Building your family through adoption is a complex process. Adoption sometimes requires a significant financial commitment and can be an emotional rollercoaster without proper legal intervention.
Working with an experienced family attorney experienced with adoption is essential to a smooth process. Regardless of your path toward adoption, a Lincoln County adoption lawyer could work with you and support you every step to ensure your growing family is secure and legally protected.
Adoption Law Basics
Kansas Statute § 59-2113 lists the requirements of an adoptive parent. Married couples may adopt, but both spouses must consent to the adoption. One spouse may not adopt if the other spouse is unwilling to adopt. Married same-sex couples may legally adopt, but adoption agencies can legally deny services to same-sex couples.
Birth Parent Consent
According to Kansas Statute § 59-2116, a birth mother must consent to adoption at least 12 hours after the child’s birth. Any consent the birth mother might have given before that time is voidable, meaning she can change her mind. A birth father can consent to an adoption at any time after the child’s birth or before the birth if the father has advice from independent legal counsel.
Any prospective adopter must undergo a home study. A home study requires the prospective adopters to submit voluminous documentation regarding the following:
- Criminal history
- Employment history
- Family relationships
People previously convicted of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, and sex offenders are ineligible to adopt.
If the adopters’ written application passes scrutiny, they will meet a social worker who visits the home and conducts further investigations. A Lincoln County adoption attorney could help prospective parents complete the application and prepare for interviews and home inspection.
Prospective adoptive parents must attend parenting classes. If the adopter already has children, some agencies require specific training in integrating an adopted child into a family. Future parents also must take a course in CPR and first aid.
Private and Agency Adoption
Many families turn to private adoption or work with an agency when they are ready to expand their family. Through both methods, adoptive parents can learn about the biological parents—in some cases, it is possible to meet the birth mother.
In a private adoption, a birth mother selects the couple or person they want to adopt their child. A licensed agency or private attorney usually facilitates the arrangement by matching prospective parents with birth mothers. The birth mother can choose whether to continue to be involved in the child’s life and determine how much contact they want.
Agencies generally have policies regarding whether the birth mother has continued contact with the child or adoptive parents. The agency often facilitates the match without the parents or birth mother ever meeting or knowing each other’s full names.
A Lincoln County attorney could provide more information on the differences between private and agency adoptions.
Relative, Stepparent, and Second Parent Adoption
Sometimes, a parent wants to adopt a child already in the family. This situation often arises when a parent dies or has their parental rights terminated. An aunt, uncle, or grandparent might adopt the child, ensuring they have full legal parental rights and giving the child full legal status within the new family unit.
Stepparents often adopt their spouse’s children they have been raising or helping to raise. There are no obstacles to stepparent adoption if the child’s parent agrees and the child’s other legal parent passes away.
If the child’s other legal parent is alive and does not consent to surrender their parental rights, the legal parent and stepparent must prove the other parent has not provided for the child emotionally or financially for at least two years before a court will allow an adoption. A seasoned adoption legal professional in Lincoln County could assist a couple in persuading an absent parent to surrender parental rights.
Many same-sex married couples raise children together, and often, the child has a biological relationship with one of the spouses. The spouse without a biological connection has no legal and enforceable parental rights unless they adopt the child. Like stepparent adoption, if the child has two living legal parents, the other parent must either surrender their parental rights or an attorney must prove that they abandoned their child before a second-parent adoption is possible.
Seek Legal Support from a Lincoln County Attorney if You Plan to Adopt
Adoption can be complicated, but you should not let that deter you from starting or growing your family. A dedicated Lincoln County adoption lawyer at Addair Law could provide supportive legal counsel throughout your adoption journey. Call today to get started.