Learning about adoption is a daunting task
There are so many factors to consider --- and each can change the total "cost." There are countless adoption websites, but
which ones can you trust? If they're not trying to sell something, they're either all fluff and soft music, or there's so
much information you can't make sense of it all. If you're just getting started, this website is for you. Our office
has been devoted solely to adoption since January of 2003. We can help you understand how the process will work for you.
How Is Adoption Similar to Biological Parenthood?
After the adoption is final, adoptive parenthood should actually differ as little as possible from biological parenthood.
But all parenting is more of an art than a science. Is it hard? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes!
How Is Adoption Different from Biological Parenthood?
Parenting an adopted child IS different, though. How? An illustration is probably better than any explanation
we can offer, and a sterling example of the art of adoptive parenthood is this
mother's story about adopting from China that appeared in the New
York Times on May 13th, 2007. Read it. Love it. Live it. You won't be sorry.
As a law office, we owe a fiduciary duty to our clients. Therefore, we must advise our clients:
Keeping Expenses Down --- For YOU!
Be persistent in communicating with us, especially at first. Mr. Bull will not claim to be any less "lazy" than others,
but with that said, our services ARE in heavy demand. If you want "the best," it is likely to require more effort on your
part than lesser options. Our first allegiance must, of necessity, be to existing cases. Once your case is "in progress,"
it will, of course, be of higher priority. But until then, if the press of existing cases drowns out initial calls or e-mails,
try again! Mention in a follow up message your prior attempt(s)! Sorry to say it, but in a practice of our volume, a seeming
lack of response can happen. (Not that it WILL happen ... but it CAN happen.) We could spend more on salaries or technology
to make all responses to you more "instant," but wherever that happens, rest assured, the cost of that is passed on to the
clients. We're trying to lower YOUR cost(s), but we need your help and understanding to be able to do that.
Answering the Call of Parenting Makes You a Better Person
You know this in some sense already, but with adoption, we must emphasize that Parenting is not
just a privilege --- it is a responsibility. Because while it is popular to say that "Our children are our
future," remember that Our parenting is the future of our children. But efforts to become
a better parent make you a better person too, so those efforts are doubly worthwhile.
Our Advice to You: Adoption Is About Parenting, Not Just Legalities or Fees
Engaging our office for your adoption plan is making us part of your adoption team, not just "outsourcing" the legal
steps (presumably to the lawyer who quotes the lowest fee). First of all, for a sensitive matter like adoption, EACH of us
needs to be comfortable with the other. Second, please understand that our office is about "Helping People Multiply Love
in Their Families," not merely providing a service for a fee. If you really only want to hire a lawyer because you "have
to," you may get MORE attention than you really want from our office. The dollar cost, while relevant, should be only one
of several factors you are concerned about. If you just want to outsource the legal steps, or get the lowest possible legal
fee, you may (or may not) get what you pay for, but you WILL risk getting less expertise than you need. (But having said
that, we should also emphasize that we make every effort to help families who cannot afford our regular
fees, and there are several ways to address this problem. For more on this, call us, or see the Discussion
of Legal Fees on our Legal Steps page.) And third, no attorney, for any
amount of money, can take your legal issues off your hands, solve them for you, and then hand a given "result" back to you.
This is what we mean by "outsourcing" legal steps. We have had clients who had misguided goals, but did not want us to point
that out; the only question they thought we should have about their goals was if they paid enough to obtain them. It may
be preaching to the choir, but we must observe that while the "customer" may always be right, sometimes the "client" is wrong.
And when that happens, it becomes part of the attorney's job to advise the client that a "course correction" is in order,
that if your lawyer is competent, the result is dictated by the law, not by the amount of attorney fees paid, and changing
lawyers will not change the law.
