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Adoption Blog: Talk to AF

Expert Q&A Webinar: Getting Started in Independent Adoption



adoption attorney Janna J. AnnestWhat are the first steps toward adopting a newborn in the U.S. and is this the right route for me? From hiring your team and putting together your profile to matching with an expectant mother and discussing ongoing contact, adoption attorney Janna J. Annest will address common first questions. Join us for the Adoptive FamiliesExpert Q&A Webinar: Getting Started in Independent Adoption on January 22, 2014 from 1PM to 2PM EST to ask your questions. Submit questions in advance by posting a comment below. (We will ask the expert as many questions as possible during the webinar, but we can't guarantee that any question, whether submitted in advance or during the webcast, will be answered.)

Janna J. Annest, J.D., is an adoption attorney who has practiced law with the firm of Mills Meyers Swartling since 2003, and a frequent contributor to Adoptive Families magazine. She lives in Seattle, Washington, and is the mother of two children adopted domestically.

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See the full lineup of upcoming Adoptive Families webcasts and listen to recordings of past sessions.


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8 Comments

If we are adopting within our own state but the birth mother is several hours away, is it better to have a attorney local to us, local to her or one in both counties?  How is TPR handled, in person, through the mail?  Does it need to be notarized? If so, do hospitals have a staff member who notarizes it?

By TrippleB on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm.

Do you need a attorney to be involved to get access to prenatal medical records? For example, proof of pregnancy.

By TrippleB on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm.

To TrippleB:  You are going to need two attorney’s irregardless.  Even if you are in same town.  You need to be represented & your expectant mother needs counsel as well.  I am not sure what states you are referring to, but in our state, our attorney wouldn’t even consider taking our case if we didn’t agree up front to pay for our birth mother’s attorney…in addition to just being fair to her, you should also know that there has not been a case in which the birth mother had an attorney provided & then came back in the six months (how long it take to finalize in our state) to try to revoke the TPR & she’s won…so, I’d say it will be well worth your money.  (& it shouldn’t be more than around $800)  Her having an attorney ensures there’s never a situation where she can later say, “I didn’t understand.” or “I wasn’t told.”.  You will have a third party; her attorney-a licensed member of the Bar who will be able to say otherwise under oath.  There are LOTS of reasons that you want her to have an attorney, but this is one that you should be aware of!  Keeping in mind of course that every state is different & I can only speak to ours.  We have done three adoptions domestically,  Two unfortunately were not completed.  Birth mother chose to parent…  but, one of those went to the hospital (second day) & the other we had the baby for four days before she revoked (she had 96 hours in Iowa to do so) & we were/are residents of Missouri.  Regarding TPR, depending on what your states law is?  BUT….most generally there is a time period AFTER the baby is born before it can be signed.  BUT, you won’t be allowed to go back to your state until ICPC is complete. http://glossary.adoption.com/interstate-compact-on-the-placement-of-children-(icpc).html
So, chances are the TPR will be signed by her & by you long before any parties have returned to their respective homes.  & most generally the hospital will choose to play NO ROLE whatsoever in the adoption process.  They may have some forms that they will ask you to sign as part of their policy & you should get those prior to the birth & get them to your attorney for review to make sure he/she recommends that you sign them, but they won’t likely want to be involved.  The TPR should be signed with a licensed social worker from your agency if you have one, or with the birth mother’s attorney present & maybe both if you have both. 
Hope this all makes sense & helps a bit.  Have my sweet girl (SUCCESSFUL domestic adoption) under foot as I am typing to you quickly & off the cuff. 
Best of luck to you!!

By Jen P. on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 7:18 pm.

Thanks Jen,  I guess my confusion lies within my own state (PA). It appears that we can only pay for medical and our own legal expenses, not the birth families.  “Expenses which are not allowed include birth parent attorney fees and birth parent living expenses.”  I’ve been told by two different attorneys that they will mail the birth mother the TPR.  That seems cold and just wrong to me, so I was thinking we would see about getting her an attorney of her own, although apparently that’s against the law here in PA.  I just don’t have a good handle on how the TPR signing would work. The last thing I’d want is for her to just get a piece of mail, although when the 72 hour wait is over, I’d like the piece of paper signed ASAP, which might mean she is still in the hospital.

By TrippleB on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 7:59 pm.

How do I know where to send our profiles if I don’t use an agency?

By downtonfan on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:08 am.

Is there typically a fee to “transfer” a home study from a different state?

By downtonfan on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 3:39 pm.

I have a question I’m new to all this adoption but I have my stepsister she young she around 16 and pregnant everyone wants the best for and she really believe she ready for parenthood but she has her whole life ahead of her I wouldn’t want her to have an abortion because I believe I wouldn’t want her to go through that but I was talking to her about adopting her baby and I just wanted to get some advice on how I would be able to adopt my stepsister baby or how is the process?

By RoseAlexaaa on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 2:32 am.

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By qazx23 on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 8:44 am.

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