Attorney for Adoption and Fertility

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Questions about Adoption

Jan 2012

Hi - We are considering adoption of a second child. We are deciding between David Radis and Adopt Help. Both are law firms in SoCal. Would love to hear if anyone has worked with either and their experiences. Thank you!

We had a wonderful experience working with David Radis, and successfully adopted an infant girl in 2008. He is professional without being cold, sensitive without being sentimental, and gives invaluable advice gained over some 30 years of practice. I would be happy to answer any questions you have about him. P.

April 2010

Re: First-time adoption - which agency? which attorney?
We had a wonderful experience with the adoption lawyer, David Radis, based in L.A. I can't say enough good things about this man: his compassion, his professionalism, his efficiency. We had him take care of both outreach and paperwork, and were parents of a beautiful newborn girl within 9 months of having met him. Birthmothers are as fond of him as are adoptive parents who have worked with him, and his national reputation has a lot to do with the fact that he can match prospective parents up so quickly with the child they've been waiting for. In 2005, he was awarded the Congressional Angels in Adoption award. His website (new and improved) is:

Adoption lawyer with birthmother outreach?

Oct 2008

We adopted our son 2 years ago and are ready to adopt again. We'd like this to be a domestic, open, infant adoption. We used an agency last time, and this time we'd like to work with an adoption lawyer who does birthmother outreach. Ideally one who is both compassionate towards birthmothers and responsive to the needs of adoptive parents (and ideally Bay Area based). Mary

We have 2 great children and used Adopt International . We know both birthmoms and have open adoptions. The staff are really great with the birthmoms, and in the case of our first are still in contact and supportive of her after 8 yrs. Our second search was taking a while so we connected with John Chally in Portland Oregon. He also seems to be great with both perspective parents and birth families. Our second child was also thru Asopt Int'l, although we had signed up with John to ''cast a larger net''. Good luck, Kids DO change your lilfe and it is all for the better Virginia

Attorney for complicated adoption of 4-year-old

August 2004

Hi,we have a very complicated adoption situation for our 4.5 year old. Does Anyone have a recommendation for an attorney specialized and highly skilled in the adoption area? thanks in advance

I can personally recommend Marc Gradstein as a good guy. I know him through a run of the mill domestic adoption, but there were some wrinkles to our situation he handled well. His wife is also an adoption attorney and they practice together. She specializes in contested adoptions. Her name is Jane Gorman. They are based out of Burlingame. Amy

I'm a laywer and an adoptive mom, so here is my opinion. My adoption laywer,David Baum, in LA was fantastic. He knows everyone in the adoption community and has been president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. His number is 818 501-8355. He'd be good to consult with even if you decide to hire locally which if you are going to court is probably a good idea. I can't say enough good things about his commitment, ethics and legal sense.

Locally, I'd recommend Jane Gorman, in Half Moon Bay, who gave me lots of good advice when I was trying to adopt and handles contested adoptions. She's lawyer adoption lawyers refer to when they run into a problem. Joan Hollanger in Berkeley, is also an excellent attorney and I believe has participated in cases which have made adoption law. I 'm not sure she is practicing, but she might be good to consult with also. Diane Michelson, in Walnut Creek may also be a good person to consult. She seems very straightforward, and has a very good reputation and she will let you know if she can help you. Good luck and I'm sorry you are having problems with your adoption.

If your complicated adoption includes issues related to being in a same sex relationship you might try Linda Scaparotti at 415-434-9600. She specializes in these types of adoptions. Linda serves on my Board of Directors. Juliette

Check out Diane Michelsen. She is an adoption attorney who is also an LCSW. We used her for attorney services for our adoption. Though that was 7 years ago, we would use her again if we were in need of an adoption attorney. You can get further information about her at her website at Good luck! Lori

