Foster Care/ Foster Parent Adoptions & DCS Adoptions.
Are you a foster parent who is ready to adopt your foster child or children? Are you looking for a foster care adoption attorney? Are you a family member/kinship placement who wishes to adopt? Our firm has represented hundreds of foster parents, family members and kinship placements in their adoption proceedings. We represent foster parents all over the State of Indiana.
Here’s what we can do for foster care parents that want to adopt:
File the adoption documents with the court;
Answer all your legal questions regarding the adoption process;
Negotiate your adoption subsidy, Medicaid and non- reoccurring adoption expenses (attorney fees), if applicable;
Change your child’s name for you, if desired;
Obtain a new birth certificate with your child’s new name and your name on it;
Direct you on how to obtain a new social security number for your child
Direct you to tax credits that may be available to you
Appear with you at the final adoption hearing and obtain your certified Decree of Adoption. We will take pictures of your new family and cheer, smile and congratulate you and your family.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR FOSTER PARENTS WHO WANT TO ADOPT:
How do you know when it’s time to adopt?
The only real way to know when it is time to adopt is to speak with an experienced adoption attorney. An experienced adoption attorney knows when the timing is right to adopt. Many caseworkers will provide you with advice about when to adopt but often their advice is incorrect. Caseworkers do not understand adoption law. At Berry & Domer we will gladly speak with you free of charge, in person or by phone, and let you know if it’s time for you to file your adoption petition.
When should I contact Berry & Domer about adopting my foster child?
The moment you realize that you would like to adopt your foster child you should contact our firm. We will let you know when you should file your adoption petition.
How much does a foster parent, kinship or family member adoption costs?
At Berry & Domer we do not charge our clients any fee for an uncontested foster parent, kinship or family member adoption when DCS is involved. An uncontested adoption occurs when the Department of Child Services (DCS) consents to your adoption and the biological parents have either signed consents to your adoption or their parental rights have been terminated by a court order. When these events occur, the State of Indiana will pay $1500.00 of your adoption costs (attorney fees and filing fees) to complete an adoption. We accept this amount as payment in full for our attorney fees. We DO NOT charge our clients for the filing fees and state fees (generally around $226.00 per child) in successful uncontested adoption cases involving DCS.
How long does the adoption process take?
Once the parental consents and/or termination are obtained, the adoption process can be completed in about 90 days. But the time frame is determined by the documents that are completed and filed by the Department of Child Services. We work closely with DCS to make sure that they file the home summaries in accordance with the Court’s orders. We also keep tabs on the filing of the adoption eligibility application so that the adoption subsidy can be negotiated and completed prior the final adoption hearing. DCS is a busy institution with a high caseworker turnover. We have found that DCS gently need to be reminded of court deadlines and hearings in order to keep our adoption cases moving closer to completion. We will assist the caseworkers in any way we can to move the case along.
If the parents have not consented to the adoption and their parental rights have not been terminated, is it still possible for foster parents to adopt?
Yes, but it can be a lengthy and complicated process. However, we will gladly meet with you to evaluate your case. We will honestly let you know our opinion as to the likelihood of a successful adoption. We do not charge you a fee to meet with us, if you do not hire us. The attorney fees for a contested adoption can also be high. We will provide you with an estimate as to the total cost of your attorney fees in a contested adoption. We have represented many foster care parents and kinship/family placement in contested adoption successfully.
Can I still adopt my foster child(ren) if the parents’ consent but the Department does not?
Again, it is possible to successfully adopt your foster care children even if the Department does not consent to your adoption. It is best to make an appointment with us so that we can evaluate the facts of your case. We will honestly explain your likelihood of success. We do charge attorney fees for these kinds of contested adoption cases. But we will not charge you for an initial consultation unless you hire us.