Adoption is a wonderful thing. There are lots of reasons people seek adoption, including infertility or simply wanting to help a child in need. But no matter the reason, adopting a child is an extremely fulfilling experience for all parties involved.
As a family law attorney who sees the inside of a courtroom often, I can tell you that it is quite rare that everyone inside the courtroom is happy and smiling. In fact, the only time I have seen this happen is at an adoption hearing. Typically, people bring their families to witness the memorable event. Balloons are commonplace. So is taking a picture with the Judge. Few know this about me, but I also double as a great adoption hearing photographer!
All kidding aside, the fact of the matter is, few things in this world are as rewarding as making a difference in a child’s (or an adult’s) life by legally making them a part of your family. So, you may ask: “What are the different adoption options?”
Step-Parent adoption can be the simplest adoption action. In these cases, a bio-parent gets married to an individual who would like to adopt his or her child. As is the case with other adoption options, in a stepparent adoption case the “other” biological parent’s rights to the child must be terminated. Commonly, the “other” biological parent consents to the adoption, although, an involuntary termination is an option in some cases. I often receive calls regarding a boyfriend or girlfriend of one of the biological parents wanting to adopt, but typically that is not a good idea. Marriage to a bio-parent makes the process much less complicated and less expensive.
These adoptions take place, SUPRISE, through an adoption agency. Typically these cases involve younger than average people who know they are not going to be able to take care of their soon-to-be-born child, even though they might like to under other circumstances. These parents choose an agency adoption because they do not know who they would want to adopt their child. There are lots of adoption agencies in North Dakota that facilitate these types of adoptions.
Private Placement Adoption
Private placement adoptions, again, are just as their name suggests. Within these adoptions, individuals do not use an adoption agency. Rather, the adoption is arranged by the birth mother and/or father directly, or through a lawyer or other intermediary. There are a few additional hoops to jump through with this type of adoption, although if the individual who has been chosen to adopt the child is a relative, certain steps can sometimes be skipped.
Foster Care Adoption
There are times when biological parents have been found unable to care for their children, and have their rights terminated before an adoptive parent can be located. In these instances, it is common for a child to be placed in foster care. While in foster care, the Court will determine whether the child is adoptable and, if so, will commit the child to the State of North Dakota Department of Human Services, a licensed child-placing agency, or other fit and willing individual able to care for the child until the adoption is finalized.
There are a number of complex legalities with any one of these options, including a variety of notices, pleadings, and other documents that must be filed. An attorney can help you navigate these issues and prepare all the filings to ensure you comply with the law. This will take the legal burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on preparing for the addition to your family.
If you have questions regarding the topic of this article, please contact our Family Law Team at 701-297-2890.
The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to your particular set of facts.