Costs Associated With Adopting a Child

Expenses Adopting Parents Should Expect

According to recent research, the average cost of an independent adoption is more than $34,000, and the average cost of an agency adoption is nearly $40,000. An interesting note is that adoptions in which an attorney represented the adopting parents were less expensive. An important advantage of hiring our NJ adoption attorney is being able to prepare for the ancillary expenses that come with adopting a child.

Court Costs

The most basic cost associated with adoption is the filing fee, which courts charge in order to process your adoption filing. Filing fees are standard in the state in which the adoption is being processed. While this is a fixed cost, there can be other related charges, such as:

  • Documentation fees
  • Immigration processing
  • Expenses related to witnesses
  • Court expenses for the birth mother

Home Study

Undergoing a home study prior to adopting is a requirement for people in New Jersey. A big role our NJ adoption attorney can play in your adoption is helping you understand what is required of you and how to minimize the costs. Starting a home study requires some basics, such as driver’s licenses, marriage certificates, birth certificates and so forth. You may also need to provide tax returns, documents concerning assets, proof of various insurance policies and so forth. The home study itself does comprise multiple in-home assessments, but it is, at its core, an educational program provided by an independent party designed to prepare individuals who want to adopt children. Topics of study include:

  • Needs of children
  • What prospective parents should expect
  • Responsibilities that come with being an adoptive parent
  • Relationships with social workers

Birth Mother Expenses

Covering expenses for the birth mother is often expected. This is true when coordinating a private adoption, but it can also be the case when dealing with an agency because the needs of the mother can go above and beyond what the company is able to provide based on the fees it charges. Certainly, during a private adoption, the adopting parent is expected to cover “everything.” Nevertheless, even in more structured scenarios, the adopting parent may elect to pay more in the best interest of the child. These additional expenses can include:

  • Legal fees
  • Medical expenses
  • Prescriptions, vitamins and nutrition
  • Traveling costs
  • Counseling fees
  • Temporary living expenses

Travel Expenses

When you set out to adopt a child, you have certain goals in mind. Achieving them may require you to travel as well as the birth mother. Be mindful that travel expenses extend beyond just fuel costs to those related to accommodations away from home, meals eaten each day, traveling and even wear and tear on the vehicles used. There can be ways to offset these expenses, but these will certainly be costs that you will need to manage on a day-to-day basis with assistance from your legal representation.

Tax Credit and State Subsidies

When it comes to adoption expenses, while much of the focus is often on debits, there can be credits as well. Tax credits, for instance, are an important reason to consult with a lawyer, and such credits can actually cover not only your personal expenses but any amount your employer contributed, which is something that many companies are willing to do. There are also subsidies available from states, including New Jersey, that make adoptions more practical for everyone.

The Local Representation You Need

Are you considering adoption? Have you begun the adoption process and now require legal assistance? The law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, would love to assist you. Our law firm focuses only on adoptions, and we have more than 25 years of experience. Our focus extends to private adoptions, agency adoptions, stepparent adoptions, assisted reproduction and more. Initial consultations are provided at no cost and without obligation, and you can contact us online or call our office in Haddonfield, New Jersey, at (856) 429-5005 or our office in Woodbury, New Jersey, at (856) 845-2555.

The Stages of Transitioning From Infertility to Adoption

Transitioning From the Struggles of Infertility to Adoption

Overall, more than 7 million people in the U.S. experience infertility. If you’ve attempted fertility treatments without success, then you’ve likely had feelings of anger and grief; for most people, these feelings shift into acceptance. When this happens, you will be ready to begin the journey of adoption with an open mind and heart, and our NJ adoption lawyer can help you with the process.

National Infertility Awareness Week

National Infertility Awareness Week, which takes place every April, was created to increase awareness of an important issue. According to estimates, one in eight couples receives an infertility diagnosis. Many of these people get a new hope of raising a child by eventually transitioning into adoption.

How an Adoption Lawyer Can Help

An adoption lawyer will help you find an agency. He or she can also give you guidance if you are considering an independent adoption. In this case, an adoption lawyer will ready the required paperwork to ensure that you have a successful adoption. If court appearances are necessary, then your adoption lawyer will be there with you to help you through the entire process. When choosing legal representation, hire a law firm that understands New Jersey’s adoption requirements.

Finding out that your fertility treatments are ineffective can be an emotional experience that requires time to accept. Since adoption is a lengthy process, you may want to reach out to an adoption lawyer right away. It is likely that you will have the time to work through your emotional state before a child will be placed with you. If you are open to adopting a child with special needs, you can expect the process to take several months. The wait for a healthy infant could take two to seven years.

How Much Does It Cost?

