Maryville Adoption Lawyers Helping Families Grow
Skilled family law attorneys helping people in Maryville, Lenoir City, and throughout East Tennessee
Adoption is one of the happiest events families can experience, but this type of lifetime commitment involves a complex legal process. The experienced Maryville adoption attorneys from the law firm of Shepherd and Associates, P.C., can make a difference for you in virtually every step of this process. We have more than four decades of collective experience helping prospective adoptive parents meet federal and state requirements — from the time they file the initial application, through the happy day when they welcome a child into their families.
Types of adoption
There are several different types of adoption depending on the circumstances of the adoptive parents and child:
- Step-Parent and relative adoption. When one of the birth parents of a child decides to marry and their new spouse wants to establish a legal relationship with the child, or a blood relative is seeking to adopt, Tennessee has a process for these adoptions.
- Agency and DCS adoption. Children who are under the guardianship of the state of Tennessee are available for adoption to loving families after an application process, a home study and other requirements have been met.
- Independent and Private. Private adoptions occur without the involvement of an adoption agency. Prospective adoptive parents come to an agreement with the birth parents about the adoption, there is a home study and other legal requirements before the adoption becomes final.
- International Adoption. Some Tennessee families choose to adopt a child from somewhere else in the world to make their families complete. The adoption may be finalized in the child’s country of origin or in the U.S.
Who can adopt a child in Tennessee?
There may be many misconceptions about who can adopt a child, so you may be surprised to know that you do not need to be a happily married couple who owns a home and earns a significant income. You can be a single person, you can live in a home that you rent and you may or may not have a full-time job. What the state of Tennessee wants to be assured of is that you are stable—emotionally, physically and financially—that you are willing to make a commitment to love and care for a child, that you have a safe, stable home and that you are fully capable of supporting yourself and your prospective adoptive child on your own. If you can complete the training, pass the home study, and meet all the other requirements, then you may be able to adopt a child.
Preparing for adoption
Before you decide to adopt a child, you need to understand the issues unique to adoption. During your initial consultation, our family law attorneys help you prepare for some of the potential psychological issues you, the adopted child and your other family members may experience. Advanced preparation helps ensure the seamless introduction of a new family member into your lives.
The Tennessee adoption process
To help ensure adoption is the right choice for children and parents, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services requires potential adoptive parents to go through a detailed process that includes the following steps:
- Submission of a Foster/Adoption Application for Parenting to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
- Completion of a 30-hour education and self-assessment process
- A home study conducted by a licensed child placement agency
- Submission of a written home study that includes a family description, verification, medical and financial statements, and references
Completion of these steps does not guarantee your acceptance as an adoptive parent. An incomplete application or failure to meet the full requirements when providing medical and financial information can stop the adoption process at any time.
Having guided many parents through the adoption process, our Maryville adoption attorneys have a clear understanding of the requirements, and the complex legal issues involved in adoption. We make sure you know what to expect; so you can prepare properly and help ensure the success of the adoption process.
Contact an experienced adoption lawyer in Maryville
Adopting a child requires a great deal of consideration even before you submit the initial application. It makes sense to begin by scheduling a consultation with an experienced adoption attorney who can guide you in making your decision and throughout the adoption process. For more information, or to schedule a consultation with Shepherd and Associates, P.C., call 865-225-9655 or fill out the contact form on this website.