MyersStrickland concentrates its practice on adoption law by participating in 400 to 450 adoptions per year – more than any other law firm in Arizona.
Regardless of the type of adoption you are pursuing or where you are in your adoption process, we can help you reach your adoption goals.
MyersStrickland can help you with the following types of adoption:
- Adopting a Baby in Arizona – Help infertile couples, same-sex couples and unmarried individuals legally, safely and ethically adopt a newborn baby who is voluntarily placed for adoption by his or her birth parents.
- Placing a Baby for Adoption – Work with pregnant women who are considering adoption by helping them understand their rights, their options, and whether adoption is truly right for them. Only when a woman is ready will we proceed toward an adoption plan and provide all of the legal services required to complete the adoption.
- Foster Care Adoption – Assist foster parents, adoptive parents and relatives with making a foster child a permanent member of their family.
- Relative and Stepparent Adoption – Finalize the legal adoptions of children wanting to be adopted by a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, sibling or stepparent.
- Adult Adoptions – Facilitate the legal adoption of an adult by his or her relative, stepparent, foster parent or birth parent.
- Choosing the Right Adoption Professional – Help prospective adoptive families through the options and services of adopting.
Contact us today to ask us a question or begin your adoption process.
Adopting a Baby in Arizona
Infant domestic adoption is the adoption of a newborn baby who has been voluntarily placed by his or her birth parents.
MyersStrickland has helped hundreds of adoptive families complete their adoptions of domestic newborns. We work with all types of families throughout Arizona, and exclusively focus our practice on adoption law. If you are considering growing your family through adoption, read the following for more information about adoption in Arizona and learn how MyersStrickland can help you through every step of the process.
What type of people usually adopt a baby through infant domestic adoption?
Each state has laws concerning who is eligible to adopt. In Arizona, any adult resident of the state may adopt, as long as they successfully complete the adoption certification process and are able to meet the child’s needs.
Domestic infant adoption has provided people of all backgrounds with a chance to realize their dreams of parenthood. Some people who commonly choose adoption include:
- Couples who have struggled with infertility
- Same-sex couples who are unable to have children biologically
- Unmarried people who want to become parents
- People who want to provide a child a wonderful life and help a woman who isn’t ready to parent
What services does MyersStrickland offer to those who want to adopt a baby in Arizona?
Many legal services are involved throughout the adoption process. MyersStrickland can work with your family to ensure that every aspect of your adoption is completed in accordance with Arizona law. This includes providing the following services:
- Legal counsel throughout the adoption process
- Legal and ethical termination of the birth father’s rights
- Referral for finding an adoption situation
- Assurance that living expenses are paid in accordance with Arizona law
- Filing of all required paperwork with the appropriate Court
- Assurance that ICPC clearances have been properly performed and approved
- Attendance at finalization hearing
- Assistance with receiving amended birth certificate
What is the Arizona adoption process to adopt a baby with MyersStrickland?
From your first phone call to your finalization hearing, MyersStrickland can help prospective adoptive parents through each stage of the adoption process to ensure your Arizona adoption is completed legally and ethically.
The Arizona adoption process begins with a simple phone call or email to our firm. One of our adoption attorneys will answer all of your questions, explain the adoption process to you, and walk you through the steps required to make your adoption plan a reality. We will explain to you what it means to adopt, the necessary legal services required to adopt a baby, and answer any additional questions you may have to help you decide whether adoption is right for you.
Adoption Home Study and Certification Process
Once you have fully committed to an adoption plan, you will then need to be Certified to Adopt by the Court before a child can be placed in your care. To become certified, you must complete an adoption home study. The home study is an evaluation of you, the prospective adoptive parents, and any adult members of your home to determine whether you are fit and ready to adopt.
After 6 to 8 weeks of gathering documentation, passing federal and state criminal background checks, and having your home inspected by your home study social worker, your home study will be submitted to the Court for the judge to review. The judge’s review of the home study may take another eight weeks, and if approved, you will receive your Certification to Adopt by the judge.
