after years of grueling infertility treatments that can leave them feeling frustrated and powerless. Those same feelings are often carried over into the adoption journey. Adoption is a whole new area that can seem overwhelming and even more uncontrollable than infertility treatments. A good adoption consultant can help prospective parents exert significant control over the domestic adoption process, especially the amount of time the entire process takes. Throughout the journey, a consultant will be looking out for your best interests. Unfortunately, some couples are so desperate for a child they’re seduced by less-than reputable people or are pressured into accepting a situation that’s not right for their family. An adoption consultant will be supportive and will remind you that you’re not looking for any birth mother, you’re looking for the right birth mother. She and your future child are out there and a consultant can help you find each other.

Closed Adoption – Another Option

Adoption is an old tradition in the United States, and like many old traditions, it has undergone serious changes throughout its existence. Public opinion about adoption has changed over time, as has cultural acceptance and its overall popularity. Not only have that, but the terms of adoption changed as well. In this day of technology and advanced communications, adoptions which allow the children to know who their parents were are more common. However, closed adoptions, in which the children never learn the identity of their biological parents, are still available.
Such adoptions were quite common in the past, reaching the height of their popularity just after World War 2. The idea is that when a young child is put up for adoption, the record of the birth parents is sealed, and the birth father is often not recorded at all. This effectively removes any chance for the adopted child to find his or her biological parents later in life. Naturally, because the closed adoption relies on the child having no idea who his or her parents are, it is only practical in very young children. The perceived advantages of this type of confidential process are that children grow up feeling an actual connection to their adoptive parents, and know no other life. Some parents feel that this is a more nurturing, more caring relationship to have with their adopted children, and that it allows them to have the same relationship with these children that they have with any biological children they might have.

However, this style of adoption also poses a fair number of concerns in the light of our modern society. Beyond the problem that older children cannot be adopted in this manner, adoptive parents with no knowledge of their children’s parental background are not able to make predictions about illnesses or other medical issues the children may have inherited from their biological parents. Additionally, many children who were adopted in closed adoptions find that they want to find their biological parents later in life, and have to go through a long search process to find them. Many see open adoptions as a more practical method in today’s world, and some critics of the confidential system even go so far as to say that making a child’s birth parents literally a state secret is a violation of human rights.

Here Is How Open Adoption Works:
1. Finding an Open Adoption Opportunity
A birth mother begins thinking about her “adoption plan,” usually with the assistance of an adoption professional and sometimes a friend or family member, and decides she wants to pursue an open adoption with the adoptive family she ultimately chooses. An adoptive family decides they too want to pursue an open adoption with the birth parents because of the many benefits of open adoption. The two parties then find each other either independently or through an adoption professional and decide to pursue the same open adoption plan together, including the types and amount of contact they are interested in sharing.

2. Sharing Pre-Placement Contact in an Open Adoption
If the birth mother and adoptive family were matched through an adoption professional, a social worker will likely introduce both parties to one another and set up a conference call or meeting, depending on how quickly both parties want the openness in their relationship to occur. If they find each other independently, they will likely begin meetings or phone calls with each other immediately. Emails, phone calls and even pre-placement visits are all common during this stage of the open adoption process. As the birth mother’s due date draws closer, contact may increase or decrease – it all depends on how much contact she wants to engage in during this time.

3. Interacting at the Hospital in an Open Adoption
The birth mother will likely have formed an “adoption hospital plan” with the help of her social worker that tells the family and the hospital staff her wishes during labor and delivery. In an open adoption, it is likely the birth mother will want the adoptive family to be a part of most of the events at the hospital. This may include being in the delivery room, being the first person to hold the baby, and more. Again, it all depends on what the birth mother feels is right in her situation.

4. Sharing Post-Placement Contact in an Open Adoption
Once placement of the baby occurs, it is common for the first couple of weeks or months to be limited on contact. It is an emotional time for everyone involved, and sometimes both parties need a little time before they reengage. This is one reason why emails are so popular, as they are a simple and convenient way of checking in with one another. Over the following months, contact will begin to increase, including more emails, pictures and perhaps even phone calls. Then at some point their first post-placement visit will occur, perhaps around a holiday or the child’s first birthday. The open adoption process is never truly complete, just as relationships also grow and change over time. While fully open adoptions like this one are not usually the norm, the ones who do participate in these relationships receive many invaluable benefits, as well as more family members! However, open adoptions are not for everyone. Both prospective birth parents and adoptive families should understand how open adoption works before committing to one.

Pros of Open Adoption

Birth Mothers

For some birth mothers, they are only able to pursue an adoption plan if they can maintain a relationship with their child. Open adoption allows them this opportunity. However they envision their future relationship with their child can become a reality simply by selecting a family open to that amount of contact. By choosing a fully open adoption, a birth mother can have a relationship with her child, without the mediation of an adoption professional, but still under the guidelines agreed to before the match with the family was made. Her relationship with the adoptive family can also grow naturally, and can increase or decrease in contact over the years, based on her comfort level.
Adoptive Families

Some adoptive families believe that open adoption is much more of an advantage for the birth parents and wonder, “What benefits do we get out of open adoption?” Well, a lot actually! Families accepting of open adoption usually will have an easier time finding an adoption situation because they will be eligible for women seeking an open adoption. Conversely, families only interested in a closed adoption will only be matched with birth mothers who are also seeking a closed adoption.

Many adoption professionals have seen a trend that open adoption relationships have a better chance of ending in a successful adoption than those in a closed adoption. The reason for this could be because a birth mother who chooses a closed adoption never truly gets to know the adoptive family, cannot envision what life would be like being raised in their family, and then decides not to go through with it. Instead, a birth mother that gets to know the adoptive family, can see her child growing up in their home, and can maintain a relationship with them, has a greater chance of committing to her adoption plan. Finally, something that is commonly overlooked is the fact that open adoption allows the adoptive family to stay current on the birth mother’s and her family’s medical histories. For example, after the adoption the birth mother finds out she has a heart condition – the same heart condition her mother has. This is valuable information for the family to know about their daughter, who may also be susceptible to the same heart condition, and they can prepare accordingly.

Adopted Child

In the past, adopted children who didn’t know their birth parents felt a huge piece of themselves missing, especially when they got older. They would often wonder what their birth parents looked like, what their laughs sounded like, what things they were good at, and more. As open adoption has become more prevalent over the years, more and more children either have some sort of relationship with their birth parents or know enough about them to fill that missing void in their lives. However, in closed adoptions, these voids remain. So this is one of the biggest benefits of all of open adoption, as it gives adopted children answers to some of the tough questions they otherwise would never have known, such as “Why was I placed for adoption?” and “Do my birth parents love me?” Open adoption allows a child to understand his or her adoption story, birth parents’ reasons for choosing adoption, cultural background, and much more than only an adopted child can truly explain.

