The Adoption Process
Deciding to bring an addition into your family is always a major decision. A new child can bring you joys that you have never before experienced and fill voids you never knew existed.
The adoption process, however, can be overwhelming. There are large amounts of paperwork, confusing regulations and terminology. Here are some questions that we are often asked:
Do I meet the requirements to adopt a child?
Adoption requirements do cover a wide variety of prospective parents. You must be at least eighteen years of age or older. There is no minimum income requirement but you must be able to meet the financial needs of a child. Your race, age, or religion is not a factor in most cases. There can even be other children in the home, depending on the type of adoption or agency you choose. And you must be approved to adopt through a procedure called the "home study." All this will ensure the best long term fit for both child and his or her soon-to-be family.
Can I adopt outside of the US?
Other options are to adopt a child not born in the United States. This is called an International Adoption. Adoptive parents may choose to adopt from many countries such as Japan, Mexico, and Russia. The children can be of any age, or race. Some might have a disability.
Often International Adoptions will be easier in some respects, and more difficult in other. Each country will have its own regulations and processes. But do not let that deter you. Experienced facilitators such as Bill will make the process as smooth as possible. And some will even have special processing skills: Bill is multi-lingual being fluent in the Russian language.
How long does the process take?
There are many steps that need to be taken in order to bring your new family member into your home. The adoption process could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. Bill will be there pushing the process along clearing out red tape and making sure all the steps are covered as quickly as possible.
Is adoption expensive?
There are no set costs in the adoption process. All of your decisions can affect the cost as there are different fees that you will encounter on your journey to a new family. Such fees can include Home Study fees, Placement fees, legal and court fees, counseling expenses, medical costs, living expenses for the birth mother, or travel expenses. Not all these types of costs are incurred in every adoption.
There are often tax credits and assistance programs available to help with or even waive some of these fees.
What is the legal process for adoptions?
The first step that will need to happen is the terminating of parental rights of the birth/legal parents. This will need to be done before a child can be considered adoptable. The second step is filing a Petition for Adoption in the county in which you live. Bill will be there to make sure all the paperwork is filed properly. In Tennessee, non-relative adoptions can be finalized six months after the placement of the child in your home.
What information will I be given in regards to the child and his/her birth family?
Tennessee law requires certain medical, social, and educational material be provided on the birth families for up to three generations. Adoptive parents either receive the background history in full or in summary form.
With international adoptions, adoptive parents receive as much information as is available on the child. This may or may not include information on the biological family, birth and hospital records, depending on whether the child was abandoned or if the parents were available for questioning.
What are Open Adoptions?
Open Adoption is a term used to describe the least restrictive kind of informational exchange with the birth mother and adoptive family before baby is born. It might be a simple exchange of first names to regular meetings between the birth and the adoptive parents. It might mean exchanging full identifying information on the birth and adoptive family, or even allowing the adoptive parent in the delivery room. Some Open Adoptions might include the exchange of photographs or letters, or direct contact in the form of visits after the child is born. All these stipulations have pros and cons that should be weighed beforehand.
The birth parents will not, however, have any legal rights to the child after the adoption is finalized. All future contact and birth parent information is the decision of the adoptive parents.
A Closed Adoption is one where records about the biological parents are kept sealed. Often, the biological father is not listed on the original birth certificate.
How will The Law Office of William J. Taylor help make my adoption easier?
Being an adoptive parent himself, Bill understands the rollercoaster of emotions and frustrations that can come with adopting a child. He will help you with filing all of the documents required by the court educating along the way. He will guide you step by step from the home study, to the final steps of getting a new birth certificate and social security card for your child.
We would love to help you! Call Bill or a member of his staff, at (865) 694-6155 or e-mail us at