Referral for Matching Services
If you have not yet found an adoption opportunity, the next step will be to connect with a prospective birth family. MyersStrickland partners with several placing agencies who are experts at locating adoption situations, including local agencies Adoption Choices of Arizona, Christian Family Care, and Oasis and national adoption agency American Adoptions.
Prior to the baby’s birth, you may agree to participate in pre-placement contact with the birth mother. This may be several weeks or months prior to the baby’s arrival, but before you know it, the due date will arrive and the baby will be born!
Adoption Placement and Post-Placement Visits
Under Arizona law, the birth mother must wait 72 hours before she may legally consent to the adoption. After the consent is taken, you will then be granted physical custody of the child, but must complete a post-placement visit within 30 days of placement and every 90 days until finalization.
These post-placement visits will include interviews with all members of the household to discuss the child’s relationship with the adoptive family, each family member’s adjustment to the adoptive placement, the child’s and family’s needs, and more.
Handling of Living Expenses
In modern adoptions, adoptive families often cover all adoption services, including the birth mother’s living expenses. These moneys are intended to help a birth mother financially during her pregnancy to help pay for items such as rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, transportation and maternity clothes. Living expenses totaling over $1,000 must be approved by a judge. We will ensure all living expenses are provided under Arizona law and used for their intended purpose.
Finalization of the Adoption
For an adoption to be legally finalized, each step of the adoption has to be conducted in accordance with Arizona law. These items include a valid home study, a certification to adopt, legal termination of both birth parents’ parental rights, an appropriate number of post-placement visits, and more. Finalization hearings are usually held every Monday morning, and we will be there with you to ensure everything goes smoothly and to join in the celebration.
What are the laws for adopting a baby in Arizona?
Our firm has helped hundreds of families grow through the adoption process. If you are considering adopting an infant in Arizona, MyersStrickland will work with you to help you understand adoption laws and requirements and ensure your adoption is completed safely and legally. The following provides an overview of questions adoptive families commonly have about Arizona adoption law.
1. Am I eligible to adopt a child in Arizona?
Arizona statutes state that any adult resident of the state may adopt. Married couples may adopt jointly. All adoptive applicants will need to undergo an adoption home study to ensure they can meet the safety, social, emotional, physical and mental health needs of the adopted child.
2. What adoption expenses am I responsible for?
State laws regulate the expenses that can be paid in connection with an adoption. In Arizona, adoptive families pay for the following:
- Medical and hospital care for the birth mother and baby
- Counseling fees
- Legal fees
- Agency fees
- Up to $1,000 in reasonable and necessary living expenses for the birth mother
“Reasonable and necessary living expenses” are determined by the court based on the birth parents’ current standard of living, the standard of living necessary to preserve the health of the birth parent and the baby, and any alternative financial resources available to the birth parent. If these expenses exceed $1,000, the adoptive family must file a motion with the court to approve the payment.
3. How can I find a birth mother?
In Arizona, only licensed adoption agencies can work with adoptive parents to identify adoption opportunities. If you have not already identified a birth mother to work with, MyersStrickland can refer you to one of our partner agencies who are experts at locating adoption situations.
4. Can the birth parents change their mind after the adoption?
Birth mothers must wait 72 hours after their baby’s birth before signing the adoption paperwork, and they may change their mind about their adoption plan up until the consent is signed. However, consent is generally irrevocable upon signing.
Please read the following for more information about Arizona adoption laws for adoptive families.
Additional Resources for Arizona Adoptive Families
There are many resources available to hopeful adoptive parents and families raising adopted children. If you are interested in domestic infant adoption in Arizona, the following resources provide valuable information about the adoption process, adoption costs, adoption laws, and more:
- American Adoptions
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Arizona Association for Foster & Adoptive Parents
- Adoptive Families Circle
- Arizona Family Institute
If you choose MyersStrickland to help you adopt a baby in Arizona, you can be sure that every step of the adoption process is completed in accordance to Arizona law. We are with you every step of the way, right up until you receive the amended birth certificate of your newborn baby, and beyond.
