Of all the acts of love, almost nothing is better than adoption. A family becomes whole through adoption, and it is AWESOME. It can also be a little overwhelming, because there are a lot of hoops to jump through before your family can grow.
If you’re thinking about adopting, and you’re a little nervous about what kinds of responsibilities you’ll face, we can help. We’ve put together a basic adoption primer of sorts, so that you can start the process feeling confident. And if you have other questions along the way – or if you’re getting a little tired of unasked-for life advice from a bunch of well-meaning friends and family who don’t know jack squat about adoption, our family law attorneys are just a phone call away.
What kind of adoption do I want?
There are two basic types of adoption: adopting someone you’re related to, called “kinship” adoption, or adopting someone you’re not related to. (These are the types of adoptions we handle the most.)
Kinship adoptions often include spouses who wish to adopt the child/children of the person they marry, or grandparents and relatives who adopt other family members. Non-kinship adoptions can involve fostering and adopting a child, or working with a surrogate. They can even involve adopting a child from a foreign country. Mostly, adoptions are handled through special agencies run by the state or by private groups.
How many laws do I need to learn?
You’ll have to abide by the laws, of course, but you don’t have to become experts in the East Tennessee private adoption process. That’s what your lawyer is for. What you do need to know is that you’ll have to go through a home study, even if you’ve been a foster parent for years. And that means you have to deal with the Department of Child Services, or DCS.
Should I be scared about the home study?
No! Look – we know that DCS has a bit of a reputation because when you see that name in court orders and in the paper, it’s usually associated with someone losing their kids. And so a lot of folks get a little nervous about DCS home studies – but you don’t have to be nervous. DCS wants kids to have good homes; they’re hopeful that you’re going to be a good fit, you know?
All you have to do is be honest about your life, and your reasons for wanting to adopt. Government moves slowly, so you might feel frustrated at times, but remember that they’re on the kids’ side.
As a Knoxville adoption attorney, what will you do to help me?
A lot of folks think that they can go through the process on their own, and technically, they’re right: you’re not legally required to hire a lawyer. But having a lawyer is smart because he or she can make sure that you don’t miss anything, or make any mistakes. If DCS is there to protect the children, an adoption lawyer is there to protect you. Your attorney can help you:
- When consent of the biological parents is required
- When parental rights may be terminated due to abuse or neglect of a child
- With any documentation required by the agency agencies who place children for adoption
- With the formal petition for approval to adopt a child
- With issues of support, inheritance, and care
- By outlining practical issues apply depending on the age of the child who is being adopted, their nationality, any developmental issues, and other factors
- Understand and plan for the financial costs
Adopting a child brings multiply joys. Parents have the joy of bringing a child into their lives to love, nurture, and guide. The child has the joy and security of parents who will care for him/her. There are a lot of really great reasons to adopt, and we want to help you with your next steps. To learn more about how the adoption process works and to speak with a Knoxville adoption lawyer who understands the Tennessee adoption process, call LaFevor & Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation today.
Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.