WE PREFER THAT ADOPTIVE PARENTS SIGN OURPARENTING
If our professional services are going to be involved in creating new adoptive parents for a child, we want the adoptive
parents to make personal commitments to good parenting (which, remember, will help them be better people!). Therefore, we
PREFER that our adoptive parents sign our "Pledge
For Parents Entering Into An Adoptive Triad," and we ASK the birth parents to sign the Pledge
as well. If the adults in an adoption plan make these pledges for the benefit of the children, those children will get the
best parenting possible. There is more about the importance of
our Pledge on our Emotions
Also, we are a Georgia law firm. We can only represent Georgia clients, and Georgia
law limits the role attorneys can play in adoption, but this site is meant to help anyone understand adoption in the U.S.
We have represented clients all over Georgia, including the Atlanta area (Fulton County,
DeKalb County, Cobb County, and Gwinnett County, for example). But we principally represent clients living in southeastern
Georgia cities and municipalities like Savannah, Wilmington Island, Vernonburg, Thunderbolt, Tybee Island, Pooler, Garden
City, Port Wentworth, Bloomingdale (all in Chatham County), Guyton, Pembroke, Hinesville, Fort Stewart, Richmond Hill, Ellabell,
Springfield, Rincon, Metter, Brooklet, Statesboro, Register, Swainsboro, Vidalia, Lyons, Glennville, Baxley, Waycross, Sylvania,
Claxton, Reidsville, Jesup, Ludowici, Darien, Brunswick, Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Sterling, St. Simon's Island, St. Marys,
Kingsland, and even Macon and Dublin. The following counties are also represented among our clients: Chatham County, Bryan
County, Effingham County, Bulloch County, Long County, Liberty County, Glynn County, McIntosh County, Tattnall County, Camden
County, Wayne County, Evans County, Toombs County, Appling County, Screven County, Emanuel County, Jeff Davis County, Montgomery
County, Wheeler County, Treutlen County, Laurens County, Telfair County, Bleckley County, Dodge County, Wilcox County, Johnson
County, Candler County, Jenkins County, Burke County, Richmond County, Jefferson County, and Washington County. Maybe your
city or county is listed here, but yes, they are also listed here so search engines can find them! (Doesn't
seem to be helping much, though!)
Representation outside of Chatham County will involve travel expenses, so you may want to call us for an attorney
recommendation in your area if reducing those expenses is a priority.
The "Adoption Triad"
Adoption "matches" birth parents, and their children, with adoptive parents (these three groupings form what is known
as the "adoption triad").
Already Have a Match?
If you are looking at adopting a stepchild, relative, or adult, or a child you've already identified (but isn't related to
you), you already have a match. Your next step is getting Legal
Help, and understanding the Emotional Adjustments
you will face.
Historically, licensed adoption agencies (private and public)
have dominated the process of finding adoptive matches. International adoption is virtually impossible without an agency.
Domestically, some pre-adoptive parents are hesitant to get "invested" in one agency and possibly limit their ability to find
other matches outside of that agency's efforts.
Georgians can also find a match directly (through friends, families, pastors, doctors, nurses and social workers in labor
and delivery wings of hospitals, etc.). "Do-it-yourself" matching can be hard work in Georgia, but it gives you complete control
over the process. You can also use piecemeal help from others:
An adoption "networker" helps pre-adoptive couples strike a happy medium between "do-it-yourself" matching and relying on
just one agency. These charge a consultancy fee to help "market" pre-adoptive parents to agencies and birth parents, and
they also help match them with agencies, facilitators or birth parents for particular placements.
Facilitators help put birth and adoptive parents together. (Be aware that facilitators in other states may use practices
that are common there, but are illegal in states like Georgia. Many facilitators do a great job, but some charge for benefits
they cannot deliver.)
As noted above, Georgia law limits the role attorneys can play in adoption. Georgia's statutory framework guards vigilantly
against "baby-selling," and as a part of this strategy, Georgia lawyers cannot "place" a child in an adoptive home the way
lawyers in other states do. Every state's law is different, but Georgia residents have to live with this rule. If a
Georgia attorney promises to "get" a child for you, or asks you to pay a Georgia birth mother's living expenses, beware:
One or both of you may be committing a felony.
