We are closely following the California case (Lexi's Case) that has been receiving international attention and support reform to ICWA that may result in the public's knowledge of how ICWA is being used. Unfortunately, Lexi is not alone. These types of situations have been happening for years - probably most well known is the Baby Veronica case (Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl). There are many more - many more families who were scared to go to the media as their families and lives were devastated. These public cases are not anomalies. Lexi’s case shows clearly the tragedy that ensures when the child’s best interest is not the ultimate test of where a child should be placed. Lexi’s case is now before the United States Supreme Court on a petition for writ of certiorari, which the Academy supported by filing an amicus brief in support of the appellant former foster parents to Lexi, arguing the child’s best interests must be the paramount consideration in ICWA cases.

When you have spent months or years raising a child, you know something about their best interests, and it is important that you have your say before someone else takes these crucial decisions away from you. A child is to be removed from your home for reasons which are not in the child’s best interests. Foster care may have dragged on way past legal deadlines. Disagreements about the case plan itself that involve visitation, education, and other important matters may surface. You may need an advocate in court when your voice is not being heard on important issues. Foster parents who are appropriately assertive are more apt to be fully heard. To have an attorney to speak for you or to back you up often makes a big difference.


Complete a judicial internship with a family law judge. Working alongside a family law judge can provide students with an introduction into how the courts handle family law disputes. Students are assigned to a family law court and gain valuable information and experience in mediation, negotiations between attorneys and judges, court trials, jury selection, and other aspects of the legal system that may not be part of the student's curriculum.
Keep in mind that adoption laws differ from state to state. Missouri and Kansas adoption laws are not the same and sometimes, the legal procedures to complete an adoption differ, depending on the county where the adoption case is filed. If an adoption involves two states (adoptive parents reside in a different state than the child’s birth mother), then a law called the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) must be complied with. If ICPC is not complied with, the adoption can be jeopardized. It is important to have an experienced adoption attorney who knows the relevant laws and procedures that will apply to your adoption so that your journey to parenthood is completed in a lawful and ethical manner.
Training: Texas provides a 35-hour Parent Resource Information Development Education (PRIDE) course providing instruction regarding basic child care, along with specific considerations that for each prospective adoptive parent. Prospective adoptive parents will also participate in three additional training and certification programs outside of the PRIDE program, each designed to further educate the adoptive parents regarding meeting the needs of their adoptive child.
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You should expect to end the process with a child who is a legal member of your family. The entire adoption can take up to 5 years including waiting periods, but it’ll take less time depending on your case. If there are any legal complications or you don’t pass some of the qualifying examinations, the process could take longer. An adoption attorney can guide you through this and potentially expedite the process by knowing who to talk to and what paperwork to file.
The Hague Convention provides a specific process for international adoption that starts with a home study of the adoptive parents by a certified agency. The adoptive parents file Form I-800A with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which in turn sends its approval to the child’s home country. The authorities in that country match the application with a specific child and prepare a report. If the adoptive parents approve the match, they file Form I-800, which is provisionally approved and forwarded to the consular post of the State Department.
These days there are a lot more options available to adoption lawyers for the adoption process. Adoptive families can adopt a child much easier than ever before. For example, as an adoptive parent, you can choose a closed adoption where the parents remain anonymous, or opt for the increasingly common open adoption where you actually meet and can maintain contact with the birth parents.
Academy President, Colleen Quinn, one of the final round judges is pictured above with the winning team.  Congratulations to the runner-up team from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Heather Nelson and James Naughton.  The Academy extends its thanks to Capital Law School and all participating 23 teams for the excellence demonstrated throughout this competition.
In order to adopt the child, you must first terminate the parents’ rights (TPR) to the child. Although South Carolina has eleven grounds on which parental rights can be terminated, the most common are failure to visit and failure to support the child, each in excess of six months. The court must also decide if termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interests.
You should expect to end the process with a child who is a legal member of your family. The entire adoption can take up to 5 years including waiting periods, but it’ll take less time depending on your case. If there are any legal complications or you don’t pass some of the qualifying examinations, the process could take longer. An adoption attorney can guide you through this and potentially expedite the process by knowing who to talk to and what paperwork to file.
