Your Adoption Attorney in Vancouver, WA
Experienced Adoption attorney in Vancouver, WA. Kathleen has represented persons in all aspects of adoption in her law practice over the past 30 years.
Ms. McCann offers adoption legal services for:
The adoption process involves creating new legal parents and terminating the rights and obligations of the existing legal parents.
Types of Adoption
The basic types include:
- Full, Private Adoption. Usually, the birth mother chooses a private party or couple with whom to place the child for adoption. The child can be born or unborn. Birth parents often find adoptive parents through friends, family, the internet, and other resources instead of having an agency develop the placements. The process in a full, private adoption includes a variety of issues and tasks depending on the case. The tasks can include filing the case with the court, filing the home study, preparing and filing consents to the adoption and termination of parental rights by natural parents, providing notice to alleged fathers obtaining temporary custody orders, working with the parties to develop and obtain court approval of open adoption agreements or financial issues in adoption, working with other states if transfer across state lines is anticipated, finalizing and obtaining a decree of adoption, obtaining a new birth certificate which identifies the adoptive parents as the parents of the child and establishing the child’s new name.
- Stepparent Adoption. Stepparent adoptions happen primarily when the natural mother’s spouse adopts her child, becoming the new legal parent. A stepparent adoption can either be by consent from the biological father or through involuntary termination of his status where he has failed to perform his duties as a parent. If involuntary, there is a requirement of notice. Termination can be by default when the biological parent has not responded or after a contested hearing. A social worker’s report called a post-placement report, is required in a stepparent adoption.
- Re-adoptions after a completed International Adoption. Where a child is adopted internationally, usually through an agency from such countries as China, Russia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Vietnam, and others, the foreign adoption can be approved in Washington. In a readoption, the Washington Court recognizes the validity of the foreign adoption decree and authorizes the Washington Department of Health Statistics to issue a Washington birth certificate.
- Finalization of Adoption of Child out of Foster Care. Finalization of adoptions through placement by DSHS with foster-adopt parents is a type of adoption. This happens after the biological parent’s rights have been terminated in a Juvenile Court Dependency case. The child is then legally free. Washington is usually the consenting party in these cases. The biological parents may have participated in the adoption plan with DSHS and have either consented to the termination of their parental rights and the adoption or their rights were terminated involuntarily. After termination of rights, the adoption is filed and finalized by the Superior Court.
- Adult Adoptions. Often, for personal and symbolic reasons, another adult adopts an adult. In adult adoptions, there is no need to obtain consent or provide notice to the natural or legal parents of the child. There is also no need for a pre or post-placement report (home study).
- Agency Adoption. Agency adoptions typically occur when a birth mother works with a licensed child placement agency to place her child with an adoptive couple. The adoptive parents usually pay a significant fee to work with the agency to locate a child to adopt. The Agency finds a match, makes the placement, and is ultimately the consenting party in the finalization of the adoption.
The adoption laws that the lawyer addresses include the Washington adoption statute. Sometimes, there are also federal laws regarding special procedures in the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), and the Service Members Civil Relief Act.
The adoption home study is called a pre or post-placement report. A home study is required in a full private adoption before any orders can be extended. Both a pre and post-placement report are required in a full private adoption, whereas in a stepparent adoption, only a post-placement report is required.