Click the following to contact us about adopting a baby in Arizona.
Placing a Baby for Adoption
If you are pregnant and considering adoption for your baby, you are likely feeling a wide, and perhaps overwhelming, range of emotions.
We here at MyersStrickland can emphasize with you. With our sole focus being adoption law, we’ve helped hundreds of women complete adoption plans throughout the history of our practice.
Conversely, we’ve also helped just as many women decide that adoption is not right for them.
You see, our job is to empower you with information so you can make the absolute best decision for you and your child. Once you know more about adoption and have support, you will probably feel more confident about your decision, whether you decide adoption is the best decision for you.
What types of women choose to place their child for adoption?
Many who are new to the world of adoption have preconceived ideas about who a birth mother is and why she chooses adoption. But in reality, these women come from all walks of life and have all different, selfless reasons for choosing adoption, including:
- Women who are struggling financially and cannot support a child or an additional child
- Women who want their child raised in a two-parent home
- Women who have other goals that they want to accomplish before entering motherhood
- Women who simply aren’t ready for the responsibility of parenthood
It takes courage, strength, and deep, unconditional love to make an adoption plan. Whatever your reasons for choosing adoption for your baby, we can help you provide the life you want for your child.
What services does MyersStrickland offer to women considering adoption?
If you are considering adoption for your baby, you know that adoption is an emotional experience as well as a legal process. At MyersStrickland, we work with you to ensure that your adoption is completed legally while also helping you find the resources you need to feel confident in your decisions. Our services include:
- Legal guidance and support throughout the adoption process
- Assistance in finding counseling services
- Assistance in receiving prenatal care
- Assistance in signing up for the appropriate health insurance
- Assistance in receiving living expenses allowed by Arizona law
- Referral for finding adoptive parents
- Detailed explanation of your rights and what each legal document means
- Detailed explanation of the birth father’s rights and legal processes associated with him
- Assistance in legally consenting to the adoption
- Travel to your location anywhere in Arizona when necessary
How does placing a baby for adoption with MyersStrickland work?
The adoption professional you choose to work with will be your guide through the adoption process. If you choose to complete your adoption through MyersStrickland, we will work with you in the following ways to ensure your rights and interests are represented and you have the best adoption experience possible:
Consultation, Education and Support
If you are considering adoption, you may contact MyersStrickland at any point during your pregnancy, or even after your baby is born. Please remember that contacting us does not commit you to an adoption plan and is 100 percent confidential.
When you contact us, we will first answer all of your questions, walk you through the adoption process, and explain exactly what it means to place a child for adoption. We will provide you with all of the information and support you need to determine whether you are ready to commit to an adoption plan.
Referral for Matching Services
If you haven’t already found an adoptive family, we will help you take the next steps in finding one, but only when you feel you are ready. We partner with other trusted adoption professionals to help women locate families, from here in Arizona to anywhere else in the country.
If you are still looking for an adoptive family, an adoption agency’s social worker will work with you to determine the type of life you envision for your child and the type of family you are seeking based on your adoption plan. She or he will ask you your preferences on:
- The type of parent or parents to raise your child, based on race, location, family size, religion and more.
- The type of contact you want to share with the adoptive family before the adoption.
- The type of contact you want to share with the adoptive family and your child after the adoption.
Your social worker will provide you with adoptive parent profiles who match all of your preferences. Once you find the perfect family, you will then have the option of communicating, or even visiting with them, before the child’s birth to ensure they are right for you and your child.
If it is a viable match, you may then continue communicating with them up until the hospital stay.
Delivery, Placement and Post-Placement Contact
When you go into labor, the family will travel to your location in Arizona to be with you and the baby. You will have full control over who is in the delivery room with you, how much time you want to spend with your baby, and more. Then, 72 hours after the birth of your baby, you are able to legally consent to the adoption. Our team will work with you to ensure you fully understand consent and relinquishment. It is important to us that you feel comfortable and prepared for this important step of the process.
