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12055 15th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98125

(206) 367-1065
Adoption Law


Adoption is the legal process through which a family may be built, and a new home may be provided for a child when his or her parents find they are unable to provide all they know their child will need. Adoptive parents and birth parents choose adoption for a many reasons. For adoptive parents the reasons usually all boil down to wanting to experience the joys of parenthood. And for birth parents, adoption is almost always their desire to give their child the best possible life.

In the end, though, birth parents and adoptive parents are seeking the same thing: for the child to be raised in a loving home. An adoption attorney can help both adoptive and birth parents reach that goal.

Washington Adoption Lawyer

Joyce Schwensen is an experienced Seattle adoption attorney who assists birth parents and adoptive parents in their shared goal of giving a child a good home. Joyce Schwensen has years of experience helping parents and potential parents with adoption, both as an attorney and as the former Executive Director of an adoption agency.

Joyce Schwensen helps Washingtonians with a wide range of adoptions, including independent private adoptions, extended family and grandparent adoptions, stepparent and second-parent adoptions and re-adoptions after international adoptions. She also assists parents who have used assisted reproduction with the legal issues they face. Call the Law Office of Joyce S. Schwensen today at (206) 367-1065 and set up a consultation to discuss your potential adoption.

As a knowledgeable adoption lawyer in Seattle, Joyce Schwensen helps those seeking to adopt and those seeking to place their child for adoption throughout Washington, including Spokane, Tacoma and Vancouver.

Washington Adoption Information Center

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Assistance for Birth Parents

Are you pregnant and feel unprepared to raise a child, or are you concerned that your child's best opportunities lie with other parents. Whether to make an adoption plan for your child is a critical and difficult decision. And it is not a decision you need to make on your own. You may feel overwhelmed by questions: Just how do I place a child for adoption? How do I know my child will be safe in his or her new home? Will the new parents share my values and beliefs? How will I know my privacy is secure? Is there any financial assistance to help with the crushing costs of being pregnant and giving birth?

Joyce Schwensen helps birth mothers find the right home for children they are placing for adoption. Independent adoptions allow both birth parents and adoptive parents find the best match. Birth parents can review potential adoptive parents and select the family that is most appropriate to their hopes for their child. A Washington adoption lawyer can assist in the process.

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, Joyce Schwensen can answer your questions and help you understand your options. For instance, she can discuss with you what expenses you may be able to get help with. If you seek an open or semi-open adoption, in which you maintain some form of contact with the child, Joyce Schwensen can work with potential adoptive parents to come to an agreement on how to proceed.

If you are the birth father of a child that the mother is considering placing for adoption, you have rights and options. Your consent is required to place the child. You have a right to seek an open adoption, as well.

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A Lawyer for Seattle Adoptive Parents

If you seek to adopt a child, it's also critical to know your options. There are many choices you face on this exciting path. Joyce Schwensen can act as a guide and as your representative, helping you make informed decisions so that you can bring a child into your life through adoption.

Adoptive parents must determine, for instance, whether they want to seek a newborn to adopt or adopt an older child. Both bring great joy into the lives of their adoptive parents, but the choice should be right for them. Choosing the child you are seeking will often dictate the method you choose for adoption. Some parents want to adopt newborns or very young children, so they can experience all the stages of parenthood. Others may be moved to provide a much needed home to an older child in foster care. Some families are drawn to international adoption, with all its adventures, joys and complexities.

Choosing the right adoption path is critical to your success in adopting. Joyce Schwensen helps her clients find their right path through her extensive knowledge of the requirements and procedures for different types of adoption, and through her empathy and personal experience as an adoptive parent. Call the Law Office of Joyce S. Schwensen today at (206) 367-1065 to set up an individualized two-hour consultation with Joyce Schwensen to help you determine what type of adoption is best for you.

