Tacoma's Adoption Lawyer
Tacoma is a beautiful place to raise a family. According to the 2010 census, almost 1 in 4 households had a child under the age of 18, and many of them are adoptive parents. According to statistics by the National Council for Adoption, there were 1,844 domestic adoptions in Washington in 2020.
Everyone’s adoption journey is different and our firm is here to help every step of the way. Contact Christina T. Sherman, PLLC to discuss your needs and goals with a seasoned Tacoma adoption attorney.
What Types of Adoptions Does Our Firm Handle?
Newborn AdoptionsNewborn adoptions remain popular, and there are many ways to add a newborn to your family: interstate, international, public, and private adoptions are only some of the options available to Pierce County residents. Let our firm explain the legal requirements for adopting and what are the best ways to find newborns. We can also discuss the home study process and any hurdles that trip up prospective adoptive parents.
Parents are not limited to looking inside Washington for a child. More parents are adopting from different states, but there are certain laws you need to abide by. All 50 states have adopted the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, which adds additional layers of paperwork. For example, an administrator in the child’s state will need to review all forms and information before signing off.
Traditionally, parents worked with an adoption agency to connect them to parents looking to put a child up for adoption. This is still a popular approach. One limitation is that parents often feel restricted in the children available, and the costs of agency adoption are out of reach for most of the population. Independent adoption is a great alternative that has grown in popularity recently. Instead of working with an agency, you can hire a lawyer who can shepherd you through the process and provide advice.
With an independent adoption, our legal team will help:
- Find a social worker to perform the necessary home study
- Guide you as you match and select a natural mother
- Draft, revise, and review all legal agreements
- Work to terminate parental rights
- Represent adoptive parents in court
It is critical that prospective parents work with an experienced Tacoma adoption lawyer. You do not want any surprises. We strive to make the process as efficient and stress-free as possible until we get your adoption decree.
Many adults seeking to marry someone with children ultimately hope to adopt the kids. However, the process is not as simple as it could be. One hurdle is the biological parent, who still has parental rights. Before you can adopt, you need to have those rights terminated, and although some parents will voluntarily agree, others will not.
Once the child is legally free, we can move ahead with the adoption. This process includes a home study and other requirements, just as if you were adopting a stranger’s child. We can walk you through the process and handle all legal matters.
Same-Sex or Second-Parent Adoptions
Same-sex couples can legally adopt in Washington. Many of our clients are LGBT and contact us because:
- One spouse fathered or gave birth to the child. Now the other spouse wants to adopt. This is essentially a stepparent adoption, even if you are currently married.
- A same-sex couple wants to conceive a child but has an interstate or independent adoption. This is also possible.
- A same-sex couple considers surrogacy or sperm donation. We can assist with that process as well.
- One parent gave birth to a child, and the second parent adopts the child to ensure that their parentage is secure, no matter what state they may live in.
You deserve the type of sensitive, caring legal representation that our Tacoma adoption lawyers provide.
It is possible to adopt family members in Tacoma. For example, you might have provided kinship care for a relative while their parents get their lives sorted out. You can ultimately adopt a family member if parental rights are terminated. It’s possible to even adopt adults, typically for purposes of inheritance.
Foster Care Adoptions
The National Council for Adoption reports that 1,425 foster children in Washington were adopted in 2020. This is a popular option for some people hoping to parent.
Typically, the Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families removes a child when their parents have either abandoned the child or cannot care for it. Eventually, the state might seek to terminate parental rights, and the child at that point is free to be adopted.
Although the state takes the lead on foster care adoptions, you still benefit from your own legal counsel. We can help prospective parents consider this option and help you review any legal agreements to ensure you are protected.
Surrogacy Agreements and IVF Matters
Surrogacy allows a woman to carry a child for another person. It is a blessing that some women bestow on potential parents. Nonetheless, there is the chance of conflict—and the stakes are high.
Washington’s surrogacy law has recently changed. Our firm stays abreast of all changes so that we can advise you if you seek to use the services of a surrogate. Surrogacy agreements are necessary to protect the rights of adoptive parents and smooth out the process for when the child is born. You should not proceed without an airtight agreement because the mother could change her mind about giving up the baby.
Many of our clients use someone else’s eggs or sperm to conceive a child. Often, the donation is anonymous, and the donor never knows when someone has given birth. However, other people use donations from friends or family.
Disputes arise rarely between donors and recipients—but when they do, the entire process can break down quickly. A well-drafted agreement can protect your rights.
Contact Our Tacoma Adoption Attorney for Help
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.