What to Look For in an Adoption Attorney
The right adoption attorney for your family can be hard to find.
You’ve decided to go pursue a private adoption. Wonderful! There are many well-established and respected lawyers available who specialize in adoption. Using an adoption attorney can be less costly than going through an agency and is a domestic alternative that allows for a closed adoption option. Selecting the right lawyer is key. Here are some suggestions for choosing well:
1. An Attorney Who Comes Recommended
According to Jeanine Castagna, a successful adoption lawyer in New York, “adoption is an emotional process, so finding an attorney that is compassionate and sensitive to the issues involved is very important.” If you feel that an attorney is not clueing in on your nervousness, confusion, or hopefulness about various matters, it is time to continue your search for the right lawyer.
2. An Attorney Who Cares About Your Journey
According to Jeanine Castagna, a successful adoption lawyer in New York, “adoption is an emotional process, so finding an attorney that is compassionate and sensitive to the issues involved is very important.” If you feel that an attorney is not clueing in to your nervousness, confusion, or hopefulness about various matters, it is time to continue your search for the right lawyer.
3. An Attorney With Experience
Knowing that your adoption lawyer brought hundreds of adoptive parents together with children is a tremendous source of reassurance for those just beginning the process. Membership in the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) is a good indication that your attorney is experienced. The AAAA is an association of 60 lawyers who have distinguished themselves in adoption law. According to Jeanine Castagna, “fellows all have acted as counsel in at least 50 adoption proceedings, including 10 interstate placements, and must maintain their practice according to the highest standards of ethics, competence, and professionalism.”
4. An Attorney Who Is Accessible
The nature of private adoption requires phone calls and questions that often demand immediate attention. Your attorney’s availability during the evening and weekend hours will go a long way toward making the process smoother.
5. An Attorney Who Is Clear
Ask your lawyer what your responsibilities will be in terms of screening phone calls, interviewing birth parents, and placing ads. How will your attorney guide you through these tasks? You want to be sure that you will always know exactly what is expected of you as a client and prospective adoptive parent.
6. An Attorney With Connections
Physicians, counselors, and other lawyers will all be highly involved in your experience. It is helpful to have an attorney in your corner that knows many reputable professionals in their fields and can recognize red flags right away. As in any relationship, implicit trust is essential, and your peace of mind is worth the investigation.