Growing your family through a foster care adoption is an important legal matter. How do you decide who is the best adoption attorney for your family and your situation? While online research is very helpful, the best way to choose a qualified adoption attorney is to ask questions. Below are questions you want to ask the attorney, or his or her staff, to decide if he or she has the adoption experience to best serve you. After all, protecting your family’s legal relationships is important to you.
1. How many foster care adoptions have you done in the past year?
Not all foster care adoptions are alike, and subject matter expertise comes from successfully handling numerous, even hundreds, of adoptions. There is no substitute for experience.
Every year, MyersStrickland has the honor of legally finalizing hundreds of foster care adoptions. In 2017 alone, our team handled the adoptions of over 500 children from foster care — in addition to serving many more step-parents, brave birth mothers and adoptive parents pursuing private adoptions in Arizona.
We pride ourselves on our personalized service. You are not simply a case, you are a family, and we tailor our advice and services to your needs.
2. If I work with your office, who will you represent in the adoption? Me? The State? Can you give me legal advice? Do you have any potential conflicts if you represent me?
You deserve to be represented by an independent adoption attorney who can give you legal advice and counsel you without a potential conflict. This is likely the first time in your foster care experience that you have the opportunity to seek unbiased and confidential guidance about your family’s situation. Don’t miss the chance to work with a qualified independent adoption attorney who can answer your questions.
When you hire MyersStrickland to handle your adoption case, our Firm represents you, as the adoptive family, only. We have no contracts or affiliations with the State of Arizona or the Department of Child Safety. Therefore, we can provide your family with sound legal advice and advocate for you. Because we held no role in the dependency case, we are truly your independent representative free of any conflicts of interest.
3. Will I meet with an attorney or a paralegal/legal assistant?
If growing your family through a foster care adoption is an important legal matter, shouldn’t you actually meet with an attorney? Your foster care adoption should be important enough to the office you hire that you have an appointment with an adoption attorney before you step foot in the courthouse.
Every foster care adoption handled by MyersStrickland is important to us. You will meet with Attorney Heather Strickland or Attorney Jessica Graves to discuss your family’s adoption and to review all legal documents before you sign anything. In the meeting, the Attorney can provide you with legal advice, prepare you for the finalization hearing, and inform you of the next steps in your adoption and beyond.
4. What services will you provide for me and my family?
There is more to completing a foster care adoption than just paperwork. Find out what services the attorney is going to provide to you and your family to ensure a smooth process from start to finish.
When you work with MyersStrickland to complete your adoption, we will do everything we can to assist you through this journey. Our legal foster care adoption services include:
- A meeting with an Attorney to discuss your foster care adoption
- Completion of all necessary legal paperwork, which is filed with the court
- Representation at your finalization hearing
- Education about available adoption subsidies, tax credits, and post-adoption support services
- Obtaining a new birth certificate for your child after finalization
- Securing payment for legal services from subsidy moneys so you pay no out-of-pocket adoption expenses
- And more
5. How many hours of adoption-specific training have you received?
Foster care adoptions, and adoptions in general, are a unique area of the law — it is not just family or juvenile law. Competent representation in an adoption requires your attorney to have extensive continuing legal education specific to adoptions.
Attorney Heather Strickland’s practice focuses exclusively on adoption and assisted reproduction law. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA), a prestigious national organization of attorneys who have demonstrated expertise in adoptions and commitment to ethical practices. Heather is currently the only AAAA member in Tucson. As a Fellow, she has access to and regularly attends outstanding adoption-specific continuing legal education. In addition, Heather Strickland is a frequent contributor to continuing legal education courses on the topic of adoption, and she regularly lectures at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law.
Heather Strickland’s contributions to adoption and child welfare earned her recognition as a 2017 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).
Heather’s demonstrated history of commitment to building families speaks for itself. When you choose to work with MyersStrickland to finalize your Arizona foster care adoption, you are not only receiving unparalleled legal adoption services — you are also receiving the peace of mind that your adoption is being completed legally, ethically and as efficiently as possible.
To learn more about completing your foster care adoption with MyersStrickland, or to get started with your legal adoption process, please contact us today.