Domestic Agency Adoption: Many people seeking a healthy infant adopt through private adoption agencies. Each adoption agency can establish its own criteria for adoptive families. Agencies generally provide biographies and pictures to the birth parents, who may select the adoptive family. There is often a meeting between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. Our adoption and family law attorneys can assist you in the adoption process by:

– helping to identify and evaluate licensed, reputable agencies;
– reviewing and interpreting the adoption agency contract;
– evaluating the risk factors of a potential adoption placements; and
– filing the adoption petition with the Court and obtaining the final decree of adoption.

Interstate Adoption: In looking for a child to adopt, if you are matched with a child born in another state, you must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children before you can bring the child home. Our adoption and family law attorneys can provide pre-birth assistance to make sure that the legal requirements of the sending and receiving states are satisfied.

Inter-country Adoption: If you adopt or obtain guardianship of a child born in a foreign country, it is always advisable to complete or repeat adoption proceedings in your home state as well. In addition, it is sometimes legally necessary. We work with adoptive families prior to and after placement to ensure a secure and final adoption.

Private Direct Placement by Birth Parent Adoption: Of the estimated thirty thousand (30,000) domestic infant adoptions done annually, at least half are completed independently of an adoption agency. Many families locate the child and birth mother through their own private network of friends, family and acquaintances. Our adoption and family law attorneys will assist you in reviewing a potential adoption situation, arranging for appropriate medical or financial assistance for the birth mother, and obtaining the necessary court orders.

Relative Adoption: Many loving and devoted grandparents, aunts, uncles or siblings find themselves caring for children whose parents are deceased, disabled, or who have abandoned their parental responsibilities. In the event you want to adopt a child you are related to and have taken responsibility for, our attorneys can assess the likelihood of successful adoption. It is important to note, these cases do not necessarily require the consent of the absent birth parent(s).

Stepparent Adoption: Frequently, after a custodial parent or a single parent marries, the new spouse begins to serve as a “parent” of the child. Stepparent adoption is a means for the stepparent to legally adopt the child as his or her own, and can result in a name change for the adopted child so that the child’s surname is the same as the rest of his family. Our attorneys can assess the likelihood of successful stepparent adoption. These cases can be filed even without the consent of the non-custodial parent.

Grandparent Visitation: Georgia law provides a mechanism whereby loving grandparents can seek court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren. Generally, this avenue is open only where there is some crisis in the child’s nuclear family and provides a means whereby grandparents can monitor a child’s situation through regular contact.

Birth Mother Representation: Our office regularly represents birthmothers who seek guidance and advice in dealing with a crisis pregnancy. We provide advice on adoption and on the options for single parenting if a woman chooses to parent her child. Upon request, we can assist in networking with licensed agencies and attorneys throughout the United States to locate the optimal adoptive family.

Guardianship: In many cases, a birth parent struggles to care for a child, but an adoption is not wanted or necessary. Our family law attorneys can assist you in obtaining guardianship court orders that will not terminate a birth parent’s rights – but rather will establish temporary legal custody to a responsible individual, such as a grandparent or uncle of the child until the birth parent is able to reassume responsibility.

Immigration Benefits of Adoption: Children adopted from abroad through accredited adoption professionals generally enter the United States with an IR3 or IR4 orphan visa. IR3 designation means the child becomes a citizen automatically upon entering the United States. IR4 designation means the child becomes a citizen upon the entry of a final decree of adoption in the United States. Our adoption, family law and immigration attorneys can assist you in documenting your child’s status as a U.S. citizen.

Frequently, United States citizens want to adopt foreign-born children (young relatives, nieces, nephew, grandchildren or non-relative children) in part to obtain immigration benefits for those children. Immediate relative immigration benefits may be available to children adopted by United States citizens if a final decree of adoption is entered before the child turns sixteen (16) — or if two or more siblings are adopted before the older child turns eighteen (18) and before the younger child turns sixteen (16) years of age. Our adoption, family law and immigration attorneys are ready to help you in a case like this should you need legal assistance.