K.C. asks from Salt Lake City, UT on May 12, 2008
Private Adoption Question
We have been approached by a woman who wants us to adopt her baby. We don't want to go through an agency. How do we go about adopting privately? Do we need a lawyer? Is it easier to have her deliver here, or for us to go to CA to get the baby?
A.O. answers from Salt Lake City on May 13, 2008
I don't know where you are located, but I have a name of someone who is one of the most well-respected adoption attys in the state of UT. I am atty myself and respect him greatly, both from a professional standpoint, and also because he was extremely helpful with the adoption of my own son. Email me if you're interested in getting his information.
L.B. answers from Provo on May 13, 2008
I am a lawyer. I am familiar with the Utah laws regarding adoption. They are sufficiently complex, with enough traps for the unwary, that you would be well advised to hire an attorney to help you through the adoption process.
N.J. answers from Salt Lake City on May 13, 2008
I am a birth mommy of a 9 yr old boy who I place through an agency. I researched A LOT of adoption options and that was best for me. This Birth Mommy sounds like she is doing what is best for her and her baby. If the baby is Native American find a Lawyer who KNOWS the Indian Child Welfare Act so that it goes as smoothly as possibly. You know if Birth Mommy comes to Utah the Adoptions laws here are hard and once the papers are signed, there is no going back. That is the best thing about adopting in Utah. If that happens get a lawyer that can help the both of you here, that knows the adoption laws. It's a little better for the adoptive parents here in Utah. Mostly the Birth mommies can sign over the rights of the baby in the hospital and that that is pretty final for them. (I know it's 6 months before the adoption is final)If you have her there in California find a lawyer there that knows the laws. It's easier to have a single lawyer that the birth mother deals with and knows that she can pass letters and pictures through. Make sure that the girl has a support group, and some counseling to go back to(preferably one who has worked with birth mothers)when she is done placing. It helps the birth mommies to make better life choices and deal with the sadness of her placing the baby.
1 mom found this helpful
L.D. answers from Denver on May 13, 2008
It is my understanding that in Colorado you must go through a licensed agency.
I'm not sure what the laws are in CA.
FWIW, the agency we used discouraged expectant mothers from choosing a family until later in their pregnancy (8th or 9th month). Another school of thought is that there should be no pre-birth matches (although I don't buy this last one).
The reasons are: (1) the e-parents need to make their decision for THEIR reasons (not the adopting couple's); and (2) to protect the hopeful a-parents from a months-long the crack-the-whip ride where things are up, then down, etc.
Please be careful.
C.S. answers from Denver on May 13, 2008
I realize that if you've already gone through adoption processes you're probably very familiar with a lot of the system. I saw in your profile that you're in SLC. I'm not sure of the laws for Utah, but in CO you have to at least go through social services and do what they call a "kinship" adoption, which again, is a term you probably already know.
We were approached by a woman in GA who said she saw our profile on a foster/adoptive parent user's group and asked if she could contact us and speak with us about adopting her baby that she was about 4 months pregnant with. She stated that she herself didn't want to use an agency, but would be fine using a lawyer. We began researching state laws immediately, as well as where it would be better or safer for the child to be born, etc. as soon as she called back and told us "you're the family!" She called to let us know that she wanted money for assistance in moving some things out here (she didn't want people in her small town knowing she was pregnant), and she wanted to drive her truck with all of her stuff, so could we send her enough cash to cover gas and hotel for a few days for the trip out. I said we'd be more than happy to. I also, for some reason, said that we would like to either pay to fly her out to us or we would come to her for a couple days to meet in person and I wanted to attend a doctor's appointment with her, because I'd love to see that little heartbeat on the screen. What I meant, of course, was that I wanted to know there was really a child at all. She hung up and we never heard from her again. Maybe I offended her, maybe she was playing games. It's impossible to know.
Definitely get a lawyer involved as early as possible. It just protects everyone. There are firms and agencies out there that can help in these situation with free or reduced fees. Our good friends had a "playdate" dropped off at their house and the mother never came back for her. Ever. They used a pro bono service to help in their adoption of this awesome girl.
Whatever happens, good luck! When it all turns out well, consider me jealous!!! We're just beginning the foster to adopt program (should be licensed in June) so we're at the very start of the journey.
N.P. answers from Salt Lake City on May 13, 2008
Definately get a lawyer....I have seen it when the mom changes her mind, but never gives back the money you've supported her with.
C.B. answers from Denver on May 13, 2008
I would get a lawyer to make sure it is legal and not a scam. It will protect you as well as the mother. I don't know of any lawyers but I am sure there are lawyers that specialize in this process.
H.C. answers from Tucson on May 15, 2008
We did an adoption 2-1/2 years ago and are in the final stages of another. Should finalize in August. California is one of the few states that offer independent/direct placement meaning the mom places the baby with the family, no agency, no lawyer. She would have to go through an adoption service provider (ASP) who helps with the paperwork. BUT since you don't live in California, you'd still have to deal with the interstate placement (ICPC) rules. Note that as an independent placement, the birthmom would be the placement "agency" for ICPC purposes. If you're in UT you would need to have someone (agency, social worker maybe attorney) handle the post-placement supervision. I think you'll still need a homestudy to clear ICPC on the UT side. If you finalize in California, you can usually do so in 3 months if you've completed an adoption within the last 5 years. Note that you'll most likely have to return to California for the court hearing.
K.P. answers from Boise on May 13, 2008
I agree with everyone else. GET A LAWYER! I have seen on shows like Dateline where several couples get burned by the same woman who gets pregnant, seems like she wants to give up the baby, has these couples paying for everything in hopes to bring this sweet little baby home, and then the mother pulls out at the last minute. It is devastating for families who really want a child and can't create one themselves. I also saw one a long time ago where the birth mother did all of this, and come to find out, she wasn't even pregnant! It was all a con to get money from these innocent couples. So, I say you and your husband need to protect yourselves, and have all the legalities filed. I also would like to echo another lady...how did you get so lucky!? I too have friends that have been on a waiting list for over a year to adopt, and nothing yet. Surprisingly, because they are the only couple my husband and I would trust our children's lives with, with the exception of our parents. So, however this turns out, good luck to you, and thank you for rescuing so many children.
T.M. answers from Pocatello on May 13, 2008
I am the mother of an adopted 19 month old daughter, adopted at birth. Yes, find yourself a great adoption lawyer, you don't need an agency. Depending on the state your in you will need a home study and all of that. The attorney should be able to tell you about delivering here or there. What a blessing! You are in my prayers. My daughter is a super blessing and I hope this baby will be a blessing for you, too.