You may request to adopt your step son or step daughter, which is known as a Step Parent Adoption. In order to adopt a step child, the natural parent (not your spouse) must be given notice of your intention and must be given the opportunity to consent to the adoption. This is one of the most common forms of adoption, in its agreed form. In this type of case, the judge will decide if an attorney ad litem is required to represent the child, in which case you will have to pay that attorney as well. Some judges don’t require an attorney ad litem for the child in a step parent adoption, so the situation may differ from case to case. Once a child is adopted, the biological rights of one natural parent are usually terminated, and all the parental rights are usually created in favor of the adoptive parent.
Adoption law falls under Family Law and is mainly governed by the states in which the parent and child live. Adoption law requires adoption lawyers to establish a process by which a legal parent-child relationship is created between individuals who are not biologically parent and child. The biological parent gives up all parental rights and obligations, and these rights and obligations are assumed by the adoptive parents.
DISCLAIMER: The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) website is designed for general information only. Nothing on this website establishes an attorney-client relationship with AAAA or any of its member-attorneys. Nor does AAAA’s website content constitute legal advice from AAAA or its member-attorneys to the reader or the public.  The law constantly changes and varies state-to-state.  Before relying on any general legal information contained herein, please consult legal counsel in your state of residence as to your particular situation. Click here for the AAAA Attorney Directory. The names and contact information included on this site are for the purpose of searching for an attorney for a particular legal case. The contact information may not be used for commercial, promotional, or advertising purposes.
Sugar Land adoption attorney Yasmin Kutty helps families living in and around the counties of Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Montgomery navigate this often complex process. Working individually with your family, Attorney Kutty will make sure you are kept both aware and prepared for all legal matters revolving around adoption. Although the idea of adoption is fairly straightforward, several steps are required before a child can be placed in the custody of a new family. Attorney Kutty works to make this process simpler, allowing you to focus on the joys of welcoming a new addition without having to fret over loose ends that may interfere.
The adoption process is a delicate endeavor that, if done correctly, will make each step toward parenthood as smooth and as painless as possible. However, in order for things to proceed effortlessly, you cannot just hire any lawyer. You need to hire an adoption law firm well-versed in every nuance of Georgia adoption law. Hiring a top adoption lawyer will protect you from all-too-common delays, process problems, and unnecessary costs.
When my wife and I adopted our son, we were told that we needed to hire multiple attorneys. One to represent the birth mother. One to represent the child. One to represent the birth father. And one to represent us. When we adopted our daughter we needed even more. One for the child. One for the birth mother. One for us. And one for each of the three possible birth fathers! We were outnumbered! Since no agency was involved, the attorney fees, the home study and the court costs were our only expenses. And when it came time to file our income taxes we claimed the adoption tax credit and were reimbursed the entire amount. Both times.  We were fortunate. Adoptions can be, and in most cases are much more expensive.
Conversely, a family can choose to work with an adoption attorney in conjunction with a full-service adoption agency that has expertise, experience and resources dedicated to each aspect of the adoption process. Not only can an agency like American Adoptions meet your needs at every step of the way, we also connect families with trusted adoption attorneys for the legal aspects of adoption; that way you don’t have to go out interviewing attorneys on your own.
The adoptive parents can’t leave the state where the baby was born until they comply with ICPC and the ICPC offices in the sending and the receiving state has cleared the adoptive parents to come home. Clearing ICPC requires submitting several documents (in California this packet can be nearly 50 pages), including affidavits made by attorneys from each state that the state laws have been complied with. Submitting an incomplete packet will delay clearance, leaving the adoptive parents in limbo. Work with an experienced attorney to avoid the stress, delay, and cost of complying with ICPC.
Adoption is a process by which a parent-child relationship is created between individuals. By adoption, a person becomes the legal guardian of a child. Adoption results in terminating parental rights of birth parents and transferring those rights to the adoptive parents. After the adoption process, the adoptee becomes the legal heir of the adopter.

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Adopting a step-child follows the same general process as adopting any other child; however, it can be much faster because you may be able to skip some of the steps. The adoption home study required in most adoptions, for example, may not be required in a step-parent adoption. In addition, the mandatory six month waiting period is usually waived in a step-parent adoption. The parental rights of the child’s other biological parent, however, must still be terminated prior to, or simultaneously with, the adoption process.  If the child’s other parent has not already lost his/her parental rights, you will need to address that issue during the adoption process. The biological parent can voluntarily relinquish his/her parental rights, making the adoption process much simpler for everyone involved. If the biological parent is not willing to voluntarily terminate his/her rights, you will need to convince the court that terminating his/her rights is in the child’s best interest.
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