Client Focused. Results Driven.
Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

Adoption Lawyers in Northern Kentucky

Helping Clients Expand Their Families Through the Process of Adoption

Adoption can be a wonderful way to add to your family, but it’s also a path that can come with uncertainty, confusion, and even apprehension. In many cases, prospective adoptive parents have been waiting years to finally be matched with a child, and it can be difficult to separate the emotions of this situation from the legal processes. If you’re considering adoption, you need an experienced attorney who can advocate for you and ensure everything is handled properly for the best outcome.

Making the decision to adopt is just the first step in what can be a long journey. At the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, we’re here to guide you through the process and ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities. Call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss where you’re at in your adoption journey and how we can help facilitate the process.

What Types of Adoption Are Available in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, it is possible to either adopt a child through an adoption agency or go through an independent adoption. Private adoption agencies are often part of churches, charities, or other organizations. The children adopted through these agencies are generally willingly relinquished by their biological parents. It’s also possible to adopt from a public agency in the state of Kentucky, which can include the foster care system. Children in the care of a public agency may have been willingly relinquished but may also come from other situations, such as the parents dying or the child being removed from the home and parental rights terminated.

Are There Any Requirements to Adopt?

According to state law, there are only two requirements for someone to be eligible to adopt a child. They must be at least 18 years of age, and they must have been a resident of Kentucky for at least 12 months. If a married couple is petitioning to adopt a child, they must do so jointly. However, specific adoption agencies may have other requirements. It’s common for adoption agencies to require a home study and interview family members or friends. Adoption agencies may also have different age limits. For example, those who wish to adopt from the Kentucky Foster Adoptive Caregiver Exchange System must be at least 21 years of age and must prove that they are financially stable enough to support a child.

How Long Does an Adoption Take to Finalize?

Adoption is not a quick process. It can take years to make the final decision to pursue adoption and potentially just as long to be matched with a child. Before the final adoption hearing, the biological parents must provide consent to terminate their parental rights if they aren’t already removed. In the case of infant adoptions, the biological parents cannot provide this consent until 72 hours after the birth. This timeframe ensures the biological parents have time to consider their decision.

In most cases, the adoptive parents will also have to go through the home study process to ensure that the home and prospective parents are suitable for the child. This can take several weeks to months to complete. Once you get to the final adoption hearing, however, this is the quickest part of the entire process. The hearing generally takes less than one hour. Once the final decree of adoption has been signed by the judge, the adoption is complete and you can go home as an official family.

While the adoption process is naturally a long one, there are ways to speed up the process. Working with an attorney can ensure you are able to overcome any challenges as quickly as possible so that they don’t hinder the process unnecessarily.

How Much Does Adoption Cost?

One of the major hurdles in the adoption process is the cost. While the total cost of an adoption can vary dramatically depending on which type you pursue, most of them require a significant financial investment. International adoptions are often the most expensive and can cost $50,000 or more. Private agencies generally charge $20,000 to $50,000.

Foster care adoptions are the least expensive because they are partially subsidized by the state. In some cases, adopting from foster care may require only paying for the mandatory training course. However, there are usually other expenses related to the adoption to consider, such as furniture for the child’s room, a larger car to accommodate a larger family, and incidentals such as food and toys.

If you’re concerned about the financial aspect of adopting a child, there are options to help with the cost. Some charitable organizations provide fundraising help for prospective adoptive parents, and crowdfunding may also be an option.

When you’re going through the adoption process, it can be incredibly helpful to have someone on your team who has helped others complete successful adoptions and can be there to assist if there are any challenges or questions. If you’re considering adoption in the Covington, KY, area, call 859-667-1204 to schedule an appointment with one of the lawyers at the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC.