Monday, June 10, 2019

Myths about Adoption

What’s holding you back from adopting a child? Could it be the rumors and myths about adoption that float around?  We are here to ease your mind and put few common myths to put to rest.  

Image result for adoption images

I can’t afford adoption: When looking into adoption it can become incredibly overwhelming and a lot of people get turned off by thinking they can’t afford what it costs to adopt a child.  There are so many different options when looking into adoption financially.  What you need to do is make sure you take the time to do your research and prepare for the costs to come.  There are different grants and low interest loans you can look into applying for.  Like any major financial decision, you have to sit down and prepare for it. Here are a list of Adoption Aid Grants
Adoption takes too long: Like all great things in life, adoption does not happen overnight.  You have to be patient and take it one step at a time.  The process can go a little faster if you are equipped to adopt a child with special needs, an older child or sibling groups.  International adoptions will take a little more time, and often, it is in fact easier to adopt from the U.S. Foster Care.  It takes about a year to adopt from the foster care system and it can take from two to five years to adopt internationally.  

Image result for adoptionRelatives may find the child and take them back: This is not legally possible in most states due to laws which sever the rights of relatives after the adoption is finalized.  Once an adoption is final, there is no reversing it.  Before an adoption is final, there are a series of steps to insure that this will not happen.  Biological parents are looked for and contacted if they have taken the necessary steps to insure that they will receive notice of an adoption plan, such as registering with a Putative Father Registry.  If the biological father does properly register to receive notice of the adoption plan, then he must decide if he can care for the child or if the child should be adopted. 

In terms of other family members, usually, they are not entitled to notice of an adoption plan.  However, in some states, relatives who have legal custody are entitled to notice and to contest an adoption plan.  And when a child is placed through the foster care system, relatives are looked to as alternatives families when parents are not able to parent.  


Foster care kids are out of control and dangerous
: It is true that a lot of children in foster care have experienced neglect and/or abuse that cause them to have developmental and behavior issues but they are not juvenile delinquents. They have experienced situations that have lead them not to feel safe. 
These kids need a safe and nurturing home so they can become wonderful young adults.

Image result for adoption images
Single parents can’t adopt
:
There is opportunity for all to adopt.  Just because you are single, does not mean there isn’t a way for you to adopt a child. What matters is that you are able to provide a loving, safe and supportive home for a child.  This goes with age as well.  You don't have to be young to adopt either; in fact older parents are typically the sought out demographic for adoptio
n.  It is recommended to contact a reputable agency for more information on age requirements depending on where is it you are looking to adopt from.  For different countries requirements will change. 


These are only a few of the many myths when it comes to adoption. But we hope we have eased your mind about some of the biggest myths floating around.  Remember to always do your research and make sure you are getting your information from reliable sources. the Law Offices of Karen S. Law PLC does adoption overview planning sessions which will tailor the best approach for your family.  The fee is nominal and this can save you a lot of time.  We also help you determine which adoption agencies will be the best fit for your family.  

To schedule your adoption overview meeting, please contact us today:  Schedule@lawadoption.com or call 703 723 4385.


Drafted by Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.
Disclaimer

Image result for adoptionThis web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this blog are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2019.

Tax Time: No Social Security Number for your Adopted Child?

With tax season just past us, I received many phone calls from families who had adopted in 2018 but their finalization was not able to be processed before the end of the year. That means that the child was not issued a Social Security Number in time for their tax return. This is hugely significant in terms of claiming the child as a dependent and also obtaining the Adoption Tax Credit.

Image result for 1040 form imageI also see this when the adoption has been finalized but the child has not yet received the new birth certificate.  Usually, to obtain a social security number, you have to have the new birth certificate and that can take several months and up to a year after the adoption is finalized.

