- Check with your state to make sure adopting through an attorney rather than an agency is allowed. (At last count, it was specifically allowed in all but four states.) Also make sure that your state allows an adoption attorney to match expectant mothers and adoptive parents if this is a service you want.
- Adoption laws differ significantly in each state, so you must use an adoption attorney that is licensed in your state and if the expectant woman lives in another state, your attorney will consult with an adoption lawyer in her state.
- Choose an attorney that specializes in adoption. Family law is not the same as adoption law. Three places to look for an adoption law specialist are:
- If the attorney has a section on their website for expectant parents, read that section to see if the same information is being shared as on the section for adoptive parents. Read over this section with an eye towards whether the woman is being coerced or promised more than is realistic.
- Find out the hourly rate of the attorney and her paralegal. Ask the average cost of adoptions they have finalized in the last two years. See our list of questions to ask before hiring.
- Bring up early any concerns about specifics in your case or in your background (ex. DWI/DUI, # of divorces, health issues, etc.) that you are worried about.
- Ask up front if the expectant woman will be expected to pay for services she received during her pregnancy if she changes her mind and decides to parent.
- If you know you will likely be “high maintenance” and will need a great deal of hand holding, ask if the attorney or her paralegal usually handle these calls. Find out their policy for how soon they return phone calls and emails.
- Expect that you will need to pay not only for your adoption attorney, but also for an attorney to represent the birth parents and/or a counselor to advise her, so there is no conflict of interest.
- If you want an open adoption, ask about the attorney’s attitude on openness and how he facilitates this process.
Add Your Comment
Just last Sunday night, my sister invited me over for dinner where she told me about her plans to adopt a child. It’s been something she has been thinking about for a while now and she wants to hire an adoption lawyer to smoothen the proceedings. I offered to help her with the research and that’s where I found your very interesting post here. I am most fond of where you pointed out to ask up front if the expectant woman will be expected to pay for services she received during her pregnancy if she changes her mind and decides to parent. This is a great point you raised here, where I’m sure those like my sister will be glad to be mindful of. Thank you for this! I’ll send this over to here soon!
Thanks for reading, Dean. Your sister is lucky to have you in her corner. Please do send her our way – we’ll be happy to help her learn what she needs to know to pursue an adoption and build her family.
Our Adoption Comparison Charts are an ongoing work of updates and revamps, but they are full of great resources to help her decide what path is right for her. We also have an active support group where she can learn “real life” experiences and glean from others.
Best wishes to you both!
I love your idea to ask about the average costs for all the adoptions the attorney has worked on in the last two years. Now that I think about it, this would be a really good way to get an accurate idea of what you might have to pay in a variety of circumstances. My sister and her husband want to find a family attorney and discuss adoption soon, so your tips should be helpful to pass along!
I was looking for this information relating to such ten tips choosing an adoption lawyer. You have really eased my work by posting this article, loved your writing skill as well. Please keep sharing more, would love to read more from you!
I like your suggestion to ask about the average cost of adoptions that the attorney has handled recently. My husband and I have been talking about adopting for a while, and we think we’re finally ready to start the process by finding a family law attorney. Asking your suggested questions should make it easier to find the right adoption lawyer to work with!
I had no idea that you could use an adoption attorney rather than just going through an agency. I think this is really interesting that all but four states allow using an adoption attorney. I will have to tell my friends who are wanting to adopt to try using an attorney for the adoption process. Thanks for the information!