Cons of Open Adoption

Birth Mothers

Some women decide to pursue an open adoption because they believe having this amount of contact will make dealing with the grief and loss easier. Sometimes, this isn’t always the case, as having contact with the child can actually make moving on more difficult. Furthermore, in most states, post-adoption contact is not legally guaranteed, as most states have not passed post-adoption agreement laws for newborn adoptions. It is up to the birth mother to pursue an adoption with a family she feels will uphold their end of the contact promised to her, and it is up to the adoption professional to ensure the family keeps agreement.

Adoptive Families

Most adoptive families are aware at how an open adoption can improve their wait times, their likelihood of the adoption being successful, and more. However, at the end of the day, some adoptive families are just not comfortable with any feeling of “co-parenting.” While open adoption is never co-parenting, those feelings can still occur during the periodic phone calls or visits while watching their child interact with his or her birth parents. Also, while rare, some birth mothers may request more contact than what was originally agreed upon. If the adoptive parents are not ready to participate in more contact, they may be put in the uncomfortable position of denying her request.

Adopted Child

Without properly explaining adoption to the child at an early age, and making sure he or she understands the situation, the appearance of his or her birth mother could result in confusion of who his or her “real” parents are. For an open adoption to work, the adoptive family must educate themselves on how best to teach their child about his or her adoption.

Furthermore, at some age, a child may decide he isn’t interested in seeing his birth parents any more, again putting the adoptive family in an uncomfortable position. In these scenarios, moving their relationship toward a semi-open adoption would be recommended.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Is Adopting A Utah Child Easier Than International Adoption?

How Long Does The Adoption Process Take?

Adoption is a major life-changing event in which you welcome a new member to your family. And while the financial and legal responsibilities of parenthood end when the child reaches the age of majority (typically 18), adoptive families are a lifetime commitment. Therefore, it’s important to do your research before you start the adoption process.
There are several different types of adoption or providing foster care before adoption, which you may want to consider as you think about growing your family.

Adopting Through an Agency

Adoption agencies can be a public agency or a private agency regulated by the state and licensed to place children with prospective adoptive parents. Public adoption agencies typically handle children who are wards of the state, often because they’ve been abandoned, orphaned or abused, or are older children.

Private adoption agencies are often run by charities and social service organizations and typically place children who have been brought to the agency by parents or expectant parents seeking to give their child up for adoption.

Adopting Independently

One of the other types of adoption involves a direct arrangement between birth mother (and sometimes the birth father) and adoptive parents, sometimes using a go-between such as a doctor or member of the clergy. Because of the delicate nature of independent adoption, it’s probably a good idea for the adoptive parents to hire an attorney to handle the paperwork. Not all states allow independent adoptions, and many states regulate them extensively, so check your state’s laws before exploring this option. One variety of independent adoption is often referred to as “open adoption,” where the biological parents maintain some form of limited contact even after adoption, though all parental rights stay with the adoptive parents.

Adopting Through Identification

Identified adoptions are a combination of independent and agency adoptions. Usually, the adoptive parents find a mother wanting to put a child up for adoption, and then both sets of parents ask an adoption agency to control the rest of the process. This process often includes a home study, questions, interviews, and careful analysis.
The advantage over a straight agency adoption is there is no “waitlist” for the adoptive parents. Prospective parents can also have greater control over choosing the child they adopt and still benefit from the counseling and professional services afforded by an agency.

Adopting Internationally

Adopting internationally is the most complicated of all the different types of adoption. To adopt a child who is a citizen of a foreign country, you must satisfy both the laws of the state you live in as well as the laws of the host country. Parents must also obtain an immigrant visa for the child through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If approved, the child will be granted U.S. citizenship automatically upon entering the U.S.
Note also that, as of April 1, 2008, international adoptions are regulated through the Hague Adoption Convention. The treaty governs U.S. federal government oversight of domestic adoption agencies and international adoption policies. This oversight is intended to protect children, biological parents and adoptive parents from unethical adoption practices, including international child abductions and adoption scams.

Agencies dealing in international adoption must now be certified by the State Department and adopting parents must prove to the State Department a variety of things:
• the foreign adoption agency has provided counseling for biological parents,
• the foreign adoption agency has secured legal consent from the biological parents,
• the foreign adoption agency has considered local placement of the child,
• and the child has been properly cleared for adoption in the U.S.

You could try to adopt internationally without an agency, but because of the complexity of the process, most adoptive parents choose to use the services of a U.S. agency specializing in international adoptions.

Adopt as Stepparents

A stepparent adoption occurs when a parent’s new spouse adopts the parent’s child from a different partner. The process is simple compared to traditional adoption if the birth parents both consent. If one of the parents does not consent or cannot be found, however, then an attorney will need to be involved and there is a significant amount of time and paperwork involved.

Relative Adoptions

Relative, or kinship adoptions as they are known in some states, occur when a child’s relative steps forward to adopt the child. Typical candidates for this type of adoption are grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the typical situations for relative adoptions involve the death or incapacitation of the birth parents. The law favors relatives raising children, and accordingly the process is significantly easier than other types of adoption.

Adult Adoptions

Adult adoptions are rare, but most states provide for them. Typically, there must be at least a ten year difference between the age of the parent and that of the adult being adopted, and the parties must show why it’s in the best interest of the parties to allow the adoption. The primary reason why people undergo an adult adoption is to secure inheritance rights for people they have grown fond, especially when they don’t have children of their own. Most states prohibit adult adoptions when caregivers are involved, in order to prevent caregivers from taking advantage of their elderly patients.

Not Sure How to Choose Between the Different Types of Adoption? Talk to an Attorney

Every family’s needs are different and there are a variety of reasons for choosing the different adoption methods available under the law. By contacting an experienced adoption lawyer, you can find out which type of adoption will work best for you, and get legal help through the adoption process.

What Should I Consider When Choosing My Options?

