WHAT KINDS OF ADOPTIONS DOES CLIFF HANDLE?
Our firm represents adoptive parents in New York and New Jersey in private, agency, foster care, and step-parent adoptions of children born in the United States or being readopted in the U.S after adoption abroad.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRIVATE AND AGENCY ADOPTION?
There are two types of agency adoption. In a direct placement, the agency locates the birth mother and Cliff will handle the finalization in Family or Surrogate's Court in the borough where you reside. In an Identified agency adoption, the adoptive parents locate the birth mother and proceed with the adoption through the agency. Cliff will finalize the adoption for you in court. In a private adoption, there is no agency involvement, and Cliff helps you establish a networking plan by doing a nationwide search for a baby, including internet search, Dear Birth mother letters, and letter writing campaigns to the appropriate parties who may be able to assist in the search to find your baby.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ME TO ADOPT?
Although there are no guarantees, most of Cliff's clients adopt a child in 12-18 months.
HOW CAN I LOCATE A BIRTH MOTHER?
Cliff will help you devise a marketing plan so that you can connect with a birth mother through various means, including letter writing, internet search, advertising, and creating a website.
WHO CAN BE AN ADOPTIVE PARENT?
In New York, just about anyone over the age of 18 can adopt. One could adopt as a single parent, married couple, same-sex partner, grandparent, etc. Aside from certain limitations set regarding those with criminal and child abuse histories, natural parents whose rights have not been terminated have control over whether or not they consent to you adopting their child.
WHO CAN I ADOPT?
New York permits one to adopt almost anyone. However, the condition for all adoptions is that the relationship created must closely resemble that of a parent and child. As this is the only real limitation, it is possible to adopt an adult, even though the process is different from the adoption of a child under the age of 14.
CAN I ADOPT A CHILD THAT HAS NOT YET BEEN BORN?
No. New York does not allow consents for adoption to be signed by the natural parent before the child is born. However, you may begin certain parts of the adoption process such as the certification process, if you have previously discussed adoption with a biological parent who has not yet given birth, but is pregnant.
CAN I STILL ADOPT IF I HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD?
It depends entirely on the nature of the crime and how long ago it was committed. Child abuse convictions, for example, are always a complete bar to adoption. Even being reported to authorities for child abuse without any conviction may be problematic if you seek to adopt. For some convictions such as felony convictions for assault or drugs, five years must have passed since the conviction before you will be approved.
DO PRIVATE ADOPTION PROCEDURES APPLY TO ME IF I SEEK TO ADOPT THE CHILD OF MY HUSBAND OR WIFE BECAUSE I AM A STEP-PARENT?
Yes, the New York provisions on private adoptions will apply to you, just in modified form. What you are essentially seeking is what is called a step-parent adoption. With a step-parent adoption, the certification process involved in a standard private adoption can also be avoided. Finally, the child must have resided in the home of the biological parent and the step-parent for at least three months before the court will issue the adoption order.
CAN I, A PARTNER IN A SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIP, ADOPT THE CHILD OF MY PARTNER?
Yes, New York law permits the adoption of the child of one same-sex partner by the other. However, as expected, this process also differs somewhat from the standard private adoption process.
SAME-SEX PARENTING/ SECOND-PARENT ADOPTION
FOSTER PARENT ADOPTION
Law Office of Clifford l. Greenberg