Finally, based on the amount of contact you agreed upon after the adoption, whether it was pictures and letters, emails, phone calls or even visits, you may stay connected with the adoptive family and your child for as long as you wish.
How much does adoption cost?
In today’s adoptions, a woman who places her baby for adoption incurs no expenses. These fees are covered entirely by the adoptive family and medical insurance.
You may also be eligible to receive living expenses to help you pay for certain items such as rent/mortgage, groceries, and more. We will help you receive the living expenses you need in your situation.
What about the father of the baby?
If the birth father is either unknown or unsupportive of the adoption, you absolutely can still proceed with an adoption plan.
Arizona is a notice state, which means we have to provide notice to a birth father that an adoption plan has been made, but it is possible to notify of him of the adoption before the baby is born.
We believe very strongly that we need to have the full story about the birth father so we can appropriately manage the situation legally. We want your adoption plan to move forward, and the best way to make that happen is to make sure we handle the situation with the birth father appropriately, legally and ethically.
What are the laws to place a baby for adoption in Arizona?
If you are considering placing your baby for adoption in Arizona, our team will work with you to ensure every aspect of your adoption is completed in accordance with state laws. For prospective birth parents considering adoption, the most important legal process to understand is consent, which is the legal agreement to an adoption placement and the relinquishment of parental rights.
Whose consent is needed in infant adoption?
In Arizona, the following people must provide written consent to an adoption placement:
- The baby’s birth mother
- The baby’s father if he has established paternity
- Any guardian or agency having custody of the baby
- The parent’s guardian, if one has been appointed
A parent’s consent is not needed if the parent has been appointed a guardian, if parental rights have already been terminated, or if a potential father has failed to establish his paternity within 30 days of receiving notice.
How does a birth father establish paternity?
In Arizona, a man is considered the legal father of a baby if he was married to the child’s mother any time within 10 months before the baby’s birth. Paternity can also be established when:
- A genetic test proves at least a 95 percent probability that he is the father
- The mother and father both sign the birth certificate
- Both parents sign a notarized or witnessed statement acknowledging the man’s paternity
Any man who wants to establish paternity and receive notice of adoption proceedings can fill out paternity forms and file them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
When can I consent to the adoption?
Birth mothers must wait 72 hours after their baby’s birth before consenting to an adoption.
How do I give consent?
Consent must be given in writing and signed before at least two credible adult witnesses or acknowledged before a notary public.
Can I change my mind after executing consent?
After signing consent, it generally cannot be revoked. It is important to consider your adoption decision carefully and speak with a counselor throughout the process to ensure you are comfortable with your adoption decision before signing. Our team will work with you to ensure you fully understand consent and relinquishment and are ready to sign when the time comes.
Click the following to learn more about the adoption laws in Arizona for pregnant mothers.
Unplanned pregnancy and adoption can be overwhelming. If you live in Arizona and are looking for additional pregnancy and adoption information or simply want to know more about your options, there are many resources available to you:
- American Adoptions
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- First Way Pregnancy Center
- Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Working with an attorney is like any other relationship – It needs to work for you. And especially since this is likely a very difficult time in your life, you must find a person with whom you are comfortable and may contact any time.
Our primary goal is to provide you with as much information as possible to make an educated decision based on your current goals, your future goals, and what is best for your child. We have no intentions on making you do something you aren’t ready to do; we only want what is best for you now and in the future.
Contact us today to learn more about placing a baby for adoption in Arizona.
Relative and Stepparent Adoption
The process to adopt a relative or stepchild is slightly different from the foster care or domestic infant adoption process. The following provides more information about stepparent and relative adoption in Arizona and the services MyersStrickland provides to create a seamless process for everyone involved.
What is relative and stepparent adoption?
