Friday, October 30, 2009

Choosing a Lawyer....

Okay - when we went to the Adoption Task Force Meeting a couple weeks ago, one thing became entirely clear. Some attorneys take advantage of clients. From overcharging, to charging the client to LEARN what the law is, to coercing birth mothers to place a child from adoption etc. It was heartbreaking to hear of story after story where these things had happened. So here are some tips on finding a lawyer.

Where to start:

1. Ask other friends who have adopted who they have used and if they were satisfied.

2. Ask your agency who they recommend.

3. Call the local Bar Association and see who they recommend for Adoptions.

4. Interview multiple attorneys.

What to ask:

1. Will you have an employment contract? An ethical attorney will have a contract that lays out what you have hired them for, what the rate is, how you will be billed, what the retainer is, how you will be charged, etc.

2. How much do they anticipate it will cost? Some lawyers will agree to a flat rate, and some lawyers will want to be paid hourly. Both have their benefits. A flat rate, MIGHT cost you more, but you will know from day one what your costs will be. Hourly MIGHT be cheaper if the adoption moves smoothly. But if not, it would end up costing you. Never be afraid to ask for a discount or a lesser charge.

3. What types of payment do they take? cash, check, credit card or payment plan?

3. How many adoptions have they done? Where have they done them (what counties)?

4. Three references. Most attorneys WILL provide references. I know that sounds weird. But attorney's can give you client comments or references.

When to decide:

1. You want to have your attorney lined up quickly. You don't want wait until the child is born, especially if you have to hire an attorney to preform ALL parts of an adoption (relinquishment of rights and finalization) as opposed to just the finalization. Therefore, the attorney ideally will meet with the birth mother prior to the child's birth. In addition, any bargaining can be done PRIOR to the birth. Once the baby is born, there is NO time to shop.

2. You want to decide quickly because most GOOD attorneys will require a retainer. And depending on what you need done, it will be quite a bit of money. You will want to know up front.

Creative Ideas:

Adoption costs can be high. When it is time, if costs are tight, try calling a large law firm and see if someone can do an adoption pro bono. Ask lawyers for a payment plan. Call legal aid and see if they can help. But remember, you must do these things in advance, they take time. Molly said there might even be some grants to ease the financial burden. Also, MANY employers will help with adoption cost. Check with your workplace and your spouse's to see what needs to be done to apply for this.

Most of all...know your rights. Know that even if you are with an agency, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE YOUR ATTORNEY. Most agencies will recommend lawyers, but remember when it comes down to it. It is your choice. And because it is our choice, we have to make sure that we are protecting our family, our child and their birth family.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Prayers Please

I am not sure that I have shared on the POA blog that the Adoption Review Task Force has asked Mandy and I to come and speak TOMORROW!

That's right! We need your prayers Thursday, October 15th @ 1:30!

We are one of 3 families sharing concerns for Oklahoma adoption law.

What an honor to be able to discuss this with such a great group of professionals!

What an honor to be able to stand united with Mandy tomorrow.

Please pray for God to speak through us and for our hearts to have peace.

Thank you for all of your support! We'll be sure to update on how it goes!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Adoption/Foster Care Information!!!

I had to post about this because it's a wonderful event packed full of information.

Coming up next month there is a FREE symposium about adoption and foster care.

If you've ever been interested in either of these and need a place to get questions answered and meet professionals in this field... THIS IS THE EVENT!

I can't tell you how many times that people ask us questions because it's obvious we've adopted.

Then follows... "I've always wanted to adopt, BUT...

...I can't afford it."
...I don't know where to start."
...the information is overwhelming!"

So, if you've said that to me or if you've thought that please go to this event.

This group is committed to getting information into your hands and helping families make their dreams a reality!!!

Have a great day!