Articles Posted in Adoption

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San Francisco Family Law Attorney comments on changes to adoption laws regarding Native American children.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed into law a bill that changes the way California family law courts handle the adoption process of Native American children.  The law allows the courts to honor tribal adoption traditions, even when they do not necessarily conform to California civil law.

The changes to the adoption process should reduce the number of children in the foster care system and shift some of the social services costs to the tribes, who will be taking on a larger role in the adoption process.

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San Jose Family Law Attorney offers tips on the international adoption process.

Recent celebrity adoptions have focused attention on the growing international adoption business. Many Americans choose to adopt internationally for many reasons, including the ready availability of infants. There are essentially two ways to adopt internationally.

You can adopt a foreign child through an American agency that specializes in international adoptions — or you can adopt directly. Most people use an agency, because direct adoption can be difficult. If you prefer a direct adoption, you will have to adhere not only to the adoption laws of your state, but also to U.S. immigration laws and the laws of the country of the child. It will be a complex process, so be prepared for some tangles. Do as much research as you can before you fly off to find a child; the more you know about the chosen country’s adoption system ahead of time, the better off you’ll be when you get there. For example, you may be required to stay in that country for several weeks or months before bringing the child to the United States.

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San Francisco Family Law Attorney talks about the open adoption process.

An open adoption is one in which there is some degree of contact between the birthparents and the adoptive parents — often this includes contact with the child as well. There is no one standard for open adoptions; each family works out an arrangement that works well for them. Some adoptive parents consider meeting the birthparents just once before the birth of the child, while others form ongoing relationships which may include written correspondence or visits.

Open adoptions often help reduce stress and worry by eliminating the power of the unknown: rather than fearing the day that a stranger will come knocking on their door to ask for the child back, adoptive parents are reassured by knowing the birthparents personally and dealing with them directly. This openness can be beneficial to the child as well, who will grow up with fewer questions — and misconceptions — than might a child of a closed adoption.

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San Jose Family Law Attorney explains the California adoption process.

If you are considering adopting a child in the State of California, there is a well-defined process that your adoption attorney can guide you through. Generally speaking the adult wishing to adopt must be at least 10 years older than the child he or she wishes to adopt. The child must be unmarried and under 18 years of age in order to be eligible to be adopted; unless, of course, the person is an adult who has consented to be legally adopted by another adult. And only an underage child’s biological parent or parents, a licensed adoption agency, and the California Department of Social Services are allowed to legally authorize an adoption.

A California court must approve all adoptions in this state. That means that the parents must file for adoption with the family law court in their county of residence. That court will oversee the adoption process and render a decision on whether the adoption will be finalized.

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San Jose Family Law Attorney Discusses California Surrogacy and Adoption Laws

Lately, Sagaria Law has received several calls about surrogacy and adoption. Surrogacy comes in two main forms: gestational or traditional. Gestational surrogacy is where the embryo and resulting child is genetically related to both parents. Traditional surrogacy involves the use of donor eggs and sperm, or artificial insemination.

Surrogacy law in California is governed by 2 Supreme Court cases: Johnson v. Calvert and Marriage of Buzzanca. Johnson is a case of a gestational surrogate (genetic material from both parents, surrogate to carry the child), and the Supreme Court ruled that when two women have valid claims to motherhood, the tiebreaker is the intent at the time of conception. Therefore, the natural mother of a child is the person who intended to bring about the birth of a child and raise it as her own. In Marriage of Buzzanca, the Court dealt with a case of two infertile parties who used donor sperm and donor eggs to implant in a paid surrogate. In that case, the court held that where a married couple, unable to procreate on their own, intends to bring about the birth of a child through the use of medical technology, those individuals will be held to be the legal parents, regardless of genetics. This holding should apply to surrogacy cases where the surrogate has been artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm, but since there is no clear ruling on this particular issue, it is possible the court would decide differently under that set of circumstances.

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San Jose Family Lawyer Discusses Adoption

November 15, 2008 is National Adoption Day!

National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to promote awareness of the 129,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families, as well as those families that have been happily created through the adoption process. National Adoption Day helps make the dreams of thousands of children come true by working with courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care. National Adoption Day is normally celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving, but was moved in 2008 for one year only.

