It’s National Adoption Month. Protect Your Legal Rights and Peace of Mind in the Adoption Process.
The Children’s Bureau launched initiatives around National Adoption Month to call attention to many critical adoption issues. Adoption provides a rewarding way to grow families but can pose unique challenges.
At any given time, there are about 3000 Michigan children awaiting adoption and about 114,000 throughout the United States. There are nearly four times that many in foster care waiting to find out if they will be reunified with their birth parents or be released for adoption. Each year about 200 teenagers “age out” of the foster system by turning 18 without having a permanent adoptive family.
By dedicating November as National Adoption Month, the Bureau also wanted to raise awareness of the need for adoptive families for teens in foster care and emphasize the importance of youth engagement. When foster and adoptive parents provide love, support, and a sense of belonging, they can enrich the lives of everyone involved.
Different Types of Adoptions
Adoption situations can vary tremendously. Because the legal relationships and obligations of a child are involved, however, even an adoption that seems like it should be simple can become quite complex.
For one person to take on parental rights through adoption, another parent must often lose their rights, which can be problematic from a legal perspective. It is not uncommon for a birth parent to experience a last-minute change of heart and refuse to consent to adoption which has been a long time in the planning stages. Proper planning and preparation of all involved can help avoid these scenarios.
A caring and creative attorney can help facilitate adoptions involving:
- Foster to Adopt
- Placement through an international agency
- Placement through a government or private agency
- Direct placement adoptions
- Family member or kinship adoptions
- Adults to secure inheritance rights
Each situation involves its own unique challenges, but an experienced adoption attorney can anticipate and plan to address potential complications to provide for a smooth process.
The Relationships in Foster Care and Adoption
Legal and financial relationships can be very complicated when a child is placed in foster care or put up for adoption. Birth parents may give up their parental rights willingly, or they may want to fight to maintain those rights even though they may lack the ability to provide a safe home. In the meantime, courts usually transfer parental rights to an agency during the process, and the agency may then place the child with foster parents. Questions such as who has legal authority to participate in hearings, make medical or educational decisions, or have authority to travel with the child can become hard to navigate. The priority of parties able to adopt once parental rights are terminated may also be confusing.
Navigating the relationships between all the parties involved can be awkward and difficult. In many cases, adoptive and foster parents find it helpful to work with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and protect their rights. The courts will usually appoint an attorney to represent the child’s interests. Birth parents will often have their own legal counsel, so to be prepared, it is wise for parents providing foster care or hoping to adopt to have the benefit of legal counsel.
Protect Your Legal Rights and Peace of Mind in the Adoption Process
As we focus on the needs of children during National Adoption Month, we need to remember the standard advice for parents traveling with children – in the event of an emergency secure your own oxygen masks first so that you are then able to help the children. In legal matters, make sure you know and have secured your own rights first, so that you are in a position to help the children. In adoption, parents can get so focused on the child that they neglect their own needs. Your needs directly translate to how well-equipped you will be – physically, mentally, financially, and legally – to complete an adoption and provide the best care for the child.
The team at Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC helps parents during the adoption process so that the family is prepared to grow on a solid foundation. For a confidential consultation to learn about the many ways we can assist, contact us today.
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