The first questions relate to the child’s age. How important is it to you to adopt a newborn? Are you comfortable adopting a child who has been in group care for the first few months/years of his or her life? Domestic adoption is the only way to adopt a newborn. If you choose to adopt internationally, it means adopting an older infant or toddler.
Secondly is time frame. Although you’re anxious to grow your family, how critical is the speed of the adoption? With domestic adoption, although you do have more control over the time frame than most people think, it is still unpredictable because it depends on when you are chosen by a prospective birthmother and how far along in the pregnancy she is. Nevertheless, depending on the quality of your profile, the visibility of your profile, your openness to different situations and the professionals with whom you work, many domestic adoptions can be completed in only a few months. Alternately, international adoption is a little bit more predictable, although not nearly as predictable as people tend to think. Changes in laws, political and economic climates and even general sentiment towards the U.S. can and do impact timelines — even once you are “in process.”

Another factor to consider is the medical and social history of the birth families. With domestic adoption, often this information is extensive, at least on the birthmother’s side. Take some time to consider the medical and social history of you, your spouse and your families. Think about what that would look like on paper would you select yourselves if the situation were reversed? With international adoption, you have the advantage of medical reports on the child him/herself but rarely any information on family history.

How about the level of openness with which you’d be comfortable? Many pre-adoptive parents choose international adoption because they do not want any contact with the birth family. Most domestic adoptions these days are semi-open, meaning that the birthmother will know your first names. In many cases, all parties have met and/or had phone conversations prior to the birth. After the birth, the adoptive parents send updates and pictures to the agency, which the agency then forwards to the birthmother. Contrary to popular opinion, these updates don’t make the birthmother suddenly want to parent the child. Instead, they help reassure her that she made the right decision, that she is a good person (despite lots of people telling her how selfish she is during the process), the baby is thriving and, therefore, will not grow up to hate her (one of her biggest fears).

Are The Costs The Same?

Next come finances. Neither domestic nor international adoption is necessarily more or less expensive than the other; it all depends on the particular situation. Domestically, one can expect to spend between $20,000 and $35,000. Internationally, costs vary by country and range between $15,000 and $50,000. The total amount spent and when the payments are due are less predictable with domestic adoption than with international. Also, money is at risk in either process domestically via paid birthmother expenses and legal fees in a failed adoption and, internationally, if a country closes or significantly slows down once you’re in the adoption process.

What Should I Know About The Process?

Next let’s discuss the process. International adoption involves a traditional waiting list. Once you are on the list, you wait as you rise to the top. With domestic adoption, you create a “personal profile” shown to prospective birthmothers until one selects you, which can happen at any time. You can increase the chances of getting selected quickly by creating a powerful profile and making sure that it has as much exposure as possible through a carefully selected network of adoption agencies and attorneys. Which route feels more comfortable to you is merely personal preference.

Another key area is concerns about the birthmother. Most people just beginning a domestic adoption have a fear of the birthmother “showing up on their doorstep.” In a closed or semi-open adoption, the birthmother will not know where your doorstep is. Even if she found your doorstep, she would have no legal right to the baby once her rights are properly terminated. Most importantly, most birthmothers are at peace with their decision and have no intention of disrupting the baby’s life. Nevertheless, this fear often drives couples towards international adoption where these concerns, for the most part, do not exist.

Finally, demographics. How old are you? What is your marital status? Most people who adopt are between 30 and 45. Domestically, how young you look and how active you are is usually more important to the birthmother than your actual age. Internationally, your age may limit the countries for which you are eligible. Many countries have outright age limits and some limit the age difference that can exist between adopter and adoptee, thereby allowing older parents to adopt only older children. Additionally, some countries’ eligibility requirements specify that the adoptive parents have been married for a certain amount of time or limit the number of prior divorces allowed.

There are many important considerations that go into this decision. Being completely honest with yourself and your partner is critical. Make sure you consider all the implications of the path you choose. Be careful not to let fear and myths lead you astray. Get the facts and, based on those, make the decision that’s right for you, your family, and your forever child.

Adoption-Friendly States and Their Procedures

When couples are looking to expand their family, adoption is a giving and beautiful option. But many couples have secreted fears about adoption. Their concerns can range from the uncertainty of finding the right birth mother, to hidden medical issues, to the ever-looming possibility that a biological parent could change their mind before the adoption is finalized. In addition to the practical and emotional concerns, new parents may also be leery of the process of adoption.

Initially it is important for couples to understand the basic process of adopting a child:
• The first step is to contact an agency or an attorney who specializes in adoption. It is through the expertise of those in the community who facilitate adoptions on a regular basis that many questions can be answered and many fears can be put to rest.

• Second, the couple needs to be ready to undergo the scrutiny of the adoption home study. It will be necessary for the adopting couple to meet with a social worker on several occasions in order for a thorough investigation to be completed before an adoption can be approved.

• Third, the adopting family must wait for the right prospective birth mother to come forward, or to find the right child via the social services system. This step takes time and patience and is imperative so that the most compatible match can be made for both the child and the adoptive parents.

• Once the match has been made, the fourth step is to have the consent of all of the parties involved, including the biological parents, the adoptive parents, and if the child is old enough, the desires and consent of the child being adopted.

• The fifth step is to begin the process of filing the adoption paperwork with the court. Once the birth mother and father have consented to the adoption and the transition of custody is imminent, it is time for the court to become involved.

• After the court has reviewed the request for adoption, the court will issue a signed custody order. This order confirms that the Judge is in agreement with all of the submitted paperwork and is ready to approve the adoption.

• Once custody has been transferred to the adoptive parents, social services will proceed with in-home follow up visits to ensure that the adjustment of both the child and the adoptive parents is going smoothly. If any issues present themselves, the social worker will be readily able to advise the family or to set up additional services as needed.

• If all goes well and the family and the new child are thriving, a court date will be set to finalize the adoption.

Most state laws and regulations are designed to facilitate a smooth and easy transition for the successful placement of children in need of homes. However, each state’s regulations do vary. Some states require more scrutiny of the adoptive parents than others. Other states give the birth mother and/or father more time to change their mind prior to the adoption becoming final.

