Adoption Attorneys in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Adoptions are joyful celebrations in life. Not only does the expansion of your family bring joy and fulfillment to your life, but it also provides comfort and stability to a child in need. Around 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year, and over time, the legalities of the adoption process have become complex. There are many steps required to complete child adoptions and troubles can — and do — arise.
It is not unusual for parents to experience frustration and pain when attempting to navigate the adoption challenges alone. An experienced team of Tennessee adoption attorneys can help you navigate this sensitive and time-consuming process and provide legal support when complicated laws and litigation start to crop up.
At McCarter | East PLLC, we serve families in Murfreesboro and Berry Hill, Tennessee. We are ready to provide your expanding family with trusted representation to ensure that your adoption process goes as smoothly as possible. We can help in a number of ways, including:
Determining adoption eligibility
Communicating with adoption agencies
Negotiating private adoptions
Types of Adoption
If you know you want to adopt but haven’t yet identified a child, there are a few primary methods:
International Adoption — Children available internationally come from all regions of the world and range in age from about six months to school-age. International adoption is expensive and adoptive parents may pay in excess of $25,000. In addition to the high cost, parents may receive inaccurate or unreliable health information. The average time frame to adopt an international child is about 18 months.
State Adoption — In Tennessee, state adoption means adopting a child through the Tennessee Department of Child Services. Costs are typically low for state adoption and available children may be visible on state and adoption websites. The adoption time frame may vary depending on the type of child. Wait times for infants are typically longer while the adoption of an older child may happen relatively quickly.
Private/Independent Adoption — Private adoption, sometimes called independent adoption, is a popular way to adopt in Tennessee. A typical private adoption costs between $7,000 and $13,000 and may cost more if there is no medical insurance. Even though it is not considered an agency adoption, you must still hire a licensed, private agency to conduct a home study before a child can be placed with you. The wait time to have a child in your home can vary significantly, from one week or less to two years or more.
Surrogacy — Surrogacy is a way of acquiring a child in which a woman (a surrogate) carries a pregnancy for someone else (the intended parents) who is unable to carry the pregnancy. Depending on the method, surrogacy may be supported by a legally binding agreement that helps facilitate the process.
Tennessee Adoption Laws
State laws govern the adoption process. Although laws can vary from state to state, listed below are general laws regarding adoption in Tennessee:
Any person — including an adult — can be adopted
Children 14 years of age and older must consent to their adoption
In order to qualify to adopt, a person must be 18 years of age or older and a Tennessee resident for at least six consecutive months
There is a one-year statute of limitations for challenging an adoption
The Adoption Process
Many people who are looking to adopt are unsure of where to start and how to begin the process. Many adoptions involve a series of steps, including:
Mandatory parenting classes for prospective adoptive parents
Background checks and other screening measures
A home study conducted by adoption professionals
Other measures that ensure that a prospective adoptive parent has the funds and ethics to help a child thrive
Serving Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Adoptions are notoriously complicated. At McCarter | East PLLC, our goal is to help you avoid costly and time-consuming errors that can ultimately jeopardize your ability to successfully adopt a child. Based in Murfreesboro, and with our office just a stone's throw away from the courthouse, we are proud to serve clients throughout Murfreesboro and Berry Hill, Tennessee.