So, for next year, if you adopt, go ahead and obtain an Adoption Tax Identification Number ("ATIN") as soon as the child is placed with you.  Contact the IRS at https://www.irs.gov/. The form you need to fill out is the W-7A: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw7a.pdf.  You will need to complete the form, sign it, and mail it with backup documentation:

In general, one of the following documents will satisfy this requirement. A copy of the placement agreement entered into between you and an authorized placement agency. A copy of the document signed by a hospital official authorizing the release of a newborn child from the hospital to you for legal adoption. A copy of the court order or other court document ordering or approving the placement of a child with you for legal adoption. An affidavit signed by the adoption attorney or government official who placed the child with you for legal adoption pursuant to state law. Foreign adoptions. In addition, if you adopt a foreign child with U.S. citizenship or resident alien status, include with your Form W-7A a copy of your child’s: Permanent resident card (green card), Certificate of Citizenship, or Passport with “I-551” stamp

Currently you would file this form with documentation by mailing to:

Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Stop 6182 Austin, TX 73301-0066
However, you should double check the mailing address on the W-7A instructions before you mail it:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw7a.pdf

It can take up to 8 weeks to receive the ATIN so fill the form out ASAP!

The ATIN can be used in lieu of a social security number for up to two years. Once you receive your child's new birth certificate, you can go to the Social Security office nearest you and obtain a Social Security number for your child.  Then, you will swap out the Social Security number for the ATIN the following year.

What if the child you adopted is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident?  You cannot use this form.  Instead, you will use the Form W-7 and obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number ("ITIN").  The instructions for the ITIN are found here:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw7.pdf.

One key timing difference is that for the ITIN, you cannot file it in advance.  You file it WITH your tax return and you have to use a paper filing for your tax return, not electronic filing.  Read the instructions carefully because, many ITIN applications are rejected for failure to provide the proper documentation.

Disclaimer

This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of possible clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2019.




Monday, March 25, 2019

How do I claim my adopted child with out a social security number?

How do I claim my adopted child with out a social security number?

1) If you child is a U.S. Citizen go to IRS.gov and fill out the W-7A form before filing your taxes (do that now since it can take up to a month to process)

2) If your child is not a U.S. Citizen then while you are filing fill out the W-7 and then in the SS# space fill in applied for.

https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/research/the_facts_about_the_individual_tax_identification_number.pdf














Disclaimer

This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of possible clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2019.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

SIJS PROCESSING TIMES UPDATE

SIJS Processing Times Updates

I've filed a number of SIJS cases since May 2017 with no action.  Under TVPRA 2008, those cases are supposed to be decided within 6 months and that is what we used to see.  However, a number of factors have created the perfect storm to slow down decisions by USCIS.

SIJS cases are now all routed to the National Benefits Center, instead of decided at local Field Offices.  There was a huge influx of children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador fleeing gang violence and unsafe conditions beginning in 2014: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/15/us/questions-about-the-border-kids.html.  Many of those children applied for this pathway to a lawful permanent resident card.  This pathway differs from asylum in that it is limited to children who have been abandoned, abused or neglected by one or more of their birth parents.  They also have to be under the age of 18 (unless their state court extends eligibility to age 21), be placed under the custody of an individual or placed in foster care, and it has to be found that it would not be in their best interests to return to their home country. 


Centralization of these cases at the National Benefits Center is designed to lead to more consistent decisions, unlike in the past when similar facts would lead to different results based on which local office decided the case.  However, centralization combined with a huge influx of cases have led to long delays in decisions.

Many of my clients are desperate to get authority to work, apply for college, obtain a driver's license or otherwise move on with their lives.  In all of my cases, the children have actually been adopted by U.S. citizens.  However, due to the delays, they are stuck in limbo.

At the fall AILA D.C. Regional Conference last week, we discussed this problem.  Other practitioners report that there is no meaningful way to check the status of their case because processing times for the I-360 form decided at the National Benefits Center are not listed on the www.uscis.gov web-site.  If they call the USCIS Customer Service Number, they are told to make an Infopass appointment at their local office.  This is not helpful because the case is not located at the local office.  One Customer Service staffer told my client to write a letter to the Vermont Service Center to inquire about the case status.  This was completely  erroneous because the case is being processed at a different location, the National Benefits Center.  We have also found that inquires from U.S. Senators or Representatives and the USCIS Ombudsmen's Office lead to canned responses that the cases are being worked on and are in the queue.

We applaud the efforts to bring consistency to the process through centralization at the National Benefits Center.  However, we strongly suggest that USCIS update the web-site and train customer service representatives to give more accurate information about case status.  These vulnerable children deserve that.


Disclaimer



This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2018.