When it comes to cost, the amount that you’ll pay is likely to be in the same realm as the cost of fertility treatments. These can be pricey, especially if you try multiple rounds of IVF or artificial insemination. The cost of foster care adoptions ranges from nothing to $2,500 while licensed private adoptions vary from $5,000 to $40,000 or more. Independent adoptions are from $8,000 to $40,000 or more, and facilitated adoptions run from $5,000 to $40,000 or more. If you go with an intercountry adoption, then you can expect to pay from $7,000 to $30,000.

Adoption lawyers charge an individual hourly rate, and some charge an advanced fee. Depending on the type of adoption, it is likely that you will pay several thousand dollars for the services of an adoption lawyer.

How to Choose an Adoption Lawyer

Since an adoption lawyer will help you grow your family, it is important to hire counsel who will be attentive to your needs at all times. Word of mouth can be a great way to find an attorney. You can also do a lot of research on the internet. Most states feature lawyer listings based on category. Make sure that you hire a lawyer who is licensed in your state.

When talking to potential adoption law firms, ask whether you’ll be working with the attorney directly or if a member of his or her staff will be handling the bulk of your case. Also, determine the hours that your attorney works and how he or she prefers to be in contact with you. For instance, will you mainly be emailing back and forth, or will your attorney be available for phone calls?

It’s also wise to seek out a local adoptive parent support group. Not only will a group like this help you deal with the emotional side of adoption, but it could also vouch for a law firm.

Getting Legal Help for Adoption

Our NJ adoption lawyer will be able to help you navigate the system efficiently and properly, making sure that everything is done the right way. At Cofsky & Zeidman, we have experience helping couples with adoption. Call our office in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555 today to schedule an appointment.

The Biggest Hurdles to Adopting a Child

Problems to Consider When Choosing to Adopt

There are close to 135,000 adoptions each year in the U.S. Many of these cases go through a lengthy process that involves numerous steps. By understanding all of the potential hurdles, a parent can make sure that every stage of a legal adoption goes according to plan.

Adoption Basics

An adoption occurs when a biological parent passes his or her legal rights and obligations to a new adoptive guardian or guardians. Of course, there’s a lot that goes into obtaining parental rights. There are many different ways to go about adopting a child in New Jersey. Some of the most common options include the following:

  • Adopting through an agency
  • Adopting as a step parent
  • Adopting directly through the birth parents
  • Adopting as a relative

Potential Legal and Financial Issues

No matter which type of adoption a family goes through, the legal challenges can be numerous and difficult. For instance, it’s possible that one of the birth parents may not be aware of the adoption. This can bring about an array of legal hassles if the biological parent has yet to relinquish their rights to the child in question.

There are also a variety of legal problems that can occur with an inter-country adoption. These typically relate to specific adoption laws of the child’s home country. In order to better avoid these issues, you might want to call a New Jersey adoption lawyer that can identify potential problems before they occur. There are also a variety of visa requirements that may be necessary when trying to adopt from certain countries.

The potential financial problems depend on the type of adoption you’re thinking about going through. For instance, private adoptions and foreign adoptions usually come with more expenses than adopting through foster care. The same is true if you’re undergoing an open adoption wherein you’re going to be having some contact with the birth parents. It’s possible for the initial financial expenses of the adoption to include the medical bills related to the birth if the adoption is set to occur immediately after the child is born.

Health Problems and Emotional Issues

Obtaining pertinent information about a child’s health issues and health history is another common issue with many adoptions. Not having this information at the time of the adoption may cause problems later on if the child gets sick. Medical problems can make it difficult for the adoptive family to properly care for the child if they don’t have the funds to do so and didn’t anticipate the issues. Inherited diseases and possible drug use during pregnancy can bring about long-lasting health issues and developmental problems in a child. These are just a few reasons why medical history is so important.

Among the most common challenges of any adoption is dealing with the emotional issues that can occur with the child, adoptive family or birth parents. There are times when adoptive parents rush into the adoption without fully understanding all of the parenting challenges that occur after adopting a child. It’s also possible that the adopted child won’t be able to properly adjust to their new family. Furthermore, open adoptions can cause issues if the birth parents continue to maintain a high amount of contact with the child. The birth parents may even come to regret their choice to place the child up for adoption.

How Our New Jersey Adoption Lawyers Can Help You

Here at Cofsky & Zeidman, our attorneys have extensive experience in handling adoption cases in Southwest New Jersey. This experience has given us the knowledge necessary to comprehend and address any challenges that might occur throughout the adoption process. Since we handle many different types of adoption proceedings, our lawyers can provide you with assistance in anything from international adoptions to foster adoptions. If you ever have any questions about the adoption process, our firm offers confidential consultations that should prove useful.

