6814 Greenwood Avenue N.
Seattle, WA 98103

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How Do I Find a Baby or Child to Adopt?

You've made the decision to become a parent through adoption. The next step, however, is often unknown: how do you adopt? Many people have heard loosely of agencies where they can adopt children, or they have heard stories from friends or family who have adopted. However, they often don't have a firm idea on how one actually goes about adopting a child.

Beginning the Adoption Process in Washington

If you are seeking to adopt a child, one of the most important first steps you can take is to contact a knowledgeable Washington adoption lawyer. Joyce Schwensen has extensive experience assisting people seeking to become parents through adoption, both as an adoption attorney and the former executive director of an adoption agency. She will listen to your goals,advise you on the best path forward, and represent you throughout the process. Call the Law Offices of Joyce S. Schwensen today at (206) 367-1065 to schedule a consultation to discuss how Joyce Schwensen can help you.

Joyce Schwensen assists potential parents with adoptions throughout Washington State, including Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver and Spokane.


Decide What is Important to You in Your Child

The method you use to adopt a child will often be influenced by what kind of child you are hoping to adopt.

Many people want to adopt a newborn or very young baby. They may not want to miss out on any aspects of the child’s life. Or they may be concerned about whether they are prepared to parent a child through the transition from one family or living situation to another. For these families, private adoption of a child born in the United States is usually the best adoption path, since very young children are not often available for adoption internationally or through the foster care system.

Many people seek to adopt older children. Adoption of a foster child or a child from another country is often the best choice for these families, since the placement of older children through private adoptions in the United States is relatively uncommon.

Some people seek to find a child that shares their racial or ethnic background. Others are open to the particular joys and adventurers of raising a child or a different racial or ethnic background than their own. Many people hope to adopt a child with no significant medical or emotional problems or other special needs. Other families are open to parenting a child with certain types of medical or emotional special needs.  And some families are prepared to parent children with very substantial medical or emotional challenges.

What type of adoption will work best for you may depend to a large extent on your particular situation and your personal adoption decisions. It is important to work with an experienced adoption attorney and a good adoption social worker to decide what type of adoption is the best way for you to build your family, and what type of child you are ready to provide a permanent home to.


Adoption Options for Washington Parents

One of the most difficult challenges for prospective adoptive parents is finding a child to adopt that is a good match for their family. Broadly speaking, there are three types of adoption that each offers its unique way of identifying children who may be adopted.

A private adoption is one in which the involvement of the government is relatively minor. Unlike adoptions from foster care, or international adoptions, in private adoptions the child is never under the direct guardianship of the government. Private adoptions are entirely voluntary on the part of the birth parents. And in every state the birth parents are given some period of time after the birth of the child to decide whether or not to go through with the adoption plan.

The adoptive family and birth family in private adoptions usually find one another with the assistance of an adoption agency, or attorney. The agency or attorney may provide services and assistance to the birth mother, and guidance to the adoptive family. They may also prepare consent documents and other required documentation. And attorneys will also represent the adoptive parents or the birth parents in court. An adoption agency may take legal custody of the child prior to the finalization of the adoption, or the adoptive parents may take legal custody themselves during that time through what is called a “direct placement.” Most families seeking to adopt a newborn or very young baby will choose the path of private adoption..

Adoption from foster care involves adoption of children who are under the guardianship of the state. Under Washington law, the Department of Social and Health Services is required to provide services to the child’s birth parents to help them try and remedy their shortcomings as parents. Sometimes these efforts do not succeed and the parental rights of the birth parents are eventually terminated. The time needed to assist the birth parents in addressing their parenting problems means that children in the foster care system are usually older than infants by the time they are legally free for adoption. Also, many foster children face medical or emotional challenges because of their prior living situations, because of drug exposure prior to birth, or for other reasons.

For these reasons, adoption of children from the foster care system is a good choice for adoptive families seeking to adopt a child older than an infant, and prepared to parent a child with some types of special needs. Many parents have experienced the tremendous joys of parenting by adopting children from the foster children. There are many wonderful children in the foster care system looking for a home through adoption.

A third path for adoption is international adoption. This type of adoption involves very technical rules which vary from country to country. The time required to complete an international adoption can be several years, and the laws and requirements can change during the waiting period. In recent years a number of countries have discontinued or severely restricted their international adoption programs. Many countries only place older children for adoption with international families, and there are no countries outside the United States that place newborns or very young children for adoption. It is important to understand that the process of adopting a child internationally and the process of obtaining permission to bring the child into the United States are separate, and both must be properly completed for a successful international adoption.


Law Offices of Joyce S. Schwensen | Washington Adoption Options Attorney

If you are seeking to adopt a child, you can get a good start by hiring an experienced Washington adoption lawyer. Joyce Schwensen will listen to your ideas on what kind of child you are seeking and advise you on how to go about adopting that child. Call today at (206) 367-1065 to schedule a consultation to discuss your plans.

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