Adoption Attorney in Kingsport, Tennessee
It has been said that the world may not change if you adopt a child or adult, but you will change the world for them. Adoption is a gift both for the person who wants to parent and for the child or adult who needs one.
Adoption in Tennessee takes time, whether it is a mother who wants to make sure you can provide a good home for her child, or the State of Tennessee, bound by law to choose adoptive parents who can serve the best interests of children who need a family. If you want to adopt, you will need patience and you will benefit from the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who takes joy in seeing families begin or grow.
Attorney Steven C. Frazier helps clients in Kingsport, Church Hill, Bristol, Johnson City, and throughout Northeastern Tennessee navigate the adoption process. Clients appreciate his experience, compassion, advocacy, and commitment to telling them not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. Contact Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law today for all of your adoption needs, questions, and concerns.
Types of Adoption in Tennessee
There are six types of adoption an individual or couple can pursue, depending on their wishes and circumstances:
An adoption through the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS), also referred to as a “state adoption,” pairs adoptive parents with children in DSC care.
Private adoptions are facilitated by private agencies who match biological parents before or immediately after giving birth with prospective parents who want to adopt an infant.
International adoptions are facilitated by private or foreign governmental agencies to place children with parents in the United States.
Stepparent adoptions allow the stepparent married to the child’s biological parent to adopt the stepchild.
Adult adoption is a way for one adult to adopt another as a way to ensure the adoptee’s inheritance rights. The adoptee will enjoy all the same rights to the parent’s estate as any biological child.
Surrogacy adoption can be gestational or traditional. In the former, the surrogate carries the adoptive parents’ biological child. In the latter, the male adoptive parent’s sperm is used to fertilize the egg of the surrogate. Be sure to consult with a family law attorney if you are interested in surrogacy (and the other types as well) to help ensure a smooth adoption process.
Tennessee Adoption Laws
Any competent resident of Tennessee who is at least 21 years old, whether married, divorced, or single, can adopt from the Tennessee DCS. They are not required to own their home, they can have other children already, and they can work full time and place the child in daycare if they choose. Adoptive parents must be able to support their family emotionally and financially.
Children under full guardianship of the DCS are available for adoption. Also available for private and international adoption are children whose biological parents have or will terminate their parental rights. In a stepparent adoption, the biological parent must terminate their parental rights to allow the stepparent to adopt. No such consent to termination is required in an adult adoption because the adult adoptee can make that choice.
Children who are at least 14 years old cannot be adopted without their consent in Tennessee. The same is true for adults. No consent is required for younger children.
What Is the Process for Adoption?
The adoption process will vary based on the type of adoption you are pursuing. If you are adopting through the Tennessee DCS, you will need to apply to the DCS and then have a privately-licensed child placement agency conduct a home study to be submitted to the DCS.
The home study involves interviewing you and obtaining information about employment, finances, and other pertinent information. The DCS will use that information to determine what type of child would best suit your circumstances and wishes; however, the prospective adoptee’s needs take precedence over yours.
Once the DCS has identified a child for you and you have agreed to adopt that child, you will be required to complete the DCS TN-KEY training program. The program educates adoptive parents about topics like communication skills, self-assessment, and caring for a child who has experienced the loss of biological parents and families.
Serving Kingsport, Tennessee
Adoption is always an emotional process for everyone involved. You are opening your heart and home to a child forever. Attorney Steven C. Frazier can tell you what to expect, guide you through it, and help you achieve your goals for your family. Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law proudly serves individuals and families in Kingsport and anywhere in Northeastern Tennessee.