Hiring the right adoption attorney is crucial in protecting your rights, protecting the adopted child, saving money, saving time, and allowing for a successful adoption. There are many questions to ask your attorney. You should first ask yourself a few questions.
How soon do I want to adopt?
Set up some goals for when you want a child. Typically, adoptions take 1-2 years. So bear in mind this process isn’t fast. When consulting with attorneys, ask them the general time tables for adoption.
Can you work with this person for a year or more?
Ask yourself if you can truly see this person on a weekly basis for a year or more. If they are rude to you, if they do not like answering your questions, if they haggle about price – these are signs you may want someone else. Get someone you can work with for the sometime lengthy adoption process.
How can you help?
Now let’s start asking key questions to your adoption attorney. “How can you help” is quite basic, but it’s a good start. Ask about your options – an attorney may have strategies which worked for other adoptive parents, such as using independent adoption. Ask how he/she has helped other parents. Ask how the attorney can help with legal documents; if you adopt internationally, for example, that will require you to follow federal, state, and the foreign country’s laws.
Do you specialize in adoption law?
You want someone with plenty of experience in adoption law, not someone who takes on whatever cases are available. You should have no problem in finding an attorney who specializes in adoption.
How much do you charge?
Be frank on how much you can afford. Don’t get in over your head. You can save a lot of headaches by asking for fees upfront. If the attorney is far out of your price range, obviously you keep looking. Sometimes they may be willing to negotiate if you’re close on fees.
How many clients do you have?
You want an adoption attorney capable of actually helping you on a weekly if not daily basis. While you may communicate well, and can afford his/her fee, if the attorney has a big load of cases, it may delay the help you get.
Do you have connections with referral agencies, adoption agencies, and other ways to adopt?
Referral agencies are an underutilized resource for adoptions. A good adoption attorney can often give you some of these to help you find a child. Your attorney may also have had success with certain adoption agencies, placing children with adoptive parents. Or he/she may be able to help you with an independent adoption. The important point is the attorney has the connections needed to start and finish your search.