Planning a family is something that couples anticipate with great joy and a hint of nervousness. For couples considering adoption, the process can be complicated with uncertainties, unknowns, and plenty of what-ifs. Toss in the emotional turmoil this causes for all parties, and it can be a long, stressful process.
A recent adoption case handled by The Law Offices of Kathleen E. Shaul involved three states, a birth father in prison, and a married biological mother but ended on a happy note for the adoptive family after an 18-month process.
The biological mother contacted an adoption agency soon after discovering she was pregnant from an extramarital affair. Her situation was such that she was already married with two children of her own. Mother chose not to keep the baby and wished to place the baby in a new home environment upon birth.
The adoption agency started the process without issue, but when the biological father discovered the pregnancy—from prison—he contested the adoption. After birth, Father had no contact with the baby but had obtained a picture of the child from the biological mother and displayed it on his cell wall. The court found that his display of the picture evidenced a relationship with the child and the jury was swayed in his favor. His parental rights were not terminated and the adoption could not progress. Even though this delayed the process for all parties, the biological mother still needed to find a home for the child and the prospective adoptive parents desperately wanted the child.
With unsuccessful attempts to complete the adoption process, the adoptive parents contacted Kathleen Shaul’s office. Kathleen first sought to establish legal guardianship for the child, which the prospective adoptive parents were granted. The next issue was to approve the adoption. During this process, the birth father made no attempt to contact the child or the guardians through cards, letters, or phone calls. As a result, the court re-evaluated the case and eventually granted adoption rights to the couple.
Within a few months of Kathleen Shaul taking the case, the new family was formed. The adoption was final earlier this month, soon after the baby’s first birthday, and in time for the family to celebrate its first Christmas together.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, an estimated 135,000 children are adopted in the US annually. Adoption is a wonderful opportunity for the child, the birth parents and the adoptive parents. While the process can be complicated and emotionally stressful, having a knowledgeable, compassionate adoption attorney on your side makes the process smoother.
Are you or someone you know considering adoption? Do you have questions about adoption? Kathleen Shaul and her legal team are available to handle your questions and concerns. Call us at (314) 499-1476.