The "Rule of Thumb" under Georgia Law:
First, some terminology: "Placing" a child for adoption means "selecting" an adoptive family to receive (adopt) a child.
And here's the Georgia "rule of thumb": Only two types of Georgia "entities" can legally "place"
a child for adoption: 1. licensed child-placing agencies, and 2.
the child's legal parent(s). Non-licensed people, lawyers, pastors, doctors, nurses, social workers, whoever, can give personal,
one-to-one assistance to those trying to make #2 happen, but we have to avoid doing things that really amount to #1.
No Right Method
As with finding a spouse, there are many ways to find a match; no one way is the "right" way. Every match has its
own unique character.
Termination of Existing Rights to the Child
After a match is made, existing rights to the child must be legally terminated. Agencies usually handle this step in adoptions
Finalization of Adoptive Parents' Rights
Adoptive parents have to finalize their legal rights in a court proceeding, even if they have used an agency, and most adoptive
parents hire a lawyer to complete this step. Every adoption involves this legal
Can Both Steps Be Done At One Time?
Yes, it can be done in independent adoptions (no agency involved), and it is usually done in certain types of adoption;
see our Legal Steps page for details on what legal services are necessary
for different types of adoption. We can handle one or both of adoption's steps for Georgia clients.
Hiring a Lawyer
Adoption is a private matter --- you may hope you can just use a friend or neighbor who happens to be a lawyer, or take your
agency's "recommendation." If you hire a neighbor or friend lawyer, understand the risk of hiring a lawyer who isn't experienced
and familiar with adoption and adoption law. As for agency recommendations, well sure, but this is a lawyer to represent
YOU, not the agency. Its priorities for the legal proceedings may differ from yours, and in a year or two, you'll wish you
had paid more attention to this. Don't short-change yourself, or your adopted child. Get a lawyer who will do YOUR adoption,
not just the agency's adoption.
Do You HAVE to Hire a Lawyer?
You have a RIGHT to represent yourself in most legal proceedings; but it's risky. As just noted, it's also risky to use
a lawyer who isn't experienced and familiar with adoption and adoption law. So it's doubly risky to do the legal steps of
adoption without a lawyer if you don't know what you're doing. Trusting an agency is LESS risky, of course, but it's your
money, and your adoption, not the agency's. There's more on this below.
Getting the Big Picture
Most of our clients are finalizing their adoptions, but the earlier you contact us, the better we will be able to give you
the big picture. Retaining us early in the process gives you earlier access to legal advice, and that fee is credited towards
finalization work engaged within 90 days anyway.
The Real "Planned Parenthood"
If there really is such a thing as "planned parenthood," it is adoption. Child birth isn't always planned, but adoption
requires some serious planning. Dealing with this planning --- known as the "Paper Pregnancy" for pre-adoptive parents ---
is the first emotional adjustment adoption demands. More on this below.
Adoption Lasts a Lifetime
All members of the triad will need to make emotional adjustments they hadn't anticipated. Most adoptive triads manage these
well enough; but if ignored, they can become severe. This is listed third here because it usually comes third chronologically,
but DO NOT make your adoption plan without considering these issues.
Events Before and After the Adoption Can Raise Emotional Issues
Address your emotional issues about infertility before embarking on adoption. Don't assume that adopting will "solve" the
heartache associated with infertility. It will make you parents, yes, but it won't "undo" injuries you already have.
Divorce or Other Family Troubles
In stepparent and relative adoptions, divorce or other family troubles may have set the stage for adoption. Here again,
adoption may indeed be the best strategy to use in seeking healing and moving forward, but it cannot alter the past. Those
issues will need separate attention.
Problems That Lead Up to Adoption
The problems that lead to an adoption plan can hurt the affected children before the adoption and have repercussions afterwards
too. Most adopted children have "lost" one or both parents in some sense, and that hurts, even if they have no personal recollections
Agencies Can Help
Good adoption agency workers usually provide adequate counseling for the issues that arise before, and soon after, the adoption
is finalized in court. Independent counselors can always be consulted, but you should seek out someone who has experience
with adoption's peculiar dimensions. Good agency workers are often more aware of adoption's issues than independent counselors.
