Adopting the Child of a Friend or Family Member

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An acquaintance of ours is pregnant & planning adoption

October 2006

My husband and I have recently been presented with an amazing opportunity to adopt a baby. We've spent years trying to conceive and had just begun the international adoption process when we found out an acquaintance is pregnant and planning to place her child for adoption. We've spoken and so far this seems like a good match for everyone involed. But we have tons of questions -- and don't even know which questions to ask. If you've gone through a private adoption, I'd love to hear about your experience. How early in the pregnancy were you involved? How did you find an attorney? What are some of the key elements in an adoption agreement? Did you or the birthmom go through counseling? What's the post-adoption relationship like (with the birthmom)? In our case, the birthmom wants her little boy (5 yrs old) to be able to have contact with his sibling. We don't have a problem with this, but we're just not sure what it will be like. Is anyone in a similiar situation -- and is this something we should be wary of? What were some of your fears and and concerns and how were they resolved? Thank you in advance for sharing -- any insight or advice would be greatly appreciated! Michelle

There are many books available on private adoption...just check on Amazon. You could contact PACT in Montclair. Beth Hall is very helpful. You could call Anne or David Brodzinsky who are experienced psychologists who specialize in adoption. They practice in Montclair. 510-985-1773 Been There
I've seen questions like yours before and note that many folks on BPN respond with a recommendation for adoption attorney Diane Michelsen. I just wanted to chime in with an opposing view. We worked with Diane briefly, and I found her and her office staff to be cold, unhelpful and nonresponsive. I felt that we had much better service once we found someone else (out of state) to help us. Anon
Oh, that sounds so wonderful! We adopted two children through Diane Michelsen in Lafayette 925-945-1880. We chose her after attending adoption conferences and hearing her speak. We strongly believe you should get the very best professional help - no skimping - this is crucial. She expertly advised and guided us - including how to spot the red flags and when to walk away from the situation. You sound mature enough to know that you may need to walk away- don't persevere after a situation that has red flags. Your situation sounds good though. You can arrange the degree of openness and contact any way you and the birth parents want, just make sure it is right for you. Allow for the fact that after a couple of years her interest may dwindle so structure it so that it is optional for her. She doesn't need any more guilt, I am sure. Adoption is a beautiful way to start a family, and I can't imagine my life without my kids. Good luck to you! Anon

My brother in India wants me to adopt his child

August 2006


My brother has asked me to adopt his 4 year old son. He currently resides in India. Him and his wife are not getting along and my nephew is witnessing a lot of things he should not. Needless to say, he has some behavioural issues such as delayed speech and is quite spirited.

I am a single parent with a son close to my newphew's age. My son is the opposite end of the spectrum. He is well-mannered, speaks really well and is calm most of the time.

Has anyone gone through with an adoption similar to this? Would like to hear about any issues. I am worried about how my son would react. Also wondering about legal issues. Can I adopt my newphew and bring him to this country or best to have him just visit. I don't have to adopt him per say but I want him to have all the rights, with respects to schooling etc. Lastly, I am fully aware of the strain this would put on my finances. Would this reduce my financial obligation to my ex?

Would like to consult with a lawyer who specializes in this area. Regards, with trepidation

I am an adoption open outreach consultant, so your question is not exactly my area of expertise. But it does come up occasionally and I have learned a thing or two over the years.

An international kinship adoption is going to be legally complex and cost you some money, but it is not impossible. I recommend consulting Lynne Jacobs, director of Adopt International, 415-934-0300 to see if they can help. Lynne will probably be able to roughly estimate the cost of this endevor as well as the time frame. You will be required to pass a CA adoption homestudy, and will probably have to hire an adoption attorney, both here and in India.

Adopting an older child is an entirely separate and very large issue. For all adoption and/or attachemnt related issues, I strongly recommend Virginia Keeler-Wolf of the Bay Area Attachment Center, 510-339-9363. Virginia is amazing with both kids and parents and specializes in children adopted from overseas. Jane

Hi, I am not quite sure of all your circumstances, however, I recently took in my niece. We did not go the adoption route, because I think that would take a long time to do. However, we did the ''legal guardian''. The parents were going through terrible times and I think it would have affected their daughter terribly. The one thing about legal guardianship, is both parents must agree that you would be the guardian. However, at any time, they can go to court and revoke it (e.g. Divorce/Custody etc.) As for the little boy, he may have those issues/problems because he is not getting the parenting that he needs. You really need to consider how much you can/willing/able to handle. Initially it will be very tough because as a 4 y/o he may not understand, but young enough to teach him. It will be a difficult time and you may end up resenting his parents or him. In the long run it was hard for me, but you end up loving them as if they are your own. I wish you the very best. You could contact a lawywer and just get some questions answered over the phone. Just call a couple places. Good luck anon