Monday, September 24, 2018

TWO ISSUES IN CLOSE RELATIVE ADOPTIONS in 2018

TWO ISSUES IN CLOSE RELATIVE ADOPTIONS in 2018

I.  Bona fides—Sham Adoption

The big problem now with close relative immigration cases is that USCIS is attacking them based on the bona fides of the adoption.  The typical objection is that it is not a real adoption/family formation situation but only a way to get older relatives to the U.S. to obtain a better education.  You can meet all the criteria in the adoption itself for the immigration filing (Hague compliance, under the age limit, obtain two years of legal and physical custody, completed adoption), and get a denial based on the bona fides.

The analogy that is made is to sham marriages or cases of marriage fraud. The Immigration cases cited deal with marriage fraud.  However, unlike in marriage fraud cases, the child whose adoption is considered suspect does not automatically receive an in person interview with an officer where the relationship can be explained and tested.  The decision is made based on the adoption order, the pleadings, and home study reports that are submitted with the immigration filing.

The cases at risk for this response from USCIS involve:

older children relatives adoption completed quickly after the child entered the U.S. lots of talk in the pleadings/home study/ background documents about the child needing a better education no compelling reason for the child to leave her home abroad, such as a medical or health reason married birth parents who are adequately providing for the child before the child arrives birth parents that have consented to the adoption (as opposed to being notified and failing to respond)

How to combat this?  We know that USCIS will ask for the home study and the petition and the GAL report, and even a transcript of the underlying adoption.  So, the way that the adoption case is presented will have a big impact when the immigration case is filed several years later.

Preparation

When the client says that they want to adopt the relative who just arrived here from a foreign country, it is helpful to ask:

1.  What is the problem in the birth home? 2.   Who takes care of the child in that home?  Who provides meals?  Pays for school?  Supervises daily activities? 3.  Does the child have any health challenges?  Would they be better met in the U.S.? 4.  Where do the birth parents work?  Do they come home every night? 5.  Has there been any yelling in the home?  Any physical abuse? 6.  What is the health of the birth parents?  Do they have medical needs? 7.  Does prior guardianship or custody order exist in the home country?  Why was it issued?  A power of attorney is not a formal court ordered guardianship or custody order, so be aware of the difference.

The social worker involved in the home-study can also carefully explore these issues.

We try to build favorable findings of fact into the adoption pleadings, order, and the home study report to the extent that they are present, of course. 

Pleadings and Adoption Order

USCIS considers the following to be factors establishing that the adoption is bona fide:

1.  Parents are incapable of providing proper care and explain why that is. This does not have to rise to the level of abandonment, abuse or neglect under state law, but of course, if you have that, include that information and the citation. 2.  Child has a medical or emotional need that cannot be met by parents 3.  Lapse of time between when the child came to the U.S. and the adoption—at least 90 days and 6 months is better unless the child will age out for the immigration benefit (16, unless younger sibling and then, it is up to 18). Two years is ideal in a Hague case.1   4.  No preconceived intent to adopt--the child came here and AFTER they came, it became apparent that the child could not go home 5.  No prior custody or guardianship order in the home country before the child came –if this does exist, was it issued properly with appropriate notice to all parties? Or, perhaps, it is just an informal power of attorney? 6.  Primary parental control—the adoptive parents are paying expenses and supervising day to day activities. The birth parents are uninvolved or minimally involved. They lived a great distance away from the child and the adoptive parents.

It is suggested that you put as much of this as you have into the pleadings and order. Key phrases to include in your findings of fact are:

The biological parents are “incapable of providing proper care”.                                                           
 1 However, it would be wise to get a custody order in the meantime to allow the child to register for school and to start the two years of legal custody for the immigration filing.


 The biological parents were notified of the adoption and have not objected. If you can satisfy state law without obtaining their consents, but simply with notice and a failure to object, that is preferable.

II. Habitual Residence

As you are aware, when a U.S. citizen is adopting a child who is a citizen of a Hague Adoption Convention country domestically, the Convention is a critical factor.  There are two options:

First, notify the Central Authority of the child’s country of origin of the proposed adoption and request a determination of Habitual Residency.  Then, record the favorable response in the Final Adoption Order or a supplemental Order.

OR

Notify the Central Authority, wait 120 days, and then record in the Final Adoption Order, or a supplemental Order that the notice was sent and the Central Authority failed to respond or to request additional time.