Relative and stepparent adoptions follow very similar legal processes and are defined as the following:
Relative adoptions – The adoption of a child by his or her grandparent, great grandparent, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, cousin or sibling.
Stepparent adoptions – The adoption of a child by his or her parent’s spouse to create a legal parent-child relationship. This may also include same-sex couples who are now able to legally adopt a spouse’s child in Arizona.
How does relative and stepparent adoption compare to other types of adoption?
Every adoption involves the legal process of transferring parental rights and responsibilities from one parent to another. Whether you are pursuing infant adoption, foster care adoption, international adoption or relative or stepparent adoption, the process will involve termination of parental rights, background checks and legal finalization.
However, stepparent and relative adoptions differ somewhat in legal process and home study requirements. For example, the home study is generally less extensive for stepparents and relatives than it is for other prospective parents pursuing adoption. MyersStrickland will help you understand the legal requirements to complete your stepparent or relative adoption and can refer you to a licensed home study provider to complete any necessary assessments.
What are the benefits of adopting a stepchild?
There are many reasons a stepparent may consider adopting his or her stepchild. Establishing a legal relationship between the child and the stepparent entitles the child to receive inheritance and insurance benefits and simplifies parental tasks, such as picking the child up from school or taking him or her to doctor’s appointments. Stepparent adoption may also provide a sense of belonging and stability for everyone in the family.
How does relative and stepparent adoption work?
Before a grandparent, great grandparent, aunt, uncle, adult sibling or stepparent can adopt a minor relative or stepchild, that child must be “free for adoption,” satisfied through one of the three proceedings:
- Parent(s) of the child gives written consent to the adoption
- The child’s parent(s)’ parental rights are terminated for various reasons
- The adoption proceeds without the father’s consent or termination of parental rights by obtaining a certificate from vital records stating that no father has filed a notice of claim of paternity with the putative father registry. This may occur if the father has not established paternity by the following reasons:
- he was not married to the mother at any time in the 10 months immediately preceding the birth or the child is born within 10 months after the marriage is terminated
- he is not on the birth certificate
- no court order has ever been entered declaring him to be the father of the child
The stepparent is required to provide state and federal criminal records check (fingerprinting) and a central registry check (child abuse clearance) if:
- The prospective adoptive parent is the child’s stepparent who has been legally married to the child’s birth or legal parent for at least one year and has resided with the child for at least six months.
- The prospective adoptive parent is the child’s adult sibling, by the whole or half blood, or the child’s aunt, uncle, grandparent or great grandparent and the child has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least six months.
*Everyone in the home over the age of 18 must have a fingerprints clearance except for a child’s birth or legal parent.
If the mother, or a father, who has established maternity or paternity is unwilling to consent to the adoption, it will be necessary to terminate his or her parental rights before an adoption petition can be filed in a separate termination.
Resources for Stepfamilies
Families built through stepparent and relative adoption enjoy many benefits and face unique challenges. Stepparent adoption is the most common form of adoption today, and there are many resources available to adoptive stepparents. If you are interested in learning more about stepparent or relative adoption, consider the following resources:
Resources for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children
Additional resources are available for families touched by relative adoption. If you are raising your grandchild, great-grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin or sibling, the following resources can provide valuable information and support:
- The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Central Arizona Kinship Care Coalition
The stepparent and family member adoption process varies based on each family’s unique circumstances and needs. MyersStrickland works with families through each step of the process to ensure the adoption is completed legally, ethically and successfully.
Please contact us for more information about relative and stepparent adoptions to determine the best option for you and your family.
In Arizona, any adult may adopt another consenting adult who is between the ages of 18-21 or an adult of any age who is a stepchild, niece, nephew, cousin or grandchild of the adopting person. The adult adoptee’s legal parents(s) do not need to be notified of the adult adoption.
Adult adoptions are handled in the Probate Division of the Superior Court.
Some common reasons for adult adoptions include:
- A foster parent may wish to adopt an adult who was placed in their care when the adult was a juvenile if the foster parent has maintained a continuous familial relationship with that person for five or more years.
