Seattle’s Adoption Lawyer
Seattle continues to see strong population growth, as young professionals pour into the city. In addition to establishing their careers, many people hope to start a family. Adoption is an increasingly popular option for couples seeking to grow their families. According to the National Council for Adoption, Washington saw 1,844 domestic adoptions in 2020, a slight decline from 2,099 in 2019. Many other couples try surrogacy or in vitro fertilization with donor eggs or sperm.
At Christina T. Sherman, PLLC, our firm is committed to helping clients navigate the adoption and family formation process. We offer the following services and can assist anyone who has questions
Our Firm is Confident in Handling All Types of Adoptions in King County, WA
Many clients hope to adopt newborns. There are different ways to go about it. You can work with an adoption agency, which matches natural mothers with prospective adoptive parents. Or you can hire your own lawyer to undertake an independent adoption. We can help our clients determine if they qualify to adopt and explain the process. Anyone hoping to adopt should start early by reaching out to our Seattle adoption attorney. We can discuss your options and help you pull together information.
Adopting from outside of Washington adds complexity because the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children comes into play. Essentially, you will need to comply with Washington State laws but also the laws of the “sending” state where the child lives. An administrator in the child’s state will need to review forms and information and sign off before sending the paperwork to Washington.
Christina T. Sherman is well-versed in interstate adoption. By expanding your search across state lines, you increase the number of available children up for adoption. By hiring Christina T. Sherman, PLLC you will ensure that your are in the hands of an ethical adoption lawyer who is fully versed in the complexity of ICPC adoption.
An independent (or private) adoption involves seeking out a natural mother directly and coming up with an adoption agreement. Instead of working with an adoption agency, our law firm will handle all the legal work for you:
- Hire a social worker to perform a home study
- Create a website or binder about you to share with natural mothers
- Guide you through the process as you match with a natural mother.
- Create all legal agreements
- Terminate the biological parents’ rights
- Shepherd your case through court until you receive your Adoption Decree and the child’s new birth certificate
You can trust our firm’s experience in independent adoptions. There is no reason to use an expensive adoption agency if you do not want to. Our firm always strives to simplify and speed up the process so you can quickly put the adoption behind you and begin your life as a new parent.
With surrogacy, a woman will agree to carry our clients’ child to term. Many surrogates are eager to help those who desire a child. Still, disagreements can arise at any stage of the pregnancy and even following birth. Washington requires that both surrogates and expectant parents have a lawyer represent them throughout the process, which is wise.
Washington has changed its law to allow surrogates to receive compensation, and it provides other protections for surrogates. We work with our clients to ensure that they have contracts in place that protect their rights. Everything might be going well, but you would be surprised at the disputes that can crop up.
Stepparent adoptions are appropriate when one of a child’s natural parents has failed to perform their parental functions for their child for a significant period of time, and the child has formed a family unit with their other natural parent and stepparent. A stepparent can provide peace of mind if the natural parent passes or becomes incapacitated, the family unit will remain intact for the child.
Stepparent adoption can appear simple, because after all, the child is already with you. However, they can in fact be the most complicated of all adoption cases. While we ideally will seek to obtain the consent from the non-parenting natural parent, at times it may be important to proceed with a contested or litigated adoption.
Contested or litigated adoptions involving trials for the termination of rights are most likely to occur in the stepparent adoption context. As a litigator and an adoption attorney, Christina T. Sherman is uniquely qualified to represent you should your stepparent adoption need counsel for a litigated case.
Like in other adoptions, the stepparent will need to undergo a home study, like other prospective adoptive parent.
Same-Sex or Second-Parent Adoptions
For many same sex couples, one spouse gives birth to the child and has automatic parental rights. Given the tumultuous and varied trajectories of our 50 states, it is recommended for the non-biological parent needs to take additional legal steps to ensure that their parental rights are protected no matter where they live.
It’s possible in Washington to adopt a family member. Perhaps a child was placed with you for kinship care after removal from their home. Other clients adopt adult relatives. Adoption provides peace of mind but can also make inheritance easier.
Foster Care Adoptions
Many adoptive parents first act as foster parents. According to the National Council for Adoption, 1,425 children were adopted out of foster care in 2020. This number is in line with the number from previous years. Fostering is often a rewarding first step for those who are unsure if they want to adopt.
Typically, foster children are around 7 when they become eligible for adoption. The state has determined that the biological parents are either unfit or have abandoned the child, so the state seeks termination of their parental rights.
Caseworkers at the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families do most of the work for foster care adoptions. Nonetheless, a private attorney can assist prospective parents by explaining your options and reviewing any potential adoption agreement.
Sperm and egg donors play an important role for many of our couples. Although some donors are anonymous, legal problems can arise if the donation takes place with out a contract and the donor seeks custody of the child. We can help avoid that problem with air-tight legal agreements.
Contact Our Seattle Adoption Attorney for Help With Your Adoption Process
Your family is important to us. Contact us today.
We understand that the adoption process may seem overwhelming, and we are dedicated to getting answers to whatever questions you may have.
We serve clients throughout Tacoma, Pierce County, King County, Thurston County, Kitsap County, and the Western Washington area.