Oregon Family Law Firm Guides You Through a Relative or Step-Parent Adoption
Adding a member to your family should be an enjoyable experience
If you have decided to adopt a child who is related to you by blood or marriage, the last thing you want is the stress of trying to figure out the legal requirements of adoption on your own. Oregon has plenty of rules that need to be followed before you can adopt a child. Johnson & Taylor has experience dealing with all relative and step-parent adoptions, are fully apprised of Oregon adoption laws and steer you through the adoption process confidently, letting you relax with the knowledge that everything is being done properly.
Oregon rules for the adoption process
Any adult over the age of 21 can adopt a child in Oregon as long as the person has been approved by the state. The same rules apply to same-sex couples. Rules regarding adoption include:
- Home study — The Department of Human Services (DHS) conducts interviews and home inspections of adoptive parents to determine if the home is suitable for the adopted child. Home study is required unless the adoptive parent is a stepparent, grandparent or biological parent using a surrogate. Other exceptions may also apply.
- Post-placement report — This is a follow-up by DHS. The family is visited after the adoption to see how the child is progressing.
- Consent to the adoption — The birth-mother must always give consent, but the biological father must also give consent if he is married to the birth-mother or, if not married, has been deemed the legal father of the child.
- Indian Child Welfare Act — Adoptions involving children of Native American descent may require contacting the specific federally recognized Native American tribe and submitting documentation before adopting.
- Payment of the birth-mother’s costs — Adoptive parents may pay for the reasonable costs associated with the adoption, including medical costs and travel and legal expenses, but are not allowed to provide money outside those costs.
- Signing legal documents — Birth-mothers can sign documents at any time after the birth, but it is advisable to wait 24 to 48 hours after the birth to ensure that the birth-mother is deemed mentally competent to sign.
There are many other issues and rules that may come up during an adoption, and there are other issues involved when adopting an adult, stepchild or foreign child, so it is important to have knowledgeable family law attorneys on your side to ensure that the adoption process is being handled properly.
What rights does the birth-mother have concerning the adopted child?
First and foremost, the birth-mother has the right to determine who gets to adopt her child. She also has the right to do whatever she feels is necessary to be comfortable with the adoption, including interviewing the adoptive parents, receiving free counseling and adding conditions to the adoption agreement regarding contact with the child.
The birth-mother can change her mind at any time before signing the Surrender, Release and Consent to Adoption and Certificate of Irrevocability (done after the birth), but once it has been signed and the child has been placed in the adoptive home, there is little way to revoke consent or change the conditions of the consent without proving fraud or duress.
Often, Mothers want their new Husband or boyfriend to adopt a child because the biological Father has abandoned or otherwise not had contact with the child. This can be an ideal situation for the mother, the child and the biological father. If you are a mother and are considering having somebody else adopt the child and become the legal parent with you need to talk with an attorney to help you make informed decisions about the process and ensure everybody’s rights are protected.
What rights does a father have concerning the adopted child?
If you are the father of a child and considering giving the child up for adoption you should consult with an attorney to understand the risks and benefits. Consenting to the adoption of the child may make it so that you have no further contact rights with the child, but it can also terminate your obligation to pay any child support. If the mother of the child wants her new husband or boyfriend to adopt the child you need to speak with an attorney to ensure you understand the process.
Let Salem adoption attorneys ensure that all parties are fully aware of what they are doing
Adopting a child and giving a child up for adoption are serious life decisions that should not be made without knowing what the process requires and the ramifications of signing the final paperwork. Johnson & Taylor knows the pitfalls of the adoption process and is ready to guide birth-parents or adoptive parents through this emotional time. The law can be confusing, and you don’t want mistakes to slow down the process. We take care of the legal side for you, helping your adoption go smoothly. Contact us at 503-990-6641 or online.