For example, some of the friendliest adoptive states seem to be:
• Alabama
• Arizona
• Arkansas
• Indiana
• Louisiana
• Michigan
• Minnesota
• Nebraska
• New Hampshire
• New Mexico
• Oklahoma
• Oregon
• Tennessee
• Utah

Some of the less adoption-friendly states include California, Maine, Maryland, Ohio and Rhode Island. However, it is absolutely still possible to adopt in these states, and there are many local and national adoption professionals who can assist families in navigating the process and their state’s laws. It is highly advised that each couple take the time to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the particular rules and regulations of the state in which they will adopt their new child.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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How Long Does The Adoption Process Take?

adoption process in utah

The adoption process can take an incredibly long time, which can cause serious strain and stress for some families. Usually, the time it takes to adopt a baby can be anywhere from several months to a year or more, and the wait time can be even longer to adopt a child through international adoptions. Though long wait times may be necessary for some adoptions, many families wish to find ways to reduce these long waits in any way that they can. There are a wide variety of reasons why wait times may vary from adoption to adoption, and this includes the personal preferences of the Adopting Parents. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize adoption wait times that can help you adopt a child grow your family sooner rather than later. Other reasons may include financial funds. Typically, if allowed by state law, Birth Mothers require financial assistance during their adoption journey. Having funds set aside beforehand, as allowed by state law, for these expenses may help speed up the preparedness of the Adoptive Family.

Why Adoption can Take so Long

In both domestic and international adoptions, average wait times for adopting a child can range from a few months to over years. A lot goes into adoption, and there are often very stringent requirements set in place by the government, as well as adoption agencies and professionals, in different states and countries. Your adoption wait time could be lower or higher depending upon where you adopt from, and the type of adoption you opt for can play a part in the wait time as well. For example, if you decide to adopt a child from outside of the country, you will have to follow not only your home country’s adoption rules, but also the rules of adoption in your child’s home country. With the combination or requirements, rules, and stipulations, waiting for your child can become a long process.

What you can do to reduce the Wait Time

There may be certain factors that help minimize adoption wait times. Your adoption preferences will play a major factor in your wait time. The stricter your adoption plan and preferences, the longer the wait time can be. Some families find that having a rigid adoption plan is best for ensuring that everything runs smoothly when trying to adopt a baby. Such rigid plans, however, leave little room for any changes that can actually bring your child to you sooner. The best thing to do if you want a shorter wait to is to have plenty of flexibility in both your plan and the various factors associated with adoption. These include:

• Race: As Adopting Parents, you may have preferences in the race/ethnicity of the child you would like to adopt. When you are open to adopting a child of a different race/ethnicity, your profiles will be seen by more Birth Parents, which may help in minimizing your wait time.

• Gender: Those who approach adoption with a certain child in mind may think they’ll make their adoption process go faster, but it can actually slow things down. Wanting a boy or a girl can affect wait times depending upon age, availability, health, and other factors depending upon where the child is being adopted from.

• Budget: Adoption can get pricey, and though there are grants and loans available for adoptive families, sometimes the budget just isn’t what it needs to be. Your budget can get a major say in when you adopt, who you adopt, and how you adopt, so it’s important to be as financially prepared as possible. This means being open to taking out loans and applying for grants, as well as other financial resources and avenues.

• Contact with Birth Parents: Whether you choose an open or closed adoption can impact your wait time as well. It is difficult to say which choice is shorter, as each come with their own advantages and disadvantages. This factor relies heavily on the child that is placed with you and the relationship you hold with the Birth Parents. Today, most adoptions are open or semi open in which the Birth Mother may receive photos and/or update about the child, and, in some cases, may even visit.

While adoption wait times can be long, you don’t have to suffer and wait forever. Try to be open, flexible, and ready for anything when looking to minimize wait times. By doing so, you can find ways to be more open to the many diverse options. Sometimes, the wait time can be dramatically affected by your own personal desires and wants in your adoption plan. Take a look and reevaluate what is important to you in your adoption preferences and talk with your adoption professional for guidance. It may be that the perfect child for your family is one that you never expected. In every case, any child is a miracle of life and a blessing, and he/she will certainly find a home in your arms if you surround it with love.

Things You Need to Know Before Starting the Adoption Process

Even though our hearts were broke open initially, in the end, faith and adoption brought us our Noah. If you’re considering adoption, here is what I think you should know.

1. Be patient
This was probably the hardest part for me. I’m normally not a patient person, and diving into unknown territory where I had little control was daunting, to say the least. The waiting and the uncertainty were challenging for both of us, and there were so many days I just wanted to quit. It’s not easy staying patient through a process like this, but it is something you have to learn to be. There is a lot of back and forth with lawyers, courts, agencies, birth parents…and with all of that, comes a lot of waiting.

2. Decide on an agency or lawyer
Adopting through a lawyer is different than with an agency. When we made the decision to adopt through a lawyer, we did it because we felt agencies had too many rules. One agency we looked at had a requirement where we would have to meet with the birth parents two times per year. We were more interested in a semi-open adoption, so we decided to go through a lawyer. We found that adopting through a lawyer offered us more privacy in the whole process, which felt really right for us. Everyone’s needs and wants are different. Be sure to research which route makes sense for you.

3. Decide on a closed or open adoption
This is something you really need to understand before moving forward. Make sure you are clear on what an open adoption means and if you are willing to work for that for you and your family. Ask yourself: do I want to have an ongoing relationship with the birthparents despite their circumstances? Does it feel important to us to maintain this relationship? Is this something we are willing to commit to? Whichever way you decide to go is up to you, but a commitment is a commitment and is often hard to change retroactively. Being clear on what you’d like your path to look like going forward can help prevent any future issues regarding visits or involvement.

4. Prepare your paperwork
I can’t stress this part enough: if you want the process to move as fast and smooth as possible, then make sure your paperwork is in order. If you know the forms that your agency or lawyer require, make sure you get those filled out as soon as you can. This way, you can have things ready as they are requested. We were almost always ahead of our game when it came to paperwork. My husband was always very diligent in filing everything out, and I was diligent about handing it all in on time. I honestly feel that our adoption process would’ve dragged out longer if we weren’t as quick with delivering the needed documentation. So, if you can get it, do it ASAP.

5. Talk to other adoptive parents
One of the best things we did was talk to other adoptive parents about their decisions and experiences. Doing this really gave us a good idea of the whole process—the good and the potentially tough. You can ask your lawyer or agency if you can talk to any adoptive parents they’ve worked with. Many are open to speaking with potential adoptive parents to share experiences.

6. Get your finances in order
Adoption can be very expensive, so it’s important to figure out how you’ll pay for it so that you don’t run into financial hardship (which could delay the whole process). We managed to save up a good amount by opening an account that was solely for the adoption where we would put a portion of our earnings there during every pay period.

7. Be hopeful
When we have something to look forward to, we feel alive and hopeful. I knew there would be some bumpy roads throughout this journey, so when I was feeling discouraged, I would purchase some books or a stuffed animal as a reminder that our child would be here with us one day. There are several ups and downs with adoption. During the downtimes, I would look at the books or stuffed animals and believe that our child would hold these in his hands one day.