In early 2018, USCIS updated the Habitual Residence Memorandum which sets forth the criteria for notifying the Central Authority of a pending adoption of a child who is a citizen of a Hague Convention Country.

The final Memorandum, PM 602-0095, was dated November 20, 2017 but released to the public on January 18, 2018.  A copy of the final Memorandum can be found on the USCIS web-site at www.uscis.gov.

All practitioners who are seeking to notify the Central Authority of an adoption as of January 18, 2018, must follow the guidance in the final memorandum which is more involved and detailed than the interim guidance.

In particular, practitioners are required to:

Send complete copies of the pleadings with translations

Notify the Central Authority of the date, time and place of the hearing on the matter

Send the notice by certified mailing and not by email or fax unless you can establish that your state law notice requirements permit emailed or faxed notice

The final Order must state that notice was provided to the Central Authority, that they had 120 days to respond or to request an extension of time to respond, and that the Central Authority either did or did not respond.

The final Order must explicitly state that the Court required the attorney to provide any and all responses obtained from the Central Authority in response to the notice.

A copy of the notice must be provided to the Court along with proof of service.

The notice itself must contain the following language:

When notifying the Central Authority of the child’s COO of the adoption proceedings, petitioners must follow the court’s rules of procedure or the instructions in a specific order from the court. The notice must include a copy of the adoption petition or the motion for amended adoption order and must also clearly specify: o The name of the child, together with the place and date of birth of the child and the name(s) of the birth parent(s), if known; o The country of the child’s nationality; o The name of the agency or individual that is the Central Authority in the COO; o The name of the adopting parents; o The date of the child’s departure from the COO, if known; o The date of the child’s arrival in the United States, if known; and o The court name and the date, time, and place of the court’s hearing on the adoption petition or motion for amended adoption order.

Additionally, the notice should indicate that the Central Authority should notify the court if the Central Authority: o Does not intend to object, or o Requires additional time beyond 120 days.2

It is suggested that the Notice also contain a Request for a Habitual Residence Determination. Specifically, that the Central Authority is aware of the child’s presence in the U.S., is aware of the proposed adoption and has determined that the child is not habitually resident in its country of citizenship and does not object to the state court’s exercise of jurisdiction over the adoption.

The Final Memo also says that for the immigration filing to be approved when there is no response from the Central Authority, the family must also prove:

Compelling ties—that the child had an established relationship to the U.S.  an adoption which occurs more than two years after the child’s arrival will be presumed to fulfill this criterion.

Intent—that there was no preconceived intent for the child to be adopted.  Note the similarity to the separate bona fide argument explained above.

Unknown Factors

                                                       
 2 PM-602-0095: Criteria for Determining Habitual Residence in the United States for Children from Hague Convention Countries, Page 11

Since the new Memo came into effect on January 18, 2018 and the Interim Memo was in effect beginning February 4, 2014, what about adoptions which were completed in that four year period which did not comply with the new detailed requirements? The final Memo purports that adoptions in that time frame should have somehow complied with these unknown detailed notice requirements, which AAAA challenged in our Comments. In the past, it has been suggested that the practitioner simply reopen these adoptions and re-do the notice.  However, that is not feasible in many states due to statutes of repose for adoptions.

Second, what if there is no hearing in your close relative adoption case?  How could you notify the Central Authority of a date and time for a hearing?

The overall point of this practice pointer is that it is essential when doing a relative adoption to involve an Immigration practitioner from the onset of the adoption, not afterwards.




Written by Karen S. Law, Attorney of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.
Disclaimer
This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this blog are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2018.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

How Good is Your Adoption Agency?



I often am asked if a particular agency is a reputable agency.  The number one piece of advice that I offer is to always use a licensed adoption agency if you are considering placing a child for adoption OR if you are seeking to adopt.

Why?

Over the years, I've seen countless expectant parents suffer heartbreak when they have innocently connected with an adoption facilitator online instead of a licensed adoption agency with a physical address in their area.  The facilitator makes big promises and develops a phone relationship.  But, there are no on the ground services to the expectant parent,such as referrals for housing or job assistance, or pregnancy support centers, or doctors or clinics in her area.  And, no real pregnancy counseling.  As a result, the expectant parent is often unprepared to make an informed adoption decision when she gives birth.

