Adoption Law

The adoption process is a very emotional one, and it is always wise to take a step back from time to time to evaluate the situation and make sure that everything is in order. A common dilemma faced by potential adoptive parents is choosing between adopting a child in the United States and adopting a child from another country. A decision must also be made regarding whether to adopt using the agency adoption process or private adoption. An experienced adoption attorney can be very beneficial in this critical decision thus ensuring a positive outcome.

Each country has its own laws governing adoption. Each state also has its own laws regarding adoption. Understanding these laws and how they may interact across national borders and state lines is important to being successful in your efforts to adopt a child. You and your family do not need the added stress of an adoption plan falling through. An experienced adoption attorney can assist you and help make sure that this does not happen to you and your family.

Adoption Records

In most states, adoption records are sealed and not available for public inspection after the adoption is finalized. Most states have instituted regulations by which parties to an adoption may obtain non-identifying and identifying information from an adoption record. This is done while still protecting the interests of all parties.

Non-identifying information includes the date and place of the adoptee's birth; age, race, religion, physical description, ethnicity, education, medical history and occupation of the birth parents; reason for placing the child for adoption; and the existence of other children born to each birth parent.

Identifying information is described as any data that may lead to the positive identification of birth parents, an adoptee or other birth relatives. Nearly all states allow the release of identifying information when the birth parent whose information is sought has consented to the release. Many states ask birth parents to specify at the time of consent or relinquishment whether they are willing to have their identity disclosed to the adoptee when he or she is age 18. If consent is not on file, the information may not be released without a court order in some states documenting reasonable cause to release the information. The adoptive person seeking a court order must be able to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that there is a compelling reason for disclosure that outweighs maintaining the confidentiality of a party to an adoption.

All states allow an adoptive parent access to non-identifying information of an adoptee who is still a minor. Nearly all states allow the adoptee upon reaching adulthood to non-identifying information about birth parents and relatives. Approximately 27 states allow birth parents access to non-identifying information. Also, many states allow such access to adult birth siblings.

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