Ready to Adopt? You’ll Need a Different Kind of Stork. What You Need to Know About Adoption
Many people are turning to adoption to expand their families. At Mazaheri Law Firm, we specialize in family law, and we are experts in Oklahoma adoption. If you’re considering adoption, there are a few things you’ll need to know first.
For the protection of adoptive children, there are requirements that must be met by the prospective parents prior to the adoption taking place. According to OKDHS.gov, adoptive parents can be single or married, but they must meet the following basic requirements:
At least 21 years old and a responsible, mature adult
Willing to share information regarding personal background and lifestyle
Provide proof of marriage and divorce (if applicable)
Have a permanent residence
Undergo a home evaluation
Receive a background check
Have adequate space in the home for each resident and the adoptive child
Why you need an attorney
It’s easy to check off a list to see if you meet the adoption requirements listed above. But what next? Most people aren’t sure. An adoption attorney can inform you of each step you need to take according to Oklahoma adoption laws. An attorney can even help to match you with a child.
Adding another member to the family through adoption is not a fast process. If you fail to submit any legally required paperwork or if the biological parents try to change their minds, the adoption can be pushed back. It's important to have a partner beside you that has the knowledge to see that the adoption run smoothly and is finalized. Adoption should be a beautiful experience, and you need the protection of an attorney to ensure that the same can be said about your experience.
In order to undergo a stepparent adoption, the parental rights of the respective biological parent must first be terminated voluntarily or involuntarily. It is important to consider the effects a stepparent adoption can have on your family such as revocation of child support. Will your adoption agreement involve visitation with the biological parent? The biological grandparents? What happens if you divorce? An attorney can present you with all of the possible situations you should consider, inform you of the benefits, and facilitate the legal requirements for you.
Agencies often have the best interest of the child in mind, but who will have your interest in mind to ensure that you take the proper steps during the process? Most agencies do not offer legal services. All legal paperwork must be submitted to the courts to finalize the adoption. Are you knowledgeable enough to handle it yourself? An attorney can guide you through the legal process to ensure that everything is taken care to finalize the adoption so that you can be worry-free.
Foster Care Adoptions
According to OklahomaFosters.com, there are roughly 9,600 children in state custody in Oklahoma, and over 350 children age out every year. Nearly half of adoptions are by their foster families. Once a connection is made between the child and the foster parents, adoption is often considered.
When you choose to adopt through foster care, the state will provide you funds to hire an attorney to handle the adoption. You will have the option to select an attorney that you believe is the best fit for your family. Your family will be allotted up to $1,200 per child to cover legal representation as long as it is requested prior to the adoption being finalized, which means that you can complete the adoption without any out-of-pocket costs and still have an attorney of your choosing. Your attorney will have your best interest in mind and can inform you of adoption assistance and government benefits programs that you may not otherwise realize are available, such as childcare and other special services. For example, if your foster child has asthma, you could be eligible for monthly medical assistance.
There are many situations that lead to a relative adoption:
The biological parent is unable to care for the child, and the child is placed in foster care. The state will prioritize next of kin in their search for a foster home placement.
The birth parents consent to release their parental rights to a relative.
The birth parents pass away or become incarcerated.
It’s important to consider all of the stipulations that your adoption agreement will entail, especially for relative adoptions because in some cases the biological parents will still be in communication. You want to ensure that you know your rights and that your agreement gives you control in any instance that the biological parents decide to weigh in how the child will be raised. An attorney can help you define the terms and clearly explain your rights. An attorney can also help to revoke the parental rights of the biological parents if they are unfit to care for the child.
Going through an adoption agency or the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is not required. You may choose the route of private adoption which can be facilitated by an attorney who will ensure that you are in compliance with the state adoption laws. Your attorney can also help you to legalize the terms of the adoption arrangement between your family and the birth parents such as visitation rights and more.
International adoptions are often more difficult than domestic adoptions. The legal requirements are more complex because both domestic and international laws must be considered. When it comes to international adoptions, there is a lot of information that you must educate yourself on prior to proceeding. Certain countries have restrictions on parental age, marital status, number of children allowed in the home, and some countries are even closed to international adoption altogether. It is beneficial to have an attorney that can research the laws and navigate the necessary requirements on your behalf.
Mazaheri Law Firm assists with a wide range of adoptions including
Foster care adoptions
Special needs adoptions
Starting the adoption process can be overwhelming and confusing, but we are here to stand by your side. Our knowledge and experience in family law will empower you with the education you need to handle all of the legal requirements, and you can spend your energy focusing on the new member you are planning to bring into your family. If you would like to get the adoption process started or have questions for our attorneys, contact the Mazeheri Law Firm to schedule a consultation at (405) 414-2222.