If you’re interested in adopting a child and would like some legal assistance, call our Haddonfield,New Jersey adoption lawyer today at (856) 429-5005.

Are You Considering a Transracial Adoption?

Deciding if a Transracial Adoption Is Right for You

If you’ve decided that adoption is right for you, perhaps you are now narrowing down the specifics of the child you would like to welcome into your family. In addition to deciding on age, gender, and whether the adoption will be domestic or international, you’ll want to think of the issue of race. Prospective adoptive parents are increasingly considering adopting a child of a race different from their own; in fact, in the last 20 years, transracial adoption has increased by 50 percent and is now much more common than it once was.

Think Carefully About These Issues When Considering a Transracial Adoption

You’ve likely already examined many of the facets of adoption, including how you’re going to make an adopted child feel like she or he belongs. However, transracial adoptions bring up additional concerns you should explore. You know you want to give a child you adopt a stable, nurturing environment, but you should also ask yourself the following questions:

  • How inclined are you to ensure your child has contact with members of their own ethnicity and culture? If you live in a community where your child will not see her skin color or appearance mirrored, are you willing to change schools or even move to a place that’s more diverse?
  • How willing are you to confront people who may make inappropriate remarks, over and above those many adopted children already hear about not looking like the rest of their family?
  • Are you willing to stand up to racist people, including friends, family, and co-workers, who may display anything from subtly negative attitudes to out-and-out aggression?
  • Do you have friends of the same ethnicity as the child you’re thinking of adopting? If the answer is no, are you willing to at least start attending cultural events, familiarize yourself with a new language, or eat and cook the foods of your adopted child’s culture?

Are Transracial Adoptions Handled Differently?

The fact that the adoption will be transracial doesn’t affect most parts of the adoption process. You will still need to choose a type of adoption, select a PA adoption attorney to assist you, consider how you will pay for adoption expenses, and go through a home study.

However, if it’s a domestic adoption, there is one respect in which it may be affected by the fact that it is transracial. A federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act specifies that certain requirements be met if a child who is eligible for membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe is going to be adopted by a non-Native family. The child’s tribe must give consent. The law was enacted in 1978 when many Indian children were being removed from Indian homes and placed in foster care or with parents who weren’t Indian. You would have to be sure you are complying with any conditions specified by the ICWA in order to adopt a child of Native American heritage. Your PA adoption attorney can advise you in more depth about adoption and the ICWA.

It’s fairly common for international adoptions to be transracial. You will, of course, have to comply with the requirements of the country in question, and those do vary quite a bit from one nation to another.

What to Look for in an Adoption Agency

In addition to checking to see if an adoption agency is duly licensed and approved by the state, parents should inquire to see what experience the agency may have with transracial adoptions. If they’ve handled this type of adoption before, they will often be able to guide parents to counselors or resources oriented toward raising multiracial families, including support groups or references to grown transracial adoptees.

Giving a child a home is enormously rewarding, and a transracial adoption is one way to create or add to a family. If you’re interested in an appointment with attorney Donald C. Cofsky to explore your adoption options, call our law office in Philadelphia at (215) 563-2150.

Do You Need a Family Adoption Lawyer?

Why Hiring a New Jersey Adoption Attorney Is a Good Idea

One of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in your life is expanding your family. If you’re considering expanding yours through adoption, there are a variety of intricate details that must not be overlooked. It’s estimated between 10-16% of adoptions of children under age 3 are disrupted. Considering the process can sometimes take years, this can be devastating.

Although you can go through the process without the guidance of an experienced lawyer, going at it alone can slow down the process and increase the risk of mistakes along the way. An experienced New Jersey adoption attorney can help pave the path to happiness.

What is the Role of a Family Adoption Lawyer?

When a child isn’t biologically yours, you have to go through a process to achieve legal guardianship. Whether you already have a child in mind or are ready to explore options, your attorney can help you every step of the way. Just a few things with which they can offer reliable assistance include:

  • Filing paperwork
  • Finding a reliable adoption agency to work with
  • Representing you in court if that becomes necessary

Your child adoption attorney is there to listen to your primary personal family goals and get the ball rolling to help you achieve them.

How Do I Know If I Need a Child Adoption Lawyer?

Chances are you don’t have an extensive background on adoption. While it would seem to be a pretty straightforward process, there are various issues that can arise. Just a few unethical practices adoption agencies are known to engage in include:

  • Representing themselves as credentialed when they, in fact, are not
  • Claiming they can place children from countries that are either permanently or temporarily banned
  • Charging fees that are higher than normal
  • Taking action to conceal negative reviews to mislead potential customers

Although it’s unfortunate, there are bad apples in every barrel. When you work with an experienced adoption attorney, you can reduce your risk of running into unnecessary problems and more quickly achieve your goal of expanding your family.