Of course, long-term issues can only be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Adoption's Roots Sink Into the Soul
The Living Trust Consecration Ceremony Mr. Bull developed helps
address adoption's emotional issues from a Christian perspective. In any event, you should be aware that adoption's emotional
issues can last a lifetime, particularly for the adoptee.
Like Transplanting a Tree, It IS Complex . . . But There Is a Need
Don't just hope for the best. Plan for the best.
Let God be God --- with both childbirth and adoption ---
but don't let anyone else play God with your adoption plan.
You Will Feel a Frustrating Lack of Control
Many get frustrated and impatient with the adoptive process. And many feel that the very procedures that are meant to safeguard
the child are harming the child in other ways. Or they are generally hindering the whole adoption, and thus hurting,
rather than helping, the child, or the family, or both. The trouble is: 1) the procedures really can't flex or change much
from case to case, but 2) every case really IS different. So you can bet that the process will require some things
that will seem to do more harm than good.
This Ain't "Mail-Order Birthing"
Pre-adoptive parents, don't kid yourselves: Adoption is not a "substitute" for biological birth in which one "buys" a child.
It is tempting, especially in this day and age, to think of adoption as a "commodity," and that if you "get" an adoption
(or even "part" of one) for $200 less than someone else, you got a better "deal." But choosing your adoption agency, or your
adoption attorney, that way is like choosing a church by how often they pass the plate. It does involve expenses,
yes, but adoption leads to parenting, and you cannot buy parenting. The real "bottom line" on
adoption is this: If you are not ready to do the life-long, soul-searching, hard work of parenting, do not adopt.
The Law Is An A__, uh . . . , Well, A "Mule"!
Another problem here is that a contested adoption can expose a serious weakness about the law and the judicial system: They
can be quite clumsy. Reason: One size DOESN'T fit all. Life gives us all splinters from time to time, but taking
them out with the judicial system is going to be like using a hammer instead of tweezers. If that's what it takes, OK, but
it's not going to be pretty. (These days, too few lawyers even recognize this, and of those, many either don't want to admit
it, or hesitate to advise their clients about it, but it's a lesson we should all learn a little better.) See our warning
about contested adoptions here.
Compare Adoptive Parenthood to Biological Parenthood
The differences between adoptive and biological parenthood can easily seem unfair and unnecessarily difficult. Unexpected
problems will crop up, at the wrong times and the wrong places. But remember: Not all biological births
go as planned, either, and parents take on previously unforeseen parental burdens all the time. If you gave birth to a child
with medical problems, you wouldn't just leave the child at the hospital because of those problems. Moreover, suppose someone
gave you a child to place in a good, adoptive home --- would you just give the child to the next family who asked?
No. Remember that ALL parenthood involves unexpected risks. All we can do is prepare for them. Plan for the best,
prepare for the worst, and expect the unexpected. (For a great example, read
this story of some clients of ours, and how they answered the call of an unexpected risk in their adoption --- with
strength they didn't realize they had until they needed it.)
Learn What You Want, Work Towards That Goal
To prepare for adoption, both birth and adoptive parents should learn about all the issues affecting their search
for a match and the emotional complexities of adoption. Set priorities,
make a plan, and see that plan through. Opportunities can pop up, and some truly are "meant to be." But like anything else,
most successful adoptions don't just happen; someone makes them happen. That "someone" should be you.
Knowledge Gives You Some Control
This may sound odd coming from a lawyer, but don't just "leave it to the professionals." There are plenty of people in this
field who will promise you the moon --- then send you an astronomical bill --- with a separate charge for "lunar shipping
and handling." Learn about the services you need, what those services should cost, and who can deliver them with understanding
and respect not only for you and your plan, but for everyone involved in your adoption.