Choosing the best type of adoption for your family is just the beginning. All adoptive parents are faced with a wide range of questions. Some people have concerns about whether they are qualified. Washington law allows any adult to adopt, but all must pass a homestudy. Single parents and same-sex couples are no differently by the law than opposite sex married couples. However, these families may still face discrimination from some private agencies, other state agencies, foreign governmentsand some individuals. As an experienced adoption attorney, Joyce Schwensen helps all types of families who are seeking to adopt, and can help each particular family with its own specific circumstances.

All adoptive parents are thoroughly screened in a process called a “homestudy”. Many adoptive parents are anxious about the homestudy process, or concerned that they will found lacking in some way. In her ten years of experience as the Executive Director of an adoption agency, Joyce Schwensen reviewed hundreds of homestudies, and can give adoptive families a clear understanding of what to expect in the homestudy process. The word “homestudy” is somewhat misleading, because examining your home is a relatively small part of what is involved.

As part of the homestudy, you will go through criminal and child abuse background checks, and provide medical and financial information and references. But perhaps the most important part of the homestudy will be the personal interviews in your home by an adoption social worker or counselor. The social worker will discuss adoption issues with you and help you prepare to become an adoptive parent, ready to help your child deal with issues and concerns that are unique to adopted children.

Any concerns you may have about the homestudy process can be thoroughly covered as part of a individualized two hour consultation with Joyce Schwensen, in which the homestudy and any other questions you may have about adoption can be answered. Call the Law Office of Joyce S. Schwensen today at (206) 367-1065 to set up an appointment.

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Adopting a Child Already in Your Life

Some people want to adopt a child in order to become parents. But many people are already raising their grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other children without the benefits or protections of adoption. If you're in such a situation, the legal process of adoption is the only way to provide permanency for the child and ensure the child stays with you, regardless of how long the child has lived with you.

Sometimes, a child's biological parents may no longer be able to serve as mother or father. They may have passed away. They may be absent for extended periods. They may just not be fit to be parents. In such cases, a child's grandparent or other extended family member may step in to serve. If such an arrangement is intended to be or becomes permanent, adoption is an important decision with benefits for both the children and the adults who are taking responsibility to raise the child. If you are in this type of situation and want to explore the possibility of adoption with an experienced attorney, Joyce Schwensen may be able to help you.

Many stepparents do not differentiate between stepchildren and biological children. However, the law does. The legal relationship between a stepparent and stepchild can come to an end through divorce or through the death of the child’s biological parent. Even a long-absent biological parent may have preference for custody of a child over a stepparent, despite what the child may want or even what everyone thinks would be best for the child. If your stepchild is close to you, but has little or no relationship with their other biological parent, you may be able to adopt the child in order to protect him or her from the risk of losing their relationship with you should tragedy occur.

If your child’s biological parent will give their consent to the adoption, these adoptions can be fairly easy to complete. And if you cannot locate your child’s biological parents you may be allowed to terminate their parental rights after publishing notice in a newspaper. But these cases are highly technical and the assistance of an experienced adoption attorney is vital. If you’d like to explore the possibility of adopting your stepchild, call the Law Office of Joyce S. Schwensen today at (206) 367-1065 to set up an appointment.

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Assisted Reproduction in Washington State

Some parents choose to have children through assisted reproduction. Assisted reproduction includes a variety of procedures, including surrogacy, sperm donation and ovum donation. It's a field that is growing as new technology develops. However, it is vital that all parties involved understand their obligations, and that any agreements are carefully crafted to respect the rights and wishes of everyone. Joyce Schwensen can draft these important agreements.

Additionally, in some situations a child conceived or born through assisted reproduction may need to be legally adopted by one or both of the intended parents in order to firmly and forever establish the parent-child relationships. When necessary, Joyce Schwensen helps parents who use assisted reproduction to complete a legal adoption of their child.

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Law Office of Joyce S. Schwensen | Seattle, WA Adoption Attorney

If you have any adoption-related matter, whether you are a birth parent thinking about placing a child for adoption, a potential adoptive parent seeking a child to adopt, a person who is raising a child and seeking legal adoption, or if you are seeking to have a family through assisted reproduction, Washington adoption lawyer Joyce Schwensen can help you. Call today at (206) 367-1065 to set up a consultation.

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