Comparing Adoption Attorneys

There are many reasons why people interested in adoption use an attorney. It’s important for the adoptive parents and the placing parent to have separate legal representation to make certain that their respective rights are protected and to assure a safe, permanent, final adoption.  Whether you choose a private adoption, an agency adoption, an intrastate adoption, an interstate adoption, an or an international adoption, the laws can be quite confusing and even overwhelming at times. It’s important to choose a lawyer with substantial experience in the practice of adoption, an attorney who is familiar with the unique concerns, procedures and problems associated with adoption. There will be many attorneys in your area, so here are some tips to help you choose the best Adoption Attorney for your family.

Relevant Knowledge and Experience

Search for an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in the specific type of adoption you are interested in, such as a domestic adoption, an international adoption, or adoption of a stepchild, adult, relative or foster child. The laws, process, and paperwork for each type of adoption are unique and vary from state to state, so it is crucial that your attorney be able to guide you through, as an expert.  Experience matters. In your initial contact with an adoption attorney, ask what percentage of their practice is devoted to adoption, how long they’ve practiced in the area of adoption, whether they have handled cases in the past that are similar to your case, and whether they are a member of any professional organizations dedicated to adoption, such as the  Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA). The AAAA is a national credentialed professional organization of almost 500 highly vetted attorneys dedicated to the competent and ethical practice of adoption and assisted reproduction law. The AAAA Membership Directory is a good starting place for locating an experienced, qualified adoption attorney.  

Find a Connection

The adoption process itself is a very personal one. Whether you are a birth parent placing a child for adoption or a family adopting a child, you will have a more positive experience if you choose a knowledgeable, experienced lawyer who you feel comfortable with, an attorney you find approachable and easy to talk with, someone you can trust and can connect with on a personal level. In the interview, try to ask questions that uncover the things that are important to you and determine if your communication styles are complementary. It is important that an adoption attorney have experience, compassion and understanding during this potentially stressful road ahead.