Know the Legal Issues
Avoid the heartaches, headaches, and expenses of a legally fouled-up adoption by learning about the legal issues in your
adoption. Birth parents want to be assured of their children's legal status. And pre-adoptive parents have to avoid certain
traps or they can become legally ineligible to adopt, ever. Knowledgeable legal
help can insure that your adoption plan complies with all the potentially complex legal
questions involved in finding a match.
Know the Emotional Issues
Also of critical importance for birth and adoptive parents is the emotional complexity
of adoption. What you don't know can hurt you. Poor planning or ignorance can cause painful surprises, disappointments,
and disillusionments for all involved.
Parenting Is Always a Risk
Remember that all parenthood is an adventure through uncharted territory. No one can eliminate every parental risk.
But you can learn what risks you may face, and you can make plans to deal with them. So take charge of your adoption:
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst, expect the unexpected. Learn as much as you can, set your priorities, map out
a plan, and stick to it. The pages described below should help.
How This Site Can Help With Your Adoption Planning
Adoption IS the choice you can live with, but if you're just getting started learning about it, it's hard to know
where to start. The Internet does have much of what you need, but it will confuse and overwhelm you. Most adoption
websites have either too much sentiment and not enough information, or too much information and not enough help making sense
of it all. Let the Internet be a tool, not a tyrant: Keep your focus on what you need for educating yourself, making your
adoption plan, and sticking to it.
The need for adoption IS great (thus the title of the website), but the cost can easily get to be great, too. Finding good
homes for children doesn't happen by itself -- it takes effort, and someone has to pay for that.
Unfortunately, there are people "on the take" in the adoption business, both domestically and internationally. That
may be too harsh an assessment of some of them --- they would answer that they're just running a business. Your mileage may
vary, and some schemes are only "scams" in the eyes of the beholder, but when people start talking about "helping children,"
there's no telling what might happen.
This site describes adoption as blending factors in Three Major Categories,
but you can't tackle them one at a time. You need to understand them all before you do anything. Once you do that, all you
can do is your best. Keep the big picture in mind and you should do just fine. Here's how to get started on your adoption
The First Category:
The Finding a Match page walks you through what will become the early steps
of your adoption plan. It also includes some general information about adoption and the applicable laws and procedures in
Georgia that will impact your search for a match. Since Georgia lawyers cannot "place" a child with a family, Finding
a Match is something you, and God, must do. What we can do is help you learn about, plan, and finalize your adoption.
Every case is different of course, but this page will give you an idea of some of the common issues you will face.
The Second Category:
Before taking any Legal Steps, go to the Emotional
Adjustments page for a look at adoption's emotional complexities and how adoption practices have adjusted recently to
meet the emotional needs of everyone involved. Once considered a shameful secret (designed primarily to cover up adult
failings), adoption today is instead a win/win/win solution focused on the child's best interests. Understanding
adoption's emotional dimensions can be hard, so CONSIDER THESE ISSUES BEFORE TAKING ACTION ON YOUR ADOPTION PLAN!
Also included on this page is information on the Living Trust Consecration
Ceremony, developed to recognize the value of adoption in a Christian setting.
Guidance and Help with ALL the Categories:
The Forms & Resource Guide page does several things. First, it gives you
multiple ways to send your legal data to us so we can prepare the
papers you will need. But since you have to consider factors in Three
Major Categories for your adoption plan, the Forms & Resource Guide
page also includes a lengthy GUIDE TO OTHER RESOURCES section.
This section will help organize your adoption-related searches for other services on the Internet, suggest some helpful resources,
and give you some benchmarks to guide your own searches and evaluate what will fit your needs. Internet searches on "adoption"
produce torrents of information, most of unknown reliability. Having some specific goals and requirements in mind
will help you find more than confusion and frustration.
Retaining a Lawyer
Retaining a lawyer is a private matter, and adoption is an affair of the heart. Many instinctively hope they can hire a
friend, neighbor, or family member who happens to be a lawyer, ... or a lawyer they've already used for something else, ...
or their agency's recommendation, ... or even that they can do it themselves without a lawyer. That's understandable. But
you need someone who understands you, adoption, and adoption law, and who is not beholden to anyone else.