This same issue of lack of training and on the ground services leads many expectant parents to "change their minds" about the placement in the hospital.  The prospective adoptive parent she has been matched with then experiences the heartbreak of a failed adoption.

So overall, I strongly encourage you to make sure that any adoption "agency" is truly that.  A state licensed agency, not an adoption facilitator.  For more information, the FAQs below will be helpful:

Question: What is a Facilitator?

Answer: A facilitator is a person or organization whose only task is to make an introduction between  expectant parents and adoptive parents, in exchange for a large, nonrefundable fee paid in advance.

Question: Are facilitators regulated?

Answer: In some states they are, but in most states, facilitators are prohibited.

***Note: Expectant parents considering adoption as well as prospective adoptive parents should exercise GREAT CAUTION, as it can be difficult to determine whether an entity is licensed as an adoption agency or acting solely as a facilitator.

Question: Are adoptions arranged by facilitators successful?

Answer: Adoptions arranged by facilitators often fail for many different reasons.  Facilitators do not have the training, skill, or experience to ensure a safe and legal outcome.

Question: What if they (facilitators) say they are experts?

Answer: While they do often present themselves as "adoption experts", they are typically unsupervised and unregulated, and may have little to no experience providing adoption services.  They are not required to adhere to set standards in terms of education or best practices in most states, and thus have little accountability when it comes to providing pre-adoption training and counseling or post-adoption services.

***Note: The essential services that goes along with the adoption process are best provided by experienced, licensed adoption professionals who will promise to partner for the long-term success of a family and help meet the often unpredictable, long-term needs of children. 

Question: If we are to exercise great caution, then why are facilitators so popular and easy to find?

Answer: There are many different reasons as to why prospective adoptive families and expectant parents are using facilitators. A facilitator can expand the pool of potential expectant parents who can be matched with an adoptive family, which is attractive to adoptive families and pulls them in.  Also, in some cases it is difficult for older and/or "nontraditional" families to meet the criteria established by local licensed agencies for being matched with an expectant family; this may lead them to choose a facilitator who will help them locate out-of-state expectant parents. 
             
Some expectant parents considering adoption choose to work with a facilitator out of desire for privacy.  Sometimes their prenatal and/or adoption-related expenses cannot be fully compensated according to the law of their state. Simply, people go to facilitators because they do not understand the difference between a facilitator and an agency, and do not know that they are legally entitled to more comprehensive services. 

Question: Why is there so much advertising for facilitators and very little for agencies?

Answer: This is one of the biggest risks, because they are so easily available. Facilitators typically have enormous advertising budgets and pay top dollar for search engine optimization.  As a result, an expectant parent or adoptive parent often finds a facilitator by performing a basic search online, before consulting with a licensed agency or experienced adoption attorney.
              
Many nonprofit adoption agencies are struggling to find the resources for search engine optimization and online advertising, as they cannot compromise the quality of services provided to adoptive parents and birth parents, and are reluctant to raise fees to cover rising costs.


***RECOMMENDATIONS***

~Better enforcement of existing laws
                               
 If a state such as California permits facilitators to operate, we would suggest strict enforcement of licensing and training requirements as well as advertising disclosure restrictions.  If the state prohibits facilitators from operating, especially if this is accomplished through close monitoring of fees paid, more rigorous enforcement by the state Attorneys General and stricter oversight by ICPC offices would significantly limit the activities of facilitators in those states.

~Advertising disclosure laws
                             
We recommend both state and federal laws mandating that print and Internet advertising by facilitators disclose both the state(s) where the entity is located and whether they are licensed to operate in the state where the advertising appears.  This would give prospective adoptive parents and expectant parents more information to decide whether to work with a particular entity.  It would also ensure that individual state standards are met.

~Research and die diligence on the part of adoptive parents
                             Prospective adoptive parents should check with state licensing to determine whether an agency or entity is a licensed child-placing agency.  If it is an out-of-state entity, the adoptive parents should check with state licensing where the entity is located, and be certain that it has the ability to provide or arrange for all the services necessary for an ethical and successful adoption.  Some adoptive parents will still choose to work with facilitators to expand their search for an expectant mother, but they must be aware of the risks and benefits involved.