- A stepchild may wish to be adopted as an adult by his or her stepparent.
- A same-sex marriage partner who was not able to be a legal parent of the couple’s child may wish to adopt an adult child who is now recognized as their stepchild.
- An adoptee may locate his or her birth parents and later mutually agree to adoption.
What are the benefits of adult adoption?
- Full, legal relationship of parent and child between two people
- Full inheritance rights
- Security of knowing their family member will be protected by social security if necessary
- Legal rights and privileges to visit one another in the hospital, receive medical information, and much more
What is the process to adopt an adult with MyersStrickland?
Adult adoptions in Arizona do not require parental consent, termination of parental rights or an extensive home study process, making the adult adoption process shorter and less complex than other forms of adoption. MyersStrickland can work with you through every step of the process to complete your adult adoption efficiently and in accordance with Arizona adoption law.
One of the most important legal steps in the adult adoption process is the adoption agreement, which must contain certain information, be in writing and be signed by the adopting adult and the adoptee. This agreement will be filed with a petition for adoption, along with other supporting information and documents. Upon filing the petition for adoption, a hearing date will be set. The adoptive parent(s) and the adoptee will attend the hearing and confirm their consent to the adoption. The court will grant the adoption and enter an adoption decree, officially establishing a legal relationship between the adults. A new birth certificate will be issued and the adult being adopted may legally change his or her name.
In some cases, additional steps may be necessary throughout the adoption process. For example, if the adopting adult has a spouse who is not joining in the adoption petition, that spouse must legally consent to the adoption. Similarly, if the person being adopted has a spouse, that spouse must also consent to the adoption.
Our firm will work with you to understand your individual circumstances and ensure all legal requirements are met throughout the adoption process.
Adult adoption can be a rewarding way to formalize family connections. For more information about adopting an adult, visit the following resources:
- Arizona Adult Adoption Statutes
- National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Juvenile Law Center
Please click the following to contact us about completing an adult adoption in Arizona.
Choosing the Right Adoption Professional
Choosing the right adoption professional is one of the most important steps adoptive families can take to ensure their adoption is completed legally and ethically. In addition to providing various adoption services, the professional you choose should offer the guidance, support and peace of mind you need through each step of your adoption journey.
Read on to learn about three common types of adoption professionals, so you can choose the one that is right for you.
An attorney’s services are required in every adoption, and some families choose to make these specialists their primary professional during the process. Adoption lawyers and law firms like MyersStrickland often focus their practices exclusively on adoption, allowing them to offer expert legal adoption services.
Adoptive families who choose to work with an adoption attorney enjoy several benefits:
- Attorneys are regulated by their state bar organizations and are experts in state adoption laws, so you can take comfort knowing that your adoption is legally sound.
- They offer many of the same services as adoption agencies and can refer you to trusted professionals for any additional assistance you may need, such as matching or home study services.
- An adoption attorney only represents your family and no other person or organization.
- For families seeking certain types of adoption, including stepparent or relative adoption, an attorney may be the only professional necessary in the adoption process.
However, there are also some things to consider when working directly with an adoption attorney:
- Your attorney may have to refer you to another professional for certain adoption services, such as matching and post-placement supervision.
- If you are not using an agency’s matching or contact mediation services, you may be required to have a more open adoption and take a more active role in the adoption process.
While these additional considerations might seem inconvenient at first, many families actually find that they become positives during the adoption process. For example, by working with an agency in addition to an attorney, families may enjoy more support, additional services, and access to more prospective birth mothers than an attorney can offer independently. In addition, many families who are initially hesitant to accept an open adoption find that it is deeply rewarding to develop a strong relationship with their child’s birth parents.
It is important to understand that an attorney must be involved in every adoption, at minimum, to provide the legal services necessary to finalize the adoption. Choosing to work with an attorney as your primary adoption professional may help you make more informed decisions through the process and provide you with greater peace of mind that your adoption is being handled ethically and legally.