Lawyers Are Not "Tools"
You may have heard people brag that they can do whatever they want because they have "the best lawyers money can buy." Well,
whether you are famous or not, that is flat-out impossible with adoption. You CANNOT "buy" an adoption, and when you contract
for the legal work adoption requires, there can be NO guarantee. Adoption is densely statutory, and those statutes vary greatly
from state to state. HOWEVER, those same statutes give judges a great deal of latitude and discretion in deciding whether
to require more or less in this or that adoption.
So if you're willing to take advice, and, in light of that advice, possibly even adjust your priorities, I will be more than
happy to help you. But if you view hiring a lawyer as just a distasteful but necessary evil to get what you want, please:
Save us all some aggravation and hire some other law office. Parenting will require more of you than just getting what you
want, and for that reason, my practice is about more than just giving clients what they want. Can you imagine a lawyer willing
to say that? Well I am. I do not want clients who view me as a mere tool. ("Isn't that what we pay you the big bucks for?"
such clients will ask. I know: I've been asked that very question too many times. Well, as a matter of fact, I do not charge
"big bucks" in the first place, nor do your results depend on how "big" your bucks are.) As I said, I do not want clients
who view me as a mere tool, either to get what they want, or to be blamed if they do NOT get what they want. The law takes
your job as a parent more seriously than that, I take it more seriously than that, and you need to take it more seriously
than that, too. Choose your adoption lawyer accordingly.
And, if you think THAT talk is too "tough," and you want to bypass lawyers altogether, that is certainly your right, ...
but consider this:
YOU CANNOT INSURE AGAINST YOUR OWN LEGAL MALPRACTICE! If you do it by yourself, and you do something wrong --- even innocently --- that causes you significant damage,
you won't have any insurance to cover the damage. If you hire a competent lawyer, not only will such mistakes be less
likely, but if they occur, there will be insurance coverage for your damage. (Granted, you want results instead of
"compensation" for failure; but if something does go wrong, any compensation is better than nothing.)
But CAN You Do It Yourself Without a Lawyer?
Sure you can . . . in fact, it's your legal right. But like any complex, important job you try to do yourself, you
could pour a lot of time and money into it, only to find that you can't finish it, or that you've made mistakes (some temporary,
some permanent) that you couldn't have foreseen. There are some things that could be very serious if you don't get them right,
and there are a lot of lesser details that almost certainly won't be as good as they could be. Moreover, if you do not hire
a competent attorney to assist you, you will probably never know how much better your case could have been. If you work at
it hard enough, and find the help you need, it may work out fine. But if you hire an attorney with experience and commitment
on adoption's unique issues and its increasingly complex laws, you won't have to worry about what you don't know.
Can You Hire a Lawyer to TEACH You How to Do It By Yourself?
When we started doing adoptions exclusively, we had high hopes for this --- it seemed like a "win/win" idea. But adoption
is more complex than most people realize, and it quickly became clear that it wouldn't work at all. By the time you pay an
attorney to "teach" you how to do it, you wouldn't really save any money, and we wouldn't really save any time. And, if anything
went wrong, guess whose malpractice insurance would be asked to pay? If we can't offer any savings, and we're going to be
responsible for the outcome anyway, this "win/win" idea turns out to be a "lose/lose" proposition.
Adoption is a Specialized Area of Law Practice
These days, law practice (like medical practice) is getting more and more specialized. Many lawyers don't realize how complex
adoption has gotten unless it is a focus of their practice. They think all adoptions are simple, and similar. Neither is
true, and our office frequently gets calls from other lawyers who are unsure of how to proceed with an adoption they wish
they hadn't agreed to do for a friend!
