You have decided to grow your family through adoption but you don’t know where to begin. Should you sign up with an agency? Hire an attorney? Adopt through the foster care system? Let us help. We can inform you of your options, help you evaluate them, and even guide you to reputable attorneys and agencies who may be able to match you with a child. To us, it’s not just a case. It’s a child.
You need an experienced adoption attorney who understands the laws of your state because adoption laws vary from state to state. Attorney Susan Meisel Levin is Board Certified in adoption law, sits on the Board Certification Committee, and is well versed in the nuances of Florida adoption law. She worked for six years at a well-respected Florida non-profit adoption agency before opening her boutique private practice, and has been instrumentally involved in more than two hundred successful domestic adoption placements, including many governed by the Interstate Child Placement Compact (ICPC). If either your family or the birth mother are Florida residents, we can help you.
If you have already identified a birth mother and either you or she resides in Florida, our office can represent you to make sure your adoption is compliant with Florida law. If you need help to identify an expectant mother, we can refer you to reputable attorneys and agencies who provide matching services. Once you have been matched with an expectant mother, we can guide you through the adoption process. We provide careful, diligent management of the legal aspects of your case, including your finances, and treat birth parents with compassion.
Relative/Stepparent/Same Sex Parent Adoptions
Stepparent adoption is when the spouse of a child’s legal parent adopts him in court, without terminating the parental rights of the current legal- spouse parent. Such an adoption gives the stepparent the same legal rights as the biological parent. She will be able to make medical decisions, sign documents for the child, and would even be entitled to equal custody, should the relationship end. The rights of the other legal parent of the child must be terminated in order for the stepparent to adopt the child. We are experienced in handling both the legal and emotional aspects of this process.
A second parent adoption requires a home study and additional paperwork that is not required when the legal parent and adoptive parent are married.
In September of 2010, Florida became the last state to declare its ban on homosexual adoptions unconstitutional. Same sex couples now enjoy the same rights to stepparent adoptions and second parent adoptions as to heterosexual couples. This firm proudly serves all families, couples or single parents, regardless of sexual orientation.
Adoption of a Non-U.S. Citizen Child Currently in the United States
Can I bring my nephew here on a visitor’s visa or student visa and adopt him in the United States?
Probably not. Intentionally deceiving the Department of State regarding your intentions when your nephew applied for his visa will invalidate an otherwise bona fide adoption.
In certain situations, it is possible for a U.S. citizen to adopt in a state court a non-citizen child who is present in the United States.. The adoptive family must consider a number of pivotal factors before attempting such an adoption, including the child’s country of citizenship, the original purpose of the child’s entry into the United States and the reasons why the child needs to be adopted without returning to his home country.
Under certain very specific circumstances, a domestic adoption may be a pathway toward citizenship for a child who entered the United States for reasons other than adoption and who cannot or should not return home. You must proceed with caution in these circumstances because if such an adoption is attempted without a full understanding of the immigration implications, it can result in a bar to future citizenship. Additional rules apply to the domestic adoption children whose country of origin is signatory to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.
Let our experience work for you. If you reside in Florida, we can assist first with a domestic adoption, and later with a filing to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for citizenship. If you reside in another state, we can work with your local attorney or agency to be certain that your domestic adoption will further your goal of eventual citizenship for your child.
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