8. Get on the same page with your partner
When you are going through an adoption journey, you will be facing lots of challenges to get to that baby. It’s imperative that both partners are in agreement with the goal, and you will need to lean each other to get there. Thankfully, my husband and I were both on board when it came to adopting. We made a decision to adopt and removed all the other options from the table. So, being on the same page will make you feel good about every step you take toward that child.

9. Consider the child you want
Before even starting, we spoke about what kind of child we wanted: a boy or girl, what ethnic background, and whether we wanted a domestic or overseas adoption. These were all decisions we had to make throughout the process. We decided adopting domestically would be the best fit for us due to travel requirements with overseas adoptions. Many other couples feel a strong pull to adopt internationally. Either way, it’s important to talk through all of this with your partner and then learn about the policies and laws surrounding the different types of adoptions you’re seeking. Familiarizing yourself with foreign laws in the countries you’re interested in adopting from can also make you aware of any potential halts that could arise through the process.

How Long Does It Take To Adopt A Child?

There’s not a single definitive answer. Every adoption process is unique. Your circumstances, the details of the prospective birth mother’s life and the adoption agency you work with will all come together to create your adoption journey.

That may seem vague. Unfortunately, reality is vague in this area. But, there are some things you can look out for that will impact the length of the adoption process. These are factors relating to the adoption agency you work with. While the agency is only one-third of the equation, it can have an outsized impact on how long it takes to adopt a baby, for better or for worse. That’s why one of your biggest reasons for selecting a particular adoption professional should be how long it will take for you to adopt a child with them.

Understanding the Adoption Process

When most people ask how long it takes to adopt a child, they’re thinking of the dreaded “wait time” before your adoption specialist calls to tell you that an adoption opportunity has come up. We’ll get into detail about that in just a minute. First, you should understand that there are other parts of the process that will affect how long it takes. Before you become an “active family” waiting for an adoption opportunity, you will have to complete the home study, create an adoptive family profile and work with your adoption specialist to meet any other requirements. This can take several months or more, depending on the agency you work with and how prepared you are to adopt. Then, after you have accepted an adoption opportunity, there’s still a ways to go. In domestic infant adoptions, you will have to wait until the baby is born, and then another six months (on average) to complete post-placement visits and finalization. The adoption process takes many steps to complete, and the length of the whole thing, from start to finish, can vary. This is important to understand before discussing the most challenging step in the process. Once you become an active family, waiting for that phone call is really hard. You want it to happen as quickly as possible.
Here are the four biggest factors in determining your wait time to be selected by a prospective birth mother:

1. Advertising Budget
As an adoptive family, you will work with an agency to create a family profile that is shown to prospective birth mothers. The time between completing your profile and being selected by a prospective birth mother can be the most challenging wait. The way your agency gets your profile out there, which is called “advertising” in adoption, will affect the length of the adoption process. Advertising is the most important contributing factor in an adoption professional’s average adoption wait times. The more money spent on advertising per adoptive family, the more exposure they will have to prospective birth parents.
Each agency operates differently in this area. Utah Adoptions places a high value on adoption advertising. We are a national adoption agency, which means we work across the country to find the best adoption opportunity for you. This nationwide scope, combined with our large investment in advertising, tends to create a shorter wait time for our adoptive families. Other adoption professionals do not work nearly as hard on their advertising efforts. They do this to cut costs and present families with a lower overall cost of adoption. It’s up to each family to decide if that lower cost is worth a much longer average length of time for the adoption process, which is the most likely result with a low advertising budget.

2. Number of Active Adoptive Families
Another factor in determining how long it takes to adopt a child is the number of active adoptive families compared to the total number of adoptions a professional completes annually.

For example:

Adoption Professional A has 100 active adoptive families and completes 100 adoptions per year, giving them a ratio of 1:1.

Adoption Professional B has 200 active adoptive families and completes 50 adoptions per year, giving them a ratio of 4:1.

Therefore, Adoption Professional A monitors their completed adoptions with the number of adoptive families they let join, while Adoption Professional B lets in four adoptive families for every one adoption they complete.
From this example, Adoption Professional A would be a better choice for a prospective adoptive family concerned about a long average length of adoption process.

3. Your Adoption Plan
The more flexible a family’s adoption plan, the more exposure they will have with expectant mothers, which will help reduce their adoption process length, on average.

For example, if a family is only open to adopting a Caucasian child, their exposure will be limited to a smaller number of prospective birth mothers. If another family is open to children of Caucasian, Caucasian/Hispanic and Hispanic backgrounds, their adoption professional would be able to show their profile to more women looking for an adoptive family. If you have certain preferences in your adoption plan, it is important to discuss these with any adoption professional you are interested in, as these preferences could dramatically affect how long it takes to adopt.

4. Understand You Can Only Do So Much
As stated in the previous three principles, there are many steps an adoptive family can take to help limit how long adoption takes. However, all families must understand that no matter what they do, their wait will still be unpredictable. Birth mothers choose certain adoptive families for numerous reasons, from the way the adoptive father may remind her of her own father, to the fact that the adoptive family already has children and she wants her child to have older siblings. The reasons certain families are chosen ahead of others are unique to each birth mother. Adoptive families should go into the adoption process knowing that their wait is somewhat unpredictable, even when working with an agency that uses best practices to shorten how long it takes to adopt a child. It’s best to spend your time trying not to worry if their wait takes a little longer than expected.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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International Adoption

We talk about adoption at our office alot. We love them. We previously discussed the Adoption Process in Utah and Adoption Costs and now we are talking about International Adoption.

American citizens are seeking to adopt children in increasing numbers. With the reduction in children available for adoption in the United States, more and more U.S. citizens have adopted children from other countries. This year, thousands of children came to the United States from foreign countries, either adopted abroad by U.S. citizens or as potential adoptees.

International adoption is essentially a private legal matter between a private individual (or couple) who wishes to adopt, and a foreign court, which operates under that country’s laws and regulations. U.S. authorities cannot intervene on behalf of prospective parents with the courts in the country where the adoption takes place. However, the Department of State does provide extensive information about the adoption processes in various countries and the U.S. legal requirements to bring a child adopted abroad to the United States.

Adoption Requirements

To complete an international adoption and bring a child to the United States, prospective adoptive parent(s) must fulfill the requirements set by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (BCIS), the foreign country in which the child resides and sometimes the state of residence of the adoptive parent(s). Although procedures and documentary requirements may seem repetitive, you should procure several copies of each document in the event they are needed to meet the requirements of BCIS, the foreign country and your home state. The process is designed to protect the child, the adoptive parent(s) and the birth parent(s).