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San Jose Family Law Attorney Discusses Adoption for Same Sex Couples:

In March 2007, the Urban Institute and the Williams Institute at the University Of California School Of Law reported that over 65,000 adopted children are being raised by same-sex parents in the United States. The same report estimated more than 14,100 foster children were living with one or more gay or lesbian foster parents. Though denied the right to marry in every state except for Massachusetts and California, more and more same-sex couples are turning to adoption and foster care to form families.

Enduring the time-consuming process of adoption or foster care is difficult enough for heterosexual couples, but gays and lesbians face additional complications.

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In a region as diverse as the San Francisco Bay Area, it does not seem possible that racial tensions would prevent prospective parents from adopting a child of a different ethnic background. Nevertheless, in recent months, publications from various metropolitan areas throughout the United States are reporting on the trends and pitfalls of transracial adoptions, and our San Jose adoption attorneys believe that it is highly important to take notice of this issue. One should never be dissuaded from bringing a new child into the family, but it is also critical that a person considering adoption enter the situation “with eyes wide open,” according to Billy Hancock, a family recruitment specialist from Seattle. Maddy Day, a family development coordinator from Redmond, WA agrees. She believes that many parents interested in adopting a child walk into the process with “naïve bliss,” and fail to consider obstacles or difficulties that may arise once that child is no longer an infant.
Although adopted children will certainly begin to take notice of physical differences between themselves and their parents as they reach maturity, this stage of development can be dealt with quite smoothly if the adoptive parents have properly prepared themselves to address the inevitable questions. Many Santa Clara County adoption resources are easily accessible –it is only a matter of knowing where to look. In addition to assisting with the legal process, a good adoption attorney can help adoptive parents seek resources such as classes, literature, and parenting associations that focus specifically on issues surrounding transracial adoption.
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An Iowa woman whose 5-year-old daughter was kidnapped and killed in 2005 has been ordered to give up her parental rights to her two sons, who have been in foster care since their sister’s murder. Miller has been granted one more visit with her sons, ages 2 and 3, who will become eligible for adoption.

The boys’ sister, Evelyn, then 5, disappeared from their apartment in July 2005. Miller says that she came home after her overnight job to discover the front door partially open and her boyfriend and their two sons asleep. A massive search ensued, and Evelyn’s body was eventually found in the Cedar River. Her death was declared a homicide. No charges have been filed in connection to her murder and the investigation continues to this day.

Casey Frederiksen, the father of the boys, voluntarily signed away his parental rights, but Miller, who has been hospitalized for mental health problems, opposed the juvenile judge’s decision that she give up her children. According to the judge, the two boys had spent more than six months removed from their parents’ physical custody and that neither parent had kept up a significant amount of meaningful contact or tried to resume caring for them.

Frederiksen is serving time in prison for a child pornography conviction. His friend Danny Slick, who was one of the last people to see Evelyn alive the night she disappeared, has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the police investigating her death. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 21, 2007.
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Authorities in Mexico City have arrested an American couple for trying to illegally adopt a baby in Mexico. The couple, who both have California driver’s licenses, face charges of trying to buy or rob a child. They are being held at a local jail. While the husband is claiming total responsibility for what occurred, the wife told local journalists that she has wanted a baby for a long time but that the adoption process she became involved in didn’t meet legal standards.

For American citizens who wish to adopt a child from another country, there are proper legal channels that must be taken in order to ensure that the international adoption is legal and valid. It is important for prospective parents to know about the adoptions laws in the country where the child is from, as well as the laws that govern the immigration process that parents will have to follow in order to bring their child to live in the United States.

The U.S. State Department offers information regarding adopting a child from Mexico, including the following:

The State System for the Full Development of the Family (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, or DIF) is a government institution in each Mexican state that handles family matters. The DIF and the Mexican Foreign Relations are assigned responsibility to study each child’s eligibility for intercountry adoption and arrange adoptions. The DIF determines whether a family would be suitable for a particular child by ensuring that a home study has been done. The DIF makes every effort to place children with relatives or Mexican citizens living in Mexico before placing children for inter-country adoption.
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