Adoption agencies are licensed, regulated organizations that provide a wide range of adoption services, including screening and matching services, counseling and support, and general case management.
Agencies may be national, meaning they provide services throughout the country and are likely licensed in several states, or they may be local, meaning they are licensed in a single state or region and focus on serving clients only in that particular area.
Some advantages of working with an agency include:
- Because agencies are licensed and regulated, you can take comfort knowing they are reviewed annually and are in compliance with state laws. However, it is very important to ensure that the agency you choose is licensed in Arizona; even reputable agencies that are licensed in other states may be breaking the law by providing certain adoption services in Arizona.
- Agencies offer most of the services you will need during the adoption process and can refer you to an attorney to finalize your adoption.
- Agencies provide good recruitment, screening and matching services, and may be the best professional to help you find an adoption opportunity.
There are also some challenges to consider when working with an adoption agency:
- To cover the costs of their various services, these organizations often charge agency fees, which can make total adoption costs more expensive.
- Agencies can vary significantly in their services, fees, wait times, disruption rates, and more; it is important to carefully research a variety of local and national agencies before selecting one.
- You must be careful when selecting an agency to ensure they are licensed in Arizona — if you choose to work with an agency that is not licensed by the state, they are acting as a facilitator, which is not legal in Arizona and could put your adoption at risk.
Regardless of the adoption professional you choose, you will need to work with an Arizona-licensed adoption agency at least two times during the adoption process: to complete the adoption home study, and to provide required post-placement supervision.
If you choose an attorney like MyersStrickland as your primary adoption professional, we can refer you to a trusted adoption agency that can provide these services, as well as any additional services you may want during the adoption process, such as matching or counseling.
Adoption facilitators, sometimes called “adoption law centers” if owned by an attorney, are unlicensed, unregulated organizations that match hopeful adoptive parents to prospective birth mothers.
Because these organizations are focused exclusively on matching, they typically can provide good matching services and help their clients find adoption opportunities quickly. However, there are a number of serious risks to consider before choosing to work with a facilitator:
- It is illegal to use a facilitator in Arizona, and doing so may jeopardize your adoption. While the legal consequences of using an adoption facilitator are unclear, it is possible that the judge could refuse to grant your adoption, disallow certain adoption expenses, or otherwise delay the legal adoption process.
- Facilitators don’t provide the other necessary adoption services offered by agencies and attorneys; because you will need an attorney to finalize your adoption and an agency to complete the home study and post-placement study, it is often best to work directly with one of these professionals as you search for an adoption opportunity.
- Facilitators’ fees are often expensive and only cover the costs of matching services. Because you will need to hire additional professionals following the matching process, your overall adoption cost may be higher.
Remember that even if you choose to work with an adoption facilitator for matching services, you will eventually need to hire an adoption agency to provide home study and post-placement services, as well as an attorney to legally finalize the adoption. Working with an adoption facilitator may simply be an unnecessary expense and added legal risk.
Tips for Choosing an Adoption Professional
There are many factors to take into account when choosing an adoption professional. Most importantly, you should consider your own needs as you assess the option that is right for you.
As you continue your search for the perfect adoption professional, consider the following suggestions:
- Research your options thoroughly. In addition to learning more about the different types of adoption professionals, carefully assess each individual attorney or agency you are considering and compare their fees, services, and other factors.
- Ask questions. Ask every adoption professional you are considering how their organization is licensed and regulated. Always ask adoption agencies whether they are licensed in Arizona — if not, they may be acting as a facilitator in your adoption.
- Talk to an attorney. Adoption attorneys can provide additional information about Arizona’s adoption laws, agency licensing requirements, and the legal risks of working with certain adoption professionals. They can also refer you to trusted adoption agencies for matching services, home study services, and more.
For more information about MyersStrickland’s adoption services, state adoption laws, and other professionals who can help you complete the adoption process, contact us at any time.