Beware of Low Initial Quotes for Legal Fees
Most adoptions will have at least one complication that unfamiliar lawyers won't include in their original fee quote. And
something like interstate adoption is extremely risky for lawyers who don't have experience with it. Be on guard if an attorney
quotes a wonderfully low fee without asking knowledgeable, probing, and detailed questions about your situation and goals:
You'll probably have to pay more later (financially, legally, or emotionally; perhaps all three).
If you use an agency, they may ask you, pressure you, or expect you, to accept their recommendation on hiring a lawyer.
The lawyer finalizing your adoption represents YOU not the agency, and it is improper for an agency to try to make
that decision "for" you. Don't short-change yourself, or your adopted child. Get a lawyer who will do YOUR adoption, not
just the agency's adoption.
International Adoption and Do-It-Yourself U.S. Finalization
If Your Adoption Is Covered by the Hague Convention:
YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE ANY FURTHER LEGAL ACTION. Adoptions from countries that are participants in the Hague Convention
are automatically binding on United States courts. (This is why non-Hague adoptions must be "completed" via
"re-adoption" or "finalization" --- to make them binding on U.S. courts.) Click to this
federal site to see if your child's country is a member country.
Should International Adopters Do Their Own U.S. Finalization?
If you do need to finalize your international adoption, the international adoption agencies have seemed especially
anxious to tell their clients they could do the domestic finalization process without an attorney. After guiding parents
through all of the tedious and difficult immigration laws of two countries, and the foreign legal procedures, they
want to be able to offer them something that is easy and inexpensive. "It's as easy as signing a piece of paper,"
one reportedly said. Well again, you can do it yourself, but if it were that easy . . . if just filling in
some forms would work for every case . . . they would give you those forms along with all the other papers and services
they provide. Unfortunately, it's not that easy: Every case is different, every country is different, and every county
in Georgia has different procedures. And technically, advice on how to do an adoption is "practicing law" --- something
only a lawyer is licensed (and insured) to do.
Get Advice Before Traveling
There are things you should know about Georgia's international adoption law before you travel. So don't wait till
you get home with your new child to start thinking about this "easier" part of the process.
Is U.S. Finalization Even Necessary?
Not for Hague Convention adoptions, but if your adoption does not come within the Hague Convention, when it comes
time to do things like register for school, having only a foreign birth certificate can cause lots of headaches. Non-Hague
foreign adoption decrees aren't legally binding in United States courts if they haven't been finalized here. This means,
for example, that a zealous health insurer or HMO could deny coverage for a large medical claim on the ground that
your child is not really your child. By the time one of these things happens, it may be impossible, or too late --- not to
mention more expensive --- to go back and get your domestic finalization done. Domesticating the foreign decree is a prudent
step that is well worth the cost if it is necessary. But again, the legal process is different in every state. (Check here to see if a country is a party to the Hague Convention.
As of April 1, 2016, some popular non-member source countries are many former Russian federation countries, Ethiopia, and
Whatever your situation, the bottom line on legal help
THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO MAKE A MISTAKE ON.
All We Do Is Adoption
Family (re)building is the exclusive focus of our law practice. Whether you want to adopt (private, public, international,
stepchild, or relative) or place a child for adoption, Mr. Bull has worked on positive solutions to problem pregnancies since
1992, and we can counsel you throughout the process. We offer help with your adoption plan, advice on other services that
will fit your plan, representation in court, ... everything you need to keep your focus on the big picture. Our office is
independent, so your interests will come first.
Living Trust Consecration Ceremony
Mr. Bull has even developed a Christian ceremony to consecrate an adoption. Working with your church, he can arrange
and/or direct the Living Trust Consecration, a ceremony of scripture
verses and prayers that will bless and affirm the adoptive entrustment of your child.
We Are Computer-Savvy! (Don't Tell Anyone!)
If you like your lawyers "computer-savvy," Mr. Bull admits to the "nerd factor" of being computer-literate (he wrote and
maintains this website, for example). On the one hand, this keeps our costs down, but at the same time, it limits our ability
to provide as much personalized service as we'd like. Nothing in life is perfect, is it?