Jonathan D.Watson               256.599.4113
                       ATTORNEY AT LAW
                                                                                    jwatson @jwatsonlaw.com

                                                                                                                                       123 Lee Street, NE, Ste. A
                                                                                                                                       Decatur, Alabama 35601

Adoption
Introduction

Adoption is a wonderful legal tool.  Families are created, enlarged, and strengthened through the process of adoption.  And, most people are surprised at the variety of situations in which adoption is possible.  If you are considering adopting a child, please explore the information and links on this page.  And, when you decide the time is right to move forward, Jonathan D. Watson is ready to help with your adoption.

Adoption Procedure

Though the initial stages of adoption differ according to the type of adoption, the adoptor's local county probate court is always involved in the final stages.  Typically, a petition, various affidavits, formal consent documents, and other paperwork are required; and, a hearing is almost always held.  This process, from the day the petition is filed until the adoption is final, usually lasts a few months.  More detailed procedure is included below in the descriptions of the various types of adoption.

Types of Adoption and How They Work

Step-Parent Adoption

A new marriage is often accompanied by new children.  And, oftentimes, the new parent desires to make his or her new child, their own.  Though this process can be complicated and even thwarted by the child's other biological parent, there are numerous times when all interested parties agree that a step-parent adoption is a great idea.

Relative Adoption

Normally, the death of the biological parents of a child require that new custodians of the minor child be appointed.  While this process does not require an adoption, family members given custody sometimes decide an adoption is best.  And, death is not the only context in which adoption by a family relative makes sense: abandonment at a young age, physical abuse, long-term incarceration, and chronic drug-abuse.

Third-Party Domestic Adoption

Approximately 18,000 children are adopted each year in the United States.  These domestic adoptions are usually emotional roller-coasters.  And, they can be costly.  Still, many loving couples choose to pursue the adoption of a domestic child.  The duration from start to finish may range from one to three years.  An adoption agency is typically retained to assist in locating a birth-mother and to facilitate the process.  Though the bulk of the adoption attorney's work occurs at the conclusion of the adoption process, Mr. Watson recommends consulting with an attorney early in the process in order to ensure the process is as smooth and efficient as possible.

Intercountry Adoption

Intercountry Adoptions (the adoption of a child from another country) are by far the most complex, expensive, and lengthy of adoptions.  State and federal law and international treaties govern the process.  Oftentimes, an agency or adoption service provider is required to assist with the adoption process.  This provider must be accredited by the U.S. government.  The process generally takes 1 to 4 years and can cost in excess of $30,000.  Mr. Watson recommends discussing intercountry adoption with a family that has been through the process previously in order to understand the nature of the process.  Also, the U.S. Department of State provides in-depth information on the process via their website at 
U.S. Dept. of State | Intercountry Adoption.

The Connection between Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights

The adoption process frequently requires the adoptor terminate the parental rights of the legal parents of the adoptee.  This necessity arises due to the lack or unavailability of the legal parent's consent, which is required to move forward with the adoption.  If the adoptor cannot secure the legal parents' consent, then the law mandates they terminate the legal parents' parental rights.  TPR hearings are often difficult and complicated as they involve permanently ending a parent's right to his or her child. 

Adoption Lawyer Jonathan D. Watson is glad to assist and guide you and your family though the exciting process of adopting a child.  Contact him at (256) 599-4113 or
jwatson@jwatsonlaw.com for immediate answers and assistance.

Adoption Attorney

256.599.4113 or Email




                        
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