UC Benefits Legal Care for adoption

June 2004

I'm looking for a lawyer to help us adopt our foster children. The following are provided free through the UC Berkeley Legal Care program (the ''Arag Group''). Does anyone have experience with any of them, good or bad? Jaime Alcabes; Regis Amann; Michael Amthor; David Biasotti; Thomas Bishop; Albert Boasberg; Robert Borris Jr.; Jb Brainerd; Brooke Brigham; Cliff Capdevielle; Brian Chase; Hermin Dowe; Martin Elmer; Timothy Fricker; Tasos Geron; C. Gibson; Wendy Gibson; Merle Harding; Samuel Joens; Albert Kun; Anthony Lowenstein; Norman Macleod; James Mccarthy; Kay Mears; Frannie Mok-Wang; John Noonan; Frank Offen; Ora Prochovnick; Veronica Panella; Dean Shotwell; John Stringer; David Tomcik; Harald Westendorf. Also, has anyone had good experience with an attorney not on this list for adoption/De Facto Parenthood status? Thanks for any insights you can provide - you can email me off- line or to the network- Jane

I've known Ora Prochovnik over email... she is extremely sharp and takes her job very seriously. I'd recommend her without reservation--and I've seen several couples do just that, with regard to adoption. Jennie

Attorney for Lesbian couple adoption

May 2004

One of my friends at work is going to have a baby, and she wants her partner to adopt the baby so that they can legally be co-mothers. She asked me if we had used a lawyer, and I told her no. Any advice or recommendation? I would really appreciate it. teresa

I know many good attorneys who do adoptions for gay/lesbian families. Two in the East Bay are Eva Herzer and Emily Doscow in Oakland. Feel free to contact me if you'd like more names. amy

Ora Prochovnick is a great lesbian lawyer for gay families. She did our partnership papers and our adoption. She has been doing this for years, has done many adoptions and has a wonderful sense of how important this type of issue is. Her number is 415-241-1317. She does East Bay adoptions, even though her office is in the West Bay. Good luck Ruthy

We're using Linda Scaparotti in San Francisco for our domestic- partner adoption. She did our wills and trusts, too, and knows her stuff. The whole process -- attorney's fees and Alameda County adoption fee -- is about $1700. Feel free to have your friends email me if they have questions about the process. Linda Scaparotti, (415) 434-9600, linda at robin

Berkeley's own Nolo Press publishes an excellent book that instructs people on how to do their own second parent adoptions, which is the type of adoption that you describe in your post. The book is also good about explaining what types of adoptions are not of the do-it-yourself variety. The couple you describe can probably do the adoption themselves -- and save quite a bundle in the process. One of the authors of the book, Emily Doskow, was recommended by a previous response to this post. I work for Nolo Press and helped to edit the book, and I think it performs a valuable service for lesbian and gay couples who want to legalize the relationship that the second parent has with the child. You can order the book from Nolo at Amy D

Attorney for locating a child to adopt

Jan. 2004

We are adoptive parents considering a 2nd adoption, but are looking to use someone other than whom we originally used to help us match with a birthmother. We used Adoption Connection for our homestudy before and feel they are wonderful and would use them again for a homestudy. At the same time, I would appreciate hearing from folks who used Adoption Connection for actually finding your birthmother/child. There is one post on the website that is a little over a year old now, so I was hoping to hear from someone who had more recent experience. Also, we used Diane Michelsen as our attorney before and had a good experience. Has anyone out there used her to find you a birthmother/child? Thanks!

Hi- I have three adopted siblings and the last two were arranged through Diane--14 and 10 years ago. From what I have gathered from my mother, Diane was very available and was very quick to provide our profile to birth parents. We matched fairly quickly with several birth parents and it took maybe a month or two (?) for my brother to join our family. He was born in Indiana and my sister, who came a few years later, was born in Maryland. Grateful for my siblings

Congratulations on your adoption and beginning the process to adopt a 2nd child. That is great. I wanted to response to your question about Diane Michelson. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in Lafayette who works in the field of adoption. Many of my clients have used Diane's services and have been very happy about the support they received. Also, during the holidays, I had an opportunity to attend an ''Adoption Party'' which Diane does a few times a year. The party was wonderful, so many beautiful and happy families. It was my feeling from observing Diane with the parents and children that she does her work not for the money but for the love of family building. Good luck on your journey and if I could be of any assistance, please let me know. Cindy

We used Diane Michelsen 5 yrs ago for the adoption of our son, for both outreach services (i.e. finding a baby)as well as handling all the legal aspects of the adoption. We have recommended her to several people because (at least at that time) she had a very extensive outreach program and because she knows the law. When things got difficult with our adoption, she was very much there for us and worked hard to resolve the issues. Anon

My new husband wants to adopt my daughter

March 2003

I'd appreciate any recommendations for adoption attorneys. I am getting married and my future husband wants to adopt my little girl. Her biological father is fine with this so I need a lawyer primarily to process the paperwork.

