Hi, How Can We Help You?

Private Adoption

Private Adoption Law

Adoption law is ever-changing, but something that never changes is the pleasure of watching an individual or couple build a family through adoption — and knowing that our legal efforts have helped clients achieve what biology could not.

KDDK family law attorneys are involved in all aspects of adoption. On occasion we represent either the couple who wishes to adopt, or the birthmother who is considering adoption for her baby.

We have experience in private (independent) adoptions which do not involve child placement agencies, but bring together prospective adoptive parents, a birthmother and her baby. In all cases, the best interest of the baby is kept at heart.

Private adoptions are court-supervised. The birthmother and adoptive parents are represented by separate legal counsel, and the process utilizes Indiana law to ensure an ethical and final adoption.

Step-Parent and Relative Adoptions

Our attorneys also participate in step-parent adoptions and relative adoptions involving a child that is adopted by someone who is biologically related. A step-parent adoption occurs when a parent with sole custody of a child marries someone other than the birthfather or birthmother, and desires that the new spouse legally adopt the child. This proceeding terminates the parental rights, voluntarily or involuntarily, of the other birth parent.

Open Adoption

The world of adoption is being revolutionized as our society changes. The typical image of adoption involves a childless couple receiving a baby through a young mother unable to cope with the demands of parenthood. These days, birthmothers are not only teenagers with limited abilities to cope with a pregnancy, but also women in their 20’s and 30’s, who make adoption plans for a variety of reasons.

Frequently, there may be visitation between the birthmother and the adoptive parent(s) and, on some occasions, the adoptive parent(s) may even be with the birthmother in the delivery room as their child is being born. This type of adoption is known as “open” or “semi-open” adoption. Despite the openness at birth, there may be limited or no exchange of identities and no expectation of ongoing contact.

Pre-Placement Investigation

We frequently counsel persons who are interested in private adoption to assist them in searching for and finding an opportunity to build their family through adoption. This usually begins with the preparation of a pre-placement investigation report by a social service agency. This report is commonly known as a “homestudy,” although the purpose of the report is to do more than examine the home in which a child would be raised after placement occurs.

A good homestudy will provide the prospective adoptive parent(s) with more information about adoption than what is asked of the parent-to-be. The social worker will, of course, investigate the couple and determine whether they are well-adjusted, ready to parent, financially secure (although “wealth” is not a prerequisite or requirement), and devoid of an inappropriate criminal history or police record. The social worker will draw out the parent-to-be’s self-image and biographical information to determine parenting strengths and weaknesses, and, generally, determine personality traits and qualities. The social worker should also, however, provide significant information about adoption to the prospective parent(s), so that the journey through the adoption experience will be as informed as possible going forward.

We encourage our clients to engage the services of a good social worker and agency to prepare this homestudy to establish a good foundation for the adoptive parent(s)’ life-long education process in the art of successful adoption.

Termination of Parental Rights

Once a couple identifies an opportunity, the parental rights of the birthfather can frequently be terminated prior to the baby’s birth by giving a pre-birth notice to the birthfather. The rights of the birthmother can only be terminated upon her consent after the child is born, usually no sooner than forty-eight hours after the baby’s birth. The completed homestudy is then utilized to obtain a court order authorizing the petitioning adoptive parent(s) to have the immediate custody of the child directly from the hospital and during the period the adoption petition is pending in court.

The Vanderburgh Superior Court, Probate Division, typically requires a one year supervision period between placement and finalization of the adoption. During the supervision period, typically the same social worker who prepared the homestudy will also provide written reports to the court to assure the judge the child is thriving in the home, bonding with the adoptive parent(s) and, ultimately, concluding whether the court should approve and finalize the adoption.

Interstate Adoption

If the child to be adopted is born in a state other than the state of residence of the adoptive parent(s), then the attorneys for both parties will be required to fulfill the requirements of the “Interstate Compact On The Adoption Of Children” between the sending state (where the child is born) and the receiving state (where the child will be raised after placement). We have participated in many of these interstate adoptions and are familiar with the procedures to be followed, including the appointment of a guardian in the sending state to facilitate approval by the Interstate Compact Administrator of the receiving state.

Positive Adoption Language

We believe that adoption is not only a service provided to our clients in need of building their families in this fashion, but also a privilege to us as participants in this family event. We try to provide educational opportunities about adoption for our clients, so they will begin and continue the process of educating themselves about all aspects of the adoptive experience throughout their lives.

Accordingly, we are committed to the use of Positive Adoption Language (“PAL”) in our adoptive practice. We believe that PAL promotes the self-esteem of children and elevates the entire adoption process to a high level of discourse, which benefits all involved. PAL has been developed and promoted by author and publisher Pat Johnston of Perspectives Press (P.O. Box 90318, Indianapolis, IN 46290-0318, Telephone: (317) 872-3055) and we publish the following article with his permission.

We encourage you to read this article and to utilize Positive Adoption Language in your dealings with adoption issues. We would also encourage those of you who are interested in learning more about adoption (not just the legal aspects, but also the social and psychological aspects) to contact Perspectives Press for its current list of publications devoted solely to issues of impaired fertility and adoption.

Read “An Information Sheet About Adoption Language“, by Pat Johnston