How to Recognize Adoption Fraud

Adopting a child is a stressful, time consuming, and ultimately rewarding experience that provides a child with an opportunity to live in a stable and loving environment. Though the legal and emotional aspects of adoption are often discussed, few talk about the criminal dangers that can be associated with adoption. One of the most heartbreaking things that adults wanting to become parents can experience is adoption fraud. As adoption becomes more difficult throughout the United States, an environment that breeds fraudulent activity grows, placing adults and children in danger. Knowing how to recognize adoption fraud can protect you or your loved ones from being hurt emotionally, physically, and financially.

Guarantees

No matter how reliable the agency is or how well-meaning a birth family seems, it is impossible for them to make certain guarantees. Time frames for adoptions can fluctuate based on court calendars, personal or professional emergencies, and other outside forces. If an agency or individual promises you that your adoption will be completed within an exact period of time, it is a good idea to be wary. Also, if any of your concerns regarding the health of the baby or compliance of both parents are met with absolute assurances, that could be a red flag. It is always possible that one parent could change his or her mind or that medical complications could occur, and most reputable agencies will advise you of that fact to prepare you for that possibility even if the chances are slight.

Multiple Financial Emergencies

A family with known financial issues or a person who is pregnant while homeless may legitimately need financial assistance. That is something most adoptive parents expect and are prepared to assist with. However, if a person who has not mentioned financial issues prior to the initiation of the adoption suddenly begins having nonstop financial emergencies, that could be a warning sign of things to come. A person who is constantly contacting you to request money for food, rent, medical expenses that are not documented, and other needs may only be focused on getting money during the pregnancy with no intention of completing the adoption. Anyone who needs financial assistance will not hesitate to provide you with information necessary to verify his or her story and instead of receiving funds outside of those already agreed upon will accept assistance in the form of direct payments to creditors, food deliveries, and more.

Limited Communication

A woman or family willing to place their child with you usually want to communicate on a regular basis to discuss your concerns, verify aspects of the arrangement, and confirm that you are the right choice for their biological child. If the person you are adopting from does not seem willing to talk to you at all, that is a major warning sign. Even if they are uncomfortable talking to you on the phone, emails, text message, and even social media messages are all viable forms of communication. Either you or representatives from the agency you are using should always be able to get in touch with the birth mother.

Getting Legal Advice

If you are afraid of being taken advantage of during the adoption process, the best way to protect yourself is by securing the assistance of an adoption attorney. The team at Lawrence Law Office is available to guide you through the adoption process while protecting your legal interests.  Contact us today and schedule an appointment so that we can begin discussing your needs.

Essential Advice for First Time Adoptive Parents

Adopting allows you to offer stability to a child in need while helping your own family grow. Regardless of the type of adoption (step parent, grandparent, or through an agency), the process can be an extremely rewarding experience. While the process for legally finalizing any type of adoption can be stressful and time consuming, as well, there are a few pieces of advice that are helpful to all parents. Following this essential advice for first time adoptive parents can make navigating through the process easier for everyone involved.

Make a Realistic Plan for Financing

Adoption is not always cheap, and funding may become difficult at an unexpected moment.  Prior to fully engrossing yourself in the process, make sure you are prepared to finance it.  Contact adoption foundations in your area, explore adoption grants, and even talk to people in your personal or professional circles. Doing all of this in addition to seeking loans and relying on savings will give you a good idea of how much money you actually have available to complete your adoption. It is best to research sources of funds that are not guaranteed first instead of assuming the money will be available after you exhaust the funds you already have.

Discuss Adoption with an Attorney

No matter what type of adoption you are considering, an attorney will be necessary to finalize the process and protect your best interests. Even if you know the birth parents, are a family member, or feel as though the process is a formality, talking to an attorney ensures that you are completely informed of everything that is a vital part of the adoption. An attorney can explain what documentation is needed, if psychological exams will be required, and what post-adoption resources you might benefit from utilizing.

Be Prepared to Talk to Your New Child About His or Her Previous Life

If you are adopting an older child who remembers what his or her life was like prior to being adopted, do not be afraid to discuss that past together. Even if you are a stepparent or a grandparent, there may be some aspects of a child’s previous life of which you are unaware.  Offering even minor consistencies in his or her daily routine from before the adoption may aid your child if he or she is having difficulty adjusting to the new life or your role as legal adoptive parent. Also, your willingness to talk to your child about life before you entered the picture may increase his or her overall comfort while reminding the child not to feel bad about any aspect of that former life.

Contact Us for Legal Advice

Deciding to adopt a child is something that is often done after a lot of soul searching and carefully conducted research. Once you are sure of your decision and ready to initiate the first step in the process, contacting a qualified adoption attorney is the best way to begin. The attorneys at Lawrence Law Office are ready to answer your questions and help you with all of your adoption needs. Contact us today to schedule a private consultation at our Columbus location.

Adopted Children and Ability to Inherit

Children are adopted for a variety of reasons, whether it is due to a couple’s inability to have children, a general disposition towards adopting, or by a family member when someone dies. Many people who are adopted view themselves as the children of their adopted parents, while some continue to communicate with their biological parents. What happens legally when the biological parent dies and a biological child seeks to inherit under his or her will, or the adopting parent dies without leaving a will for the adopted children?

Biological Parents

Once adopted, a child is viewed as the legitimate child of the adoptive parents and not the biological parents any longer. Unless stated in the will, the adopted child has no right to inherit from the biological parents upon their deaths. If the biological parents seek to leave their child any sort of inheritance, it would have to be expressly stated in the will. There are special circumstances, discussed below, for those children adopted by a stepparent.

Adoptive Parents

Upon adoption papers being signed, the adopted child is viewed in the eyes of the court as a legal child of the adoptive parents, which ends the relationship between the biological parents and the child. In some states, adoption decrees outline a continuation of inheritance rights for the child from the biological parents, while others allow birth parents to inherit from their biological child, even if adopted by another family, if the child dies before them. In about one third of the states, if the child is adopted by a stepparent after the parent dies, the adopted child can still inherit from their birth parent or other relative, keeping intact inheritance rights. Even if the adopted parent does have a will made prior to the adoption of the child, it is assumed that the adopted child is included in the class of gift made to children, unless specifically stated otherwise.

Concerned About Your Inheritance Rights?

Adoption changes the lives of many people, but it should not change your life again when you experience difficulties in estate planning. If you or someone you know is having the legal status as a child of their adoptive family challenged, call the experienced legal team at Lawrence Law Office today at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation or email us using our website or lawrence@lawrencelawoffice.com. We will help you get the results you deserve.

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