Beginning the Adoption Process

The care of a child can be the most wonderful and rewarding experience in a person’s life. Children are born each and every day, and in most cases, the child’s future and prospect for a happy and productive life are assured. For many children, a safe, happy, and healthy environment is not readily available and the prospects of adoption make sense. Thousands of adoptions occur in this country every day, placing the needs of children before the needs of the parent. In the course of human interactions, there can be no greater demonstration of love, caring, and sacrifice than a decision to allow one’s child to be adopted. Of course, the adoption process actually begins when a birth mother makes the decision to place their child up for adoption. The next important decision that has to be made is the hiring of an adoption professional to oversee the entire process. Prior to the adoption, the birth mother will express her preferences regarding the adoptive family. These preferences can range from religious and ethnic considerations to family size and geographical location. Once the birth mother decides on her desired adoptive family characteristics, the birth mother is then provided with a list of prospective adoptive parents, their photos, and background information. When the birth mother has chosen the adoptive family, the birth mother can choose to have an open line of communication with the adoptive family throughout her pregnancy.

Michael Atter, David Wolf and Jennifer Eringer are experienced family law attorneys with years of experience helping birth mothers navigate through the adoption process. We understand the decision to place a child up for adoption is not an easy one. Speaking with an experienced adoption attorney can help you better understand the adoption process, alleviate your initial concerns, and put you on the right path.

There Are Two Types of Private Adoptions Open Adoptions

In an open adoption, the birth mother and the adoptive family communicate openly and exchange personal background information including medical information. The birth mother can plan letters for the adoptive family to give to the child as the child gets older. Additionally, the birth mother may give the adoptive family information such as her social security number, address and phone number so the adoptive family can contact the birth mother in the future. The birth mother can also register with the Florida Reunion Registry so that the child may readily find the birth mother in the future.

Closed Adoptions

In closed adoptions, the birth mother and the adoptive family have little to no contact during the pregnancy, and exchange little to no background information, medical, or personal information. The adoption professional normally chooses the adoptive family for the birth mother, and the two adoption parties have no further contact.

Step-Parent and Family Member Adoptions Step-Parent Adoptions

At Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A., we recognize that step-parents often form a strong and loving bond with the child. In some cases, the step-parent desires to adopt the child as his or her own. The act of a step-parent adopting the child gives the relationship a legal status with inheritance rights attached. For step-parent adoptions, the courts must be presented with evidence to show that the biological parent's parental rights should be terminated. Such evidence must show that either the biological parent abandoned the child or did not safeguard their parental rights. The biological parent can consent to the termination of parental rights and to the step-parent adoption.

In non-step-parent adoptions, the normal time frame to complete the adoption process is anywhere from 3 to 12 months. However, in a step-parent adoption, the adoptive parent is able to immediately finalize the adoption because no home study is required and they can finalize the adoption much quicker.

Grandparent and Relative Adoptions

Grandparents or close relatives of a child often provide a stable, loving home life for the child in lieu of the child's actual birth parents. In these cases, grandparents or close relatives may consider a grandparent adoption / family adoption or temporary custody by an extended family member. Grandparent adoptions / close relative adoptions give relatives the right to assume custody and control of the child. These types of adoptions give the family the ability to seek medical attention for the child, to enroll the child in school, and to openly communicate with teachers and administrators about the child's welfare. Without an adoption or temporary custody over the child, the extended family will most likely be prevented from receiving any information regarding the child from schools, medical centers, and the like. Florida statute favors adoptions by blood relatives, especially when existing close relationships with the children have occurred. These types of adoptions often occur much faster and have less bureaucratic red-tape than adoptions by non-relatives.

Contested Adoptions

In situations where adoption is contentious, you can benefit from our lead attorney's 30-plus years of courtroom litigation experience. We represent clients who seek to adopt children from unfit parents fighting to keep custody as well as clients who seek to prevent adoptions by competing parties. Contested adoptions are exceedingly delicate. You can count on us to exercise caution, discretion, and compassion while representing your interests and the best interests of the children.

Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. - Commitment to Families Building Families

Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. is committed to helping families build families. We can help with issues regarding Identified Adoptions, Interstate Adoptions, International Adoptions, Step-parent Adoptions, Grandparent or Close Relative Adoptions, and Surrogacy Plans. We also assist in matching birth mothers with adoptive parents.

The attorneys at Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. have a strong commitment to assist, counsel, and represent clients and their families through the adoption process in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding counties of Duval, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns. Michael, David and Jennifer have handled a wide range of adoption services for families, including identified adoptions, interstate adoptions, international adoptions, step-parent adoptions, and grandparent or close relative adoptions. Commitment, compliance, and communication are the three keys to a successful adoption, and our firm will provide each a thorough and comprehensive adoption plan to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. If you have an adoption question or need, please call us at (904) 355-8888 or contact us online.

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David Wolf is an excellent attorney. He is my FIRST call when a problem arises. He has represented me on a few matters and guided me on others. He is responsive, professional, and compassionate. If you want a down to earth attorney who will fight for your rights, David Wolf would be a good choice for you. - Karen E.
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