Applicable Laws

The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the U.S. immigration law regarding the issuance of visas to nationals of other countries, including children adopted abroad or coming to the United States for adoption. The basic statutory provision concerning adopted children is in INA Section 101(b)(1)(E). Which provides immigrant classification for “a child adopted while under the age of sixteen years if the child has been in the legal custody of, and has resided with, the adopting parent or parents for at least two years.” This so-called “two-year provision” is for individuals who are temporarily residing abroad and wish to adopt a child in accordance with the laws of the foreign state where they reside. Most adoptive parents, however, are not able to spend two years abroad living with the child. Therefore, they seek benefits under another provision of the INA, Section 101(b)(1)(F), which grants immigrant classification to orphans who have been adopted or will be adopted by U.S. citizens. Under this section of the law, both the child and the adoptive parents must satisfy a number of requirements established by the INA and the related regulations, but the two-year residency requirement is eliminated. Only after it is demonstrated that both the parents and the child qualify, can the child be issued a visa to travel to the United States.

What the State Department Can Do:

  • Provide information about international adoption in countries around the world
  • Provide general information about U.S. visa requirements for international adoption
  • Make inquiries of the U.S. consular section abroad regarding the status of a specific adoption case and clarify documentation or other requirements
  • Ensure that U.S. citizens are not discriminated against by foreign authorities or courts in accordance with local law on adoptions

What the State Department Cannot Do:

  • Become directly involved in the adoption process in another country
  • Act as an attorney or represent adoptive parents in court
  • Order that an adoption take place or that a visa be issued

 

Free Consultation with Adoption Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about a stepchild adoption or if you need a lawyer in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Step-Parent Adoption Information

Step-Parent Adoption Information

Being a parent is a rewarding, yet difficult job. When you’re a stepparent, the job can present additional challenges as you fill an important niche in a child’s life. Sometimes stepparents chose to further expand their role by adopting their stepchildren, although there are legal hurdles that must be crossed to formalize that relationship. This article will provide answers to some of the most common questions about stepparent adoption, including:

  • The legal requirements needed to complete the process;
  • The duties and rights of the birth parents; and
  • The eligibility of same-sex couple step parents.

I want to adopt my wife’s birth children. How difficult is it to adopt stepchildren?

It is not difficult as other types of child adoption, but there are still steps that must be taken. In most other child adoptions, the court requires home visits and adoption hearings, and there is a long waiting period. Because in a stepparent adoption the parties are related, the courts may remove these requirements in order to speed up the process. The main issue that most stepparents adopting a stepchild face is obtaining consent from the other birth parent.

Do I need consent from the birth parents to adopt my stepchild?

Yes. In all stepparent adoptions, the consent of the other birth parent is required. If that other birth parent’s parental rights have been terminated due to abandonment, neglect, unfitness, or failure to pay child support, however, then that birth parent’s consent is not required.

Getting consent from the other birth parent is often difficult because, in giving consent, that birth parent is giving up all of his or her parental rights. Of course, this means that that birth parent is giving up all parental responsibilities, such as paying child support, as well, so if the birth parent does not have a relationship with the child anyway, the stepparent may have an easier time getting consent. In some cases, the other birth parent may recognize that the stepparent adoption is in the child’s best interest. In those cases, consent is not hard to obtain.

If the other birth parent does not consent, can his or her rights be terminated, anyway?

There are ways to terminate the other birth parent’s parental rights, which would eliminate the requirement of his or her consent. Parental rights can be terminated if you can prove the other parent abandoned the child, is unfit, or is not the biological father (when the other parent is male).

  • How to prove the other birth parent abandoned the child: “Abandonment” means that the parent has not communicated with the child or provided financial support for the child. In most states, if the other birth parent has continuously failed to provide child support or has abandoned the child for a length of time (one year in most states), then his or her parental rights can be terminated.
  • How to show the other birth parent is unfit: If you have cause to show that the other birth parent is unfit, most state courts will conduct a fitness hearing. At this hearing, the court will deem the other birth parent unfit if she or he is abusive, neglectful, fails to visit, has a mental disturbance, is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or is incarcerated. Usually, when only one birth parent is deemed unfit, sole custody will be awarded to the other fit parent. In this case, stepparent adoption is easier, because the consent of the unfit parent is not required.
  • How to show the presumed birth father is not really the father: Showing that the other parent is not legally the father can also terminate that father’s parental rights. Each state has family laws stipulating who the presumed father is in certain situations, so be sure to check your own state’s laws. In ALL states, when a child is born to a married couple, the husband is the presumed father. If a man marries a woman after the birth of the child and the man is named as father on the birth certificate, that man is the presumed father. If you can show that the purported other parent is not the presumed father, you do not need to show unfitness or abandonment. You only need to show that he does not meet your state’s legal definition of “presumed father”. If you can do this, the court may terminate his rights. Thus, you wouldn’t need his consent for stepparent adoption. If the other parent DOES meet one of the requirements of your state’s “presumed father” definition, then either his consent will still be required, or you will need to prove abandonment or unfitness.

My partner and I are a same-sex couple. Can I adopt his child?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergfell v. Hodges ruling overturned all state bans on same-sex marriage, making marriage equality the law of the land. In most cases, same-sex partners can adopt using the stepparent adoption procedures just like opposite-sex married couples can.

Free Consultation with Adoption Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about a stepchild adoption or if you need a lawyer in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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How to Adopt

Once you have decided that you want to adopt a child, figuring out how to begin an adoption can be quite challenging. One of the first steps is to do decide which type of adoption is right for you. Prospective parents may choose to work with an adoption agency or proceed with an “independent” adoption without agency involvement. Also, birth parents and adoptive parents must decide how much contact they want with one another. Additionally, prospective parents must follow state regulations mandating the “home study” process, court approval, and other steps along the way. This sub-section includes articles and resources to help you get started and successfully complete the adoption process.

How to Adopt

Locating a Child to Adopt

Unless you are seeking to adopt a specific child the first question many would-be adoptive parents must face is how to locate a child in need of adoption. Common methods for identifying an adoptable child include the following;

Adoption agencies and government organizations may facilitate adoption and provide other helpful services that ensure that parents are matched with appropriate children in need of adoption. Acting as a foster parent may lead to a successful adoption, though not all foster relationships can result in an adoption.

Surrogacy, contracting to have someone bear a child on your behalf; can help ensure a genetic relationship between the adoptive parent and child, although surrogates are also used in circumstances where the child has no biological relationship with either of the adoptive parents.

