Our office handles private, newborn adoptions in which adoptive parents take the baby home directly from the hospital or shortly after birth. The majority of these adoptions are “open adoptions,” which means that the birth parents and adoptive parents know each others’ identities and have some type of contact before and after the birth of the child. The concept of open adoption became accepted more than 25 years ago, and replaced the traditional closed adoption system in which:
• Birth mothers knew little if anything about the family that adopted their children, and did not get to choose the adoptive parents.
• Adoptive parents were left with questions about the child’s birth parents.
• Adopted children grew up wondering who their birth parents were and why they were placed for adoption.
In an open adoption, the birth mother and the adoptive parents choose each other. Some studies suggest that open adoption enhances the feelings of entitlement and connection between the child and the adoptive family when they have been specifically selected by the birth mother to raise the child.
As part of the process of matching you with a birth mother, we will help you compose a letter that will describe you, your life and your hopes for adopting. We will then do outreach on your behalf, in addition to helping you design and implement your own outreach plan. Our firm provides a safe process in which you and a potential birth mother can connect with each other and cultivate a relationship.
Open Adoption is Not Co-Parenting
Once an adoption is final, there is never any question that the adoptive parents are the child’s true and legal parents. At the same time, one of the benefits of open adoption is the ability for the adoptive parents, birth parents and the adopted child to have a communication and contact framework for the period after the placement. There are as many kinds of future contact agreements as there are adoptive families and birth parents. Some birth mothers and adoptive parents prefer minimal contact but want periodic pictures and updates about the baby. At the other end of the spectrum, some adoptive families welcome the birth mother into their lives on an ongoing basis like a member of the extended family. We will help you develop whatever kind of agreement will work best for your individual comfort level and circumstances. These agreements may be filed in court as part of the legal process.
Families of All Kinds
Our law firm is pleased to work with families of all kinds: husband and wife couples, same-sex couples, and single men and women. What’s important is that the adoptive family be able to provide the love, care and support of a child.
Our firm works with adoptive families and birth families of all ethnic origins. Potential adoptive families will need to decide if they are most comfortable adopting a child of their own or a different ethnic background. These choices are individual to each person and each family–there is no “right answer” for everyone.
What are the Next Steps?
Contact us to set up a time to meet with us at our San Francisco or Sonoma County office. You will meet with our adoption attorneys for a two hour consultation. At the consultation we’ll help you begin your adoption planning, provide you with adoption materials and resources, give you an idea of the costs of your adoption, and answer your question about adoption. The meeting will also give you a chance to get to know us so you can decide for yourself if our firm is the right choice for you.
Once you retain our law firm, you will talk with our team about adoption issues to help you further prepare for adoption. We will assist with your letter (also called a profile) to birth parents, give advice on choice of photos for your letter, and help you learn ways to connect with an expectant mother. After you are matched with a birth mother and she delivers the child, you will likely take the baby directly home from the hospital. About 8 months later, we will finalize your adoption in court.
How Long Does It Take?
Our lawyers and staff work as a team to help you put your adoption plan together and move toward your goal of creating a family as quickly as possible. Most of our clients are home with their child within a year of completing their birth parent letter, sometimes sooner.
What Will It Cost?
We work hard to keep our fees affordable and spaced out over time as we do the work for you. We charge for our initial two hour consultation separately so you have the opportunity to think about whether to move forward proceed. If you retain our office, there is a flat retainer fee to begin the process of looking for a child for you to adopt. Upon a match with an expectant mother, a middle fee is due. When the child is placed in your home, the final fee is paid.
We also can help adoptive families who are working with a birth mother they found on their own or through a facilitator or agency, and with stepparent and adult adoptions. Fees are always discussed in advance of hiring our firm so you know what to expect for your situation.