~Full Compliance with the ICPC
                                 
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) aims to safeguard children placed for adoption across state lines, with requirements for sending agencies and the receiving state's ICPC office administrator.  Children can only be placed across state lines after the receiving state has determined that it does not violate their best interests.  Prospective parents adopting a child from another state must ensure that their agency is capable of meeting and fully complying with all ICPC requirements.

~Expectant parents must know their rights
                                  
Expectant parents should be aware that they will typically receive a higher level of service from an agency that has a physical presence in their state.  Local agencies can provide in-person, ongoing options counseling from a social worker with knowledge of resources in the community, and can also ensure that the expectant parents' emotional, legal, and medical needs are met before they are called upon to select adoptive parents or make an adoption plan.  Expectant parents may also be more likely to receive the information agreed upon about the child after the placement if an agency is used, and will now who to turn to if they need post-placement counseling.  If expectant parents choose to work with a facilitator instead, they should request a higher level of service and expect in-person counseling by a licensed child-placing agency working with the facilitator.  They should have the opportunity to meet with an attorney in their state as well as the laws in the state where the adoptive parents reside.  They should also have the opportunity to meet potential adoptive families before they select a family to parent their child.

~Improved oversight of adoption fees
                                    
State laws should require full disclosure of all fees paid by an adoptive family for an adoption placement.  There should be full oversight of these fees mandated by the state Attorney General's Office.  State laws for limits on fees should also be enforced, and states with no limits should review their laws.

This post is an excerpt from Adoption Advocate No. 70: The Role of Facilitators in Adoption, Published April 2014 by Karen S. Law, Esq. and Teresa M. McDonough, ACSW, Nicole Callahan, Editor, Chuck Johnson, Editor: https://www.adoptioncouncil.org/publications/adoption-advocate-no-70.html










Drafted by Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.
Disclaimer
This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this blog are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2018.






Saturday, May 26, 2018

Our Adoption Story

Over the years we have had a number of clients; the happiness that shows on their faces once they have received the news that they are being matched with a child, is an experience like no other. We asked a client of ours to share her story. Due to privacy, there will be no names mentioned, but here in her own words is what she has to share with all of you.
"It was a surprisingly warm day in early April 2017. That morning, my husband and I were debating whether to catch a Washington Nationals game. Instead, we took a phone call from our adoption agency that would change everything.
We learned that a baby girl had been born the day before less than an hour from our home and her birth mother was interested in meeting us. We had just a few hours to decide whether we wanted to move forward with this case. The agency told us as much as they could. So much was unknown including the baby’s race and family medical history. However, we did know that she would most likely be in the NICU for several weeks to care for a treatable medical condition. Additionally, there would be some complications in terms of terminating paternal rights.
That’s when all our training paid off. The year leading up to our adoption was an important time of learning and preparing for our new role as adoptive parents.
We had originally started the adoption process about a year before and after we had ended fertility treatments. When we realized that being biological parents would not be possible for us, we talked about why we wanted to have kids and what our life goals were. We decided that in the end our goal was to be parents. Adoption was not our first choice, but that didn’t make it second best. In fact, we learned that entering this amazing community of adoption was more impactful that we could have imagined.
We did our initial interviews with our adoption agency during the summer of 2016 and quickly worked to complete our home study process. We zipped through the paperwork in just two weeks. An in depth excel chart and nightly meetings at the dinner table helped us to burn through it. We knew that so much of the adoption process was out of our hands, so we wanted to be quick with what WAS within our control. Meeting with the social worker and attending in person and online training helped prepare us to be adoptive parents and make the decisions that we would need to make regarding health challenges, family medical history and drug exposure status. Our home study was completed in the Fall of 2016 and we began the waiting game.
Our advice for other families is to stay hopeful. The question with adoption is not a matter of if you will have a child but a matter of when. We were overjoyed and overwhelmed when we became parents in April 2017. Our little girl is now 1 years old and we look back on our journey with such joy. There were certainly roller coaster moments but we always felt surrounded by experts from our adoption agency and our lawyer Karen S. Law who held our hand and worked the steps for us.
Our adoption story is our favorite story to tell so we are sharing it in the hopes that it helps another family on the journey to parenthood".





Drafted by an actual client of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law with the assistance of Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.

Disclaimer

This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2018.