Doctors, lawyers, and religious organizations may be aware of children in need of adoption as a result of their contact with the community. Your social network, the internet, and paid advertisement are other methods a parent seeking a child to adopt may publicize their availability and interest.

Home Study in Adoptions

All states require prospective parents to complete a “home study.” This process ensures that adoptive families are prepared and educated sufficiently for the adoption. Home study also provides information about the intending parents to establish that they are capable of providing a healthy environment for an adopted child. Specific requirements for home study vary greatly, but there are some common elements.

Many home studies require prospective parents attend training focused on the challenges raising an adopted child. Interviews are quite common and several of them may be required. Home visits ensure that state licensing standards are met. Health and income statements intend to ensure that a serious health or financial problem will not jeopardize the adopted child. Background checks, autobiographical statements, and references help establish that the person has no record of criminal activity or child abuse and help ensure that prospective parents will provide a home free of abuse or neglect.

Petitioning the Court for an Adoption

Although details may vary greatly, adoptions require a petition to the appropriate court. A petition, at minimum, will typically identify all parties, request the termination of parental rights of the birth parents, if any, and urge that the adoptive parents be granted custody of the child.

Proceedings and petitions may be quite complicated. Rules can vary greatly between jurisdictions and are nearly always fairly complicated. Retaining an agency, attorney, or both may be necessary to assist in representation.

Free Consultation with Adoption Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about a stepchild adoption or if you need a lawyer in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Who Can Adopt in Utah

Welcoming a new child into a family is a joyous and exciting occasion. If individuals or couples choose to expand their families through adoption it also can be a lengthy and confusing process. Before a state will allow an adoption, prospective parents must meet certain requirements. Below is a brief overview explaining who may adopt.

Who Can Adopt in Utah

General Requirements for Adoption

In general, any single adult or a married couple together is eligible to adopt. A stepparent may also adopt the birth child of his or her spouse. Some states allow married persons to adopt alone if they are legally separated from their spouse or if their spouse is legally incompetent. In approximately seventeen states and the District of Columbia, there are no additional conditions specified.

Age Restrictions in Adoption Cases

In approximately six states (Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Washington), a person must be at least eighteen years old to adopt. Three states (Colorado, Delaware, and Oklahoma) and American Samoa set the age at twenty-one and Georgia and Idaho specify age twenty-five. A few states allow minors to adopt under certain circumstances, such as when the minor is the spouse of an adult adoptive parent or when the minor is the unmarried birth parent of the child to be adopted.

Other states have age restrictions that require an adoptive parent to be older than the adopted person by a certain number of years. In approximately six states (California, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Utah) and the Northern Mariana Islands, the adopting parents must be at least ten years older than the person to be adopted. In Puerto Rico, the adopting parent must be at least fourteen years older and in Idaho, the parent must be at least fifteen years older.

Adoption Residency Requirements 

Approximately seventeen states, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands require that petitioners for adoption be state residents. A person’s legal residence is the location of that person’s permanent home or primary home. The required period of residency ranges from sixty days to one year depending on the state. However, there are exceptions to the residency requirement in some states. For example, in South Carolina and Indiana, a nonresident may adopt a child with special needs. In Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Rhode Island, a nonresident may adopt through an agency.

Gay and Lesbian Adoption

The laws in most states are largely silent on the issue of adoption by gay and lesbian individuals. At this time, only two states, Florida and Mississippi, have statutes that explicitly prohibit adoption by homosexuals. Utah bars adoption by persons who are cohabiting but not legally married. The law could be interpreted to prevent gay and lesbian adoptions because Utah same-sex marriage law has been resolved with the recent Supreme Court Case. In Connecticut, the sexual orientation of a prospective adoptive parent may be considered, but state law makes discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal.  Some of the States have not yet resolved their laws, but if you are married; then, you can adopt in Utah.

Can You Adopt a Child? Let an Attorney Help Your Family

Adoption can be a complicated and confusing process, while state laws determine who can (and who cannot) adopt. There may also be certain requirements, such as a home study period, before an adoption is finalized. Don’t go it alone; get the assistance of a family law attorney, who can help clarify the process and its requirements in your state.

Free Consultation with Adoption Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about a adoption or if you need a lawyer in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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So, you have decided that you want to adopt a child. But how do you go about doing it? What is going to happen between you decision to adopt a child and eventually receiving a child of your own? In this article, we are going to look at the adoption process and how you can go about adoption a child.

Thе first thing tо consider оnсе уоu hаvе dесidеd tо аdорt a сhild iѕ whаt tуре оf adoption you wаnt tо gо fоr. Do уоu want a dоmеѕtiс adoption (аdорting a сhild in уоur hоmе country) оr an intеrnаtiоnаl adoption? Dо уоu want tо wоrk through a рrivаtе аdорtiоn аgеnсу, a рubliс аgеnсу or wоrk independently? Take ѕоmе timе to соnѕidеr your vаriоuѕ options аnd dеtеrminе whаt is gоing tо work fоr you.

In thе Unitеd Stаtеѕ, couples who wiѕh tо adopt a child will typically hаvе to сhооѕе whiсh рrосеѕѕ they wоuld likе tо go through to аdорt a nеw mеmbеr оf thеir fаmilу. Sоmе соuрlеѕ mау сhооѕе tо foster thеir children thrоugh аn аgеnсу, whilе оthеrѕ mау choose tо рurѕuе аn indереndеnt аdорtiоn. Agеnсiеѕ thаt ѕресiаlizе in аdорtiоn may be fоѕtеr hоmеѕ, ѕосiаl services, оr welfare homes. Adoption аgеnсiеѕ may аlѕо bе рrivаtе аgеnсiеѕ thаt ѕресiаlizе in helping find hоmеѕ for children in need.

If a соuрlе wiѕhеѕ to pursue аn indереndеnt adoption, they mау dо ѕо in a variety оf wауѕ. They mау choose tо foster a child directly from реорlе who аrе unаblе to tаkе саrе оf thе сhild on their оwn. In mаnу саѕеѕ, individuаlѕ whо аrе lооking tо аdорt a child indереndеntlу may аdорt a child with thе assistance оf an experienced attorney, tо mаkе sure that the process iѕ dоnе in thе соrrесt mаnnеr.

