The definition of the word adopt, as it relates to the adoption of a child, means to choose and bring into a certain relationship, as into one’s own family, or to take into one’s own family by legal process and raise as one’s own child.

Adoption is a decision that many prospective parents consider if they’re experiencing infertility issues, see adoption as an alternative way to grow a family, or if they want to add to their family, help a specific child or for social justice reasons.

There are several types of adoption: Independent, Agency, Open, Waiting and Special Needs, and International. The adoption process is a triad between the prospective parents, the birth parents, and the child, and each has equal partnership in the process. To aid in the successful process of the adoption of a child to love, care for, grow with, guide, protect and provide for requires a thorough understanding of the adoption process in your state, and the legal aid from a proven adoption attorney.

Recommended reading is “ADOPTING IN AMERICA: How To Adopt Within One Year” by adoption attorney Randall Hicks. The book provides a biography and list of qualifications of adoption attorneys in each state (the year they began practicing law, the number of adoptions completed annually, the number of adoptions completed in their career) and provides details on how to find and select an adoption attorney.

Legal adoption is a financial, legal and emotional obligation. Compare costs among well-known adoption attorneys to gauge price norms, and don’t pay inflated up-front fees. In addition, here are five important legal aspects of adoption of which you should be aware.

1. Judge Your Attorney

Educate yourself about the adoption process. Upon meeting an attorney, ask specific questions conversationally to gauge his/her expertise:
• What is the ICPC (Interstate Compact For The Placement Of Children) and how does it work?
• Have you ever been disciplined by the state bar?
• Ask them to explain the basics of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

2. Does The Attorney Assist In Matching With A Birth Mother?

• A good adoption attorney can often introduce prospective parents to a birth mother.
• Established adoption attorneys have working relationships with family planning centers, physicians, hospitals, counselors, and religious organizations.

3.American Academy Of Adoption Attorneys Membership

• This organization is an excellent association of adoption attorneys.
• It has strict membership requirements and is considered a leading resource for adoption attorneys.

4. Ethically Sound And No Disciplinary Actions

• A one-on-one conversation with a prospective attorney allows you to assess his/her ethics, i.e. if they mention short-cuts in the adoption process, have no compassion for the birth parents, or say something that you consider out of line.
• Visit your state bar association’s website to see if an attorney has any disciplinary actions against him or her. Most state bar associations make this information available to the public via their website.

5.Can You Work Together?
• Because adoption is such an emotional process, choose an attorney with a personality that’s right for you. Can they remain calm, handle stress well, clearly explain things and work well with the birth mother?
• You both must work well together.