I have been exposed to several adoption lawyers recently. The best attorney (direct, pleasant, effiecient,intelligent and reasonably priced) was Heather Stone 415-274-1605. I would highly recommend her. Alena

We had a wonderful experience with Shelley Tarnoff in Oakland (510-549-4747). She specializes in adoption and is knowledgeable and sensitive. And we found her to be very reasonably priced as well. I'd recommend her highly. Burr

We used Lawrence Siegel, JD as an adoptiong atty. A++. Thorough, thoughtful, available, reasonable (price), and loves his work. Plus, he's an adoptive parent himself. He's in Marin, but that wasn't a problem even though we live in the East Bay. Call him at 415-925-6788. Congratulations! Carolyn

California has a ''stepparent adoption'' procedure that is quite straightforward. My husband's ex-wife died three years ago. A year later, I did a stepparent adoption of their 13 year old daughter by using the Nolo Press book. We had no attorney, found the forms easy to fill out and the submissions office (Contra Costa County--we're in El Sobrante) office quite helpful on the few details that posed any problem. Our adoptions was successful and simple to do--much easier than a full-on adoption. Ilene

I am the Director of an association of Plaintiff attorneys and would suggest giving Amalia Attruia-Hartwell a call- she does family law 415-771-0136. If she doesn't work out for you send me an email and I'll give you some names of other people who do this type of law. Good luck! Juliette

I recommend Diane Michelsen. Go to We used her for attorney services for our adoption and liked her a lot. She is in Lafayette. Lori

We have used Larry Siegel to terminate our son's birthfather's rights. It was a simple, technical paperwork type of work but he was on time, nice, responsive. He was recommended to me by Adoption Connection. I don't have his number but it should be easy to find good luck

California Law requires that a couple be married for 1 year before a step-parent adoption can proceed. Nolo Press publishes a book called ''How to Adopt Your Stepchild in California'' which would be an excellent place to get started once you are ready. anonymous

Older recommendations

June 1999
We adopted a newborn domestically 10 months ago and had a relatively trouble-free adoption (not often the case). We used Adoption Connection in San Francisco for our homestudy and were extremely happy with them and with our caseworker. We used Diane Michelsen in Lafayette as our adoption attorney and were also very happy with her. She had come very highly recommended - while we used her only for attorney services, she also does the entire adoption if you want that type of service. We did a lot of research before choosing our team. It can be a daunting process, and certainly expensive.

June 1999
We can highly recommend Atty's Nancy Hurwitz or Marc and Bonnie Gradstein, both should be in the yellow pages. They have produced great results and have been thorough and professional. For biracial kids, PACT in SF is terrific. - Jon

Questions about IVF, Donor Eggs/Sperm

Editor Note: For more attorney recommendations, see advice about Egg Donation and Sperm Donation

Attorney for donor insemination agreement

May 2010

I am one half of a queer female couple and am looking for a lawyer recommendation. I need to have a parental termination of rights contract for after the baby's born, and do the partner adoption process. Any recs of solid family lawyers would be great. Thanks! expecting

I heartily recommend Deborah Wald. She's got tons of experience in this area, is a lesbian mom, and has really be at the forefront of these legal conversations in California. We used her services 6 years ago and were really happy working with her. Rachel

I would highly recommend Emily Doskow in the East Bay. She handled our step parent adoption and was warm, friendly and informed. She works on a sliding scale. She works primarily with the LBGT community. Good luck. Liz

Legal Services for IVF

April 2003

Looking for recommendations for legal services with regard to negligence in an IVF donor egg treatment. Any suggestions and/or help would be most welcome. Thank you. Unhappy

Shelley Tarnoff (510-482-2226) was our attorney when we adopted a baby four years ago. From what I understand, she also does infertility-related legal work. We loved her. I recommend you give her a call to see if she can help you. Burr