It is imроrtаnt for соuрlеѕ who wish tо fоѕtеr a сhild tо invеѕtigаtе thе lаwѕ rеgаrding fоѕtеring in their state ѕо thаt thеу саn сhооѕе thе bеѕt орtiоn for thеir раrtiсulаr situation. Bу соnѕulting аn experienced аdорtiоn аttоrnеу, you may bе аblе tо ensure thаt thе рrореr рrосеdurеѕ аrе fоllоwеd and that аll rеԛuirеmеntѕ are met before thе child is brought hоmе.

Fоr соuрlеѕ whо are соnѕidеring аdорtiоn, it iѕ essential tо соnѕidеr thе following factors bеfоrе moving along with thе аdорtiоn рrосеѕѕ:

• Adорtiоn lаwѕ in your ѕtаtе

• Intеrnаtiоnаl аdорtiоn lаwѕ (if you are considering аdорting a child frоm аnоthеr соuntrу)

Adoption Costs

• Your аgе, marital ѕtаtuѕ, аnd income

If you dесidе thаt аdорtiоn is the right thing fоr уоu аnd your fаmilу, уоu mау bе аblе tо ensure thаt a child receives the lоvе and саrе thаt he оr ѕhе nееdѕ.

Thе adoption рrосеѕѕ саn be a fаirlу lеngthу рrосеѕѕ, although thе еxасt length оf it will depend on a numbеr of factors. Thе first thing invоlvеd iѕ tо dесidе whаt tуре of аdорtiоn уоu want to gо fоr аnd thеn tо choose аn аdорtiоn agency whiсh provides these services. Onсе уоu have givеn your аррliсаtiоn and fее tо аn аdорtiоn аgеnсу уоu will start the рrосеѕѕ of interviews, hоmе ѕtudiеѕ, аnd сhесkѕ. Legal rеԛuirеmеntѕ will аlѕо vary dереnding оn уоur hоmе country as well аѕ the tуре оf аdорtiоn you are gоing for аnd уоu should discuss these with уоur аdорtiоn agency.

Free Consultation with Utah Adoption Lawyer

If you have a question about a Utah adoption or if you need a lawyer in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews


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Hоw саn аn аdорtiоn аttоrnеу сhаngе уоur lifе? Bу hеlрing уоu bring a new loved one intо your lifе. Hоwеvеr, when аdорting, there аrе оftеn legal hurdles to jumр, fees tо рау, and timе ѕреnt оn waiting lists. Thiѕ iѕ whеrе an adoption attorney саn bе ԛuitе vаluаblе. If уоu have nо еxреriеnсе in adoption, it’s сruсiаl tо соnѕult with аn аttоrnеу.

Your Adoption Options

If you аrе just gеtting started in аdорtiоn, it’s undеrѕtаndаblе to be overwhelmed by уоur options. Thе initial steps саn ѕоmеtimеѕ bе thе hаrdеѕt. You might gо tо аn agency, juѕt сuriоuѕ оn the process, and see thе hugе fееѕ, complicated сritеriа, аnd lоng wаiting list. Yоu have many орtiоnѕ, аnd thе firѕt value оf аn аdорtiоn аttоrnеу is еxрlаining thеm. While agency аdорtiоnѕ can bе соѕtlу аnd timе consuming, уоu may gеt thе сhild уоu really wаnt. On the other hаnd, уоu might сhооѕе tо use independent аdорtiоn, аdорting dirесtlу frоm a birth раrеnt. These are juѕt ѕоmе оf your options, аnd a lаwуеr can hеlр explain thеm.

Gеt the Child Yоu Wаnt

Do уоu want a сhild оf your rасе аnd сulturе? Wоuld уоu bе willing tо аdорt mоrе thаn one child, or a сhild born in аnоthеr соuntrу? Tо get thе сhild you wаnt in your fаmilу, an аdорtiоn attorney is invаluаblе. Thе more specific уоu аrе on thе child уоu wаnt, the mоrе diffiсult. If уоu аrе not too picky аbоut the аgе оf a сhild, frоm whеrе the child соmеѕ from, аnd his оr her еthniс grоuр, you саn save ѕоmе time. In еithеr саѕе, уоu should gеt аn аttоrnеу’ѕ help.

Save Timе

An аdорtiоn lаwуеr саn best explain уоur options, saving you timе. If you аrе аgаinѕt bеing put on a wаiting liѕt for уеаrѕ – whiсh ѕоmеtimеѕ dоеѕ hарреn – уоu might аvоid аn аgеnсу аdорtiоn. Or you mау рrеfеr рауing mоrе and wоrking with a private аgеnсу fоr adoption. Hоwеvеr, if this iѕ уоur firѕt time аdорting, уоu mау not know аbоut аll the lеgаl iѕѕuеѕ whiсh соmе uр in аdорtiоn. Yоu mау nоt be аwаrе оf how аn independent аdорtiоn wоrkѕ, оr how soon уоu саn аdорt a сhild from a fоrеign country. It’ѕ аlѕо likеlу уоu won’t know how tо fill out forms аnd ѕtudу agencies and раrеntѕ. An adoption аttоrnеу iѕ invaluable here.

Sаvе Mоnеу

Yеѕ, a lаwуеr сhаrgеѕ a fee, but with ѕоmе adoption costs еxсееding $40,000, a lаwуеr fее iѕ thе least оf your concerns. You саn ѕаvе timе by wоrking with an аdорtiоn аttоrnеу, but if уоu are raising a family and want tо аdорt, spending tеnѕ of thousands is likely out of thе ԛuеѕtiоn. Thiѕ iѕ whеrе аn attorney саn bеѕt еxрlаin уоur options. Not all аgеnсу аdорtiоnѕ are thаt еxреnѕivе. Alѕо, уоu might choose an older сhild, a pair оf ѕiblingѕ, оr even a child from аnоthеr соuntrу. Indереndеnt adoption can be еxреnѕivе tоо, ѕо wоrking with an аttоrnеу is сruсiаl.

Lеgаl Protection

Finаllу, аdорtiоn is a vеrу complex legally. Fоr оnе, if уоu сhооѕе to uѕе аgеnсу аdорtiоn, they have strict сritеriа on whо саn аdорt. If you are a ѕаmе ѕеx couple, fоr еxаmрlе, уоu might hаvе trouble adopting in ѕоmе states. Whilе the сhild’ѕ protection and rights аrе ѕuрrеmе, thеrе iѕ саuѕе fоr mistakes and misunderstandings. An аdорtiоn attorney саn рrоtесt уоur rightѕ аnd еnѕurе you аrе trеаtеd fаirlу.

Adoption Lawyer

If you are ready for the next step in adoption, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews


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