You are thinking of adopting a baby, but you wonder …
How do I begin?
If you have made a decision to adopt a child, contact Michelle Erich and have a free consultation by phone. There is a basic information form on this site that you may complete and sent to the office with your retainer fee and profile. You will also need a fee agreement tailored to your situation. Once can be emailed to you after the phone consultation.
What is a profile?
When a birthmother searches for a family for her baby, she will review profiles of each prospective adoptive family. The profiles contain photographs and a introduction telling about the family, their hobbies, activities and life styles.
What is an adoption plan?
When waiting adopting parents and a birthmother agree that the child will be placed for adoption with you, an adoption plan is created so that the parties know what to expect from that time forward including the hospital stay and any after adoption contact.
What is an “open” adoption?
There is no one blue print for an independent or “open” adoption. You can determine what you want and have your attorney discuss it with the birthmother, so that you can settle on a plan for pictures, letters, phone calls, or meetings and include this in the adoption plan. Most common is a regular exchange of pictures and developmental letters a couple of times a year, but physical contact is not uncommon.
What is an agency adoption?
Unlike an independent adoption handled start to finish by a licensed attorney, an agency adoption involves the use of a state licenses adoption agency for the home study and placement of a child through parental relinquishment. You will likely still need an adoption attorney to assist you in filing and completing your adoption.
Will I qualify to adopt?
What is a home study? Are you more than ten years older than the child you want to adopt and are you free of any criminal records? If so, you will likely qualify. You will be investigated to determine if you can afford a child, if you have an appropriate home for a child, and if you have any health conditions about which a birth parent should be informed. You do not have to be infertile. Since adoption is a fairly expensive and time consuming endeavor, you give it a great deal of consideration before making the adoption decision.
What specific information will I be given about the birthmother?
Birth parents are asked to complete a detailed questionnaire covering medical and health history. Whatever information is provided will be shared with you. Nearly all birth mothers prefer to meet prospective adoptive parents and have an opportunity to ask questions. You can ask about their families, activities, and backgrounds, also. Often the meeting is the time for everyone to consider what, if any, after adoption contact there will be.
Will she like me?
Without exception adopting parents have this concern. The truth is most birthmothers are more worried about you liking them.
What will the birthmother be told about me?
Your full legal names, race, age, occupation, level of education, marital background, children you have, anyone who lives in your home, general location of your residence and any health issues that would impair normal abilities or life expectancy. And you get to prepare a profile to put your best foot forward, as well.
What information is required on the father?
Depending on the role the baby’s father had in the mother’s life, it varies. If she was living with the father or married to the father, he has some rights, at least the right to be notified of the adoption plan. If the father is unknown, such a one-night-stand or a rape situation, we may have little or no information at all. The courts have ways of handling each situation.
Will I get a baby exposed to drugs or alcohol?
Hopefully, the mother will honestly complete her questionnaire for adoption and the information she provided to her obstetrician, but unless she tests positive for a controlled substance during a prenatal exam or at the time of delivery, you may be be 100% certain. The same applies to the mother smoking or not.
What if the mother has not gotten prenatal care?
Even with MediCal and other insurance, we sometimes find a mother has not seen a doctor. We make every effort to get the mother to an obstetrician as soon as possible, but remember that child birth is a natural event. If the baby is born with an unexpected problem, you will know before you are asked to take the baby home.
What will it cost to adopt?
Most California adoptions seem to average between $25,000-$40,000. A home study is required at a cost of $2500-$4500. You must have an Adoption Service Provider, licensed by the state, to provide advisements and witness the consent to adoption at an average cost of $1000. The county must provide an investigation regarding paternity at about $1000. Adoptive parents are required to have live scan fingerprints and current physicals. Attorney’s fees vary depending on many factors, but Michelle can provide an estimate at the time you are introduced to a birthmother. The financial assistance requested from a birth mother can go from $0 up; some assistance should be anticipated. Independent legal counsel for the birth mother is usually $1000, and if she wants psychological counseling, three sessions must be provided.
What are the costs to adopt a step child?
Stepparent adoptions are less expensive and do not require as much investigation. No state home study is required, but a scaled down version is done by the county at a cost of about $1000.00. The county must also provide an investigation regarding the absent parent for an additional fee.
How long will it take to get a baby?
Michelle is careful to work with no more than a dozen families at a time. In addition to birth mothers who come directly to her, she has a close network of other adoption attorneys and facilitators who may have birth mothers who look at your profile. If a birth mother has a separate attorney or facilitator there will be an additional fee for those professional services. The average wait is generally about nine months to a year.
Will I be able to name my baby?
The birth mother may select a name for the original birth certificate or may chose to use the name you have selected. Upon the finalization of the adoption, you will select the name the child will have from that time on, and a new birth certificate will be issued by the state.
When do I take my baby home?
Usually the adopting parents are present at the hospital at the birth and are allowed by the hospital to begin making decisions and having bonding time right away. The baby usually goes home from the hospital with you. Have a car seat ready.