Types of Adoptions We Can Handle

We understand our clients each have a very unique set of circumstances that require our close attention to detail. We are knowledgeable in state and country-specific adoption law, and we’re confident in our ability to provide you with reliable representation. Just a few types of adoptions we can help with include:

  • Private adoptions working directly with birth parent(s) without an intermediary
  • Agency adoption
  • Stepparent adoption

Assisted Reproductive Technology

Technology is constantly innovating, and there are a variety of exciting new ways you can expand your family despite trouble conceiving. Our team can help you examine your options and ensure the highest caliber of legal support throughout the process. Just some of the options out there include:

  • Embryo donation
  • Sperm donation
  • Surrogacy
  • Egg donation

Affordable Adoption Lawyer at Your Service

Life is too short to put off the prospects of having a family to call your own. We all need a strong support base and people we can count on for love, joy and lasting memories.

Whether you are having trouble getting pregnant, have a stepchild whom you’d like to legally call your own, or are a same-sex couple ready to introduce a new member to the family, our team is here to offer our services at a price you can afford. When you work with us, we work to:

  • Help you understand pricing to ensure you get the help you need without breaking the bank.
  • Explore every option to arrive at an ideal solution for your unique circumstances.
  • Provide peace of mind through the entire process to keep stress low and increase your chances of a successful adoption the first time around.

We’re never too far away to provide the help you need. Call (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield today to schedule your initial consultation.

Why You Need to Set Clear and Early Boundaries in an Open Adoption

How to Maintain Family Boundaries in an Open Adoption

Every year in the United States, about 135,000 children are adopted. Of those adoptions, around 67 percent are at least partially open. When you go through the process of an adoption agreement with the birth mother or birth parents, it’s important to set up the parameters of how open the adoption will be, how frequent the interactions will be, and what types of interactions you’ll allow the biological parents and family to have with your child.

Determine the Types of Allowed Interactions

Your adoption agreement should determine the types of allowed interactions. For example, you might prefer that the adoptive parents write letters or call your child over the phone. You may want to disallow text messages and unannounced visits at your home. Your adoption agreement can detail the types of allowed interactions. This type of boundary setting ensures that everyone understands the expectations for communication.

Think About the Frequency and Timing of Interactions

You may also want to consider the frequency and timing of the interactions between the biological parents of your child and your family. If you adopt a newborn, then the biological parents might want updates about the child’s development. As the child gets older, the biological parents might want a semiannual or yearly update about the child’s health, interests, and overall well-being. The biological parents might also want to send a birthday card, or your child might want to send a Mother’s Day card to his or her biological mother. You may need to account for all of these issues in the adoption agreement.

Establish Rules and Guidelines for Behavior

You may also want to control the subject matter of written communications and discussions with your child’s biological parents. Setting this type of behavior guideline allows you to broach sensitive subjects on your timeline. Your family will be less likely to have to deal with controversial subjects if you can agree in advance to not discuss them. For example, your child’s biological mother may not want the child to know that the pregnancy was the result of an assault. You may not want the biological mother to ask your child about whether you’re raising the child to have a particular type of belief system. Your adoption agreement could include topics such as not condemning the other’s religious beliefs.

Put the Focus on the Child’s Well-Being

Another consideration for setting boundaries with the biological parents of your child is putting the focus on the child’s well-being. Your child should be put first even if it makes you uncomfortable. Whether or not you agree with the biological parents’ lifestyle, past behavior, or current behavior shouldn’t matter. The focus of every interaction should be the development of a relationship that benefits your child now and well into the future.

Determine Interactions as the Child Grows

When your child becomes a tween or a teenager, he or she is likely to have more of his or her own opinions about interacting with his or her biological parents. Teens test boundaries within the home, and they may push against some of your established rules. You may need to re-evaluate some boundaries on an as-needed basis. Once your child reaches the age of 18, you’ll no longer be able to set or maintain rules for the types, frequency, and depth of interaction between him or her and the biological parents.

Working with a PA adoption lawyer allows you to have these boundaries clearly established in your adoption agreement with your child’s biological parents. As a Pennsylvania adoption lawyer, Donald C. Cofsky looks forward to representing you throughout the adoption process. Contact us at the Law Office of Cofsky & Zeidman by phone at (215) 563-2150 in order to schedule a consultation with our PA adoption lawyer in Philadelphia.

What Are the Necessary Requirements for Adopting a Child?

Primary Requirements for Adopting a Child

When you want to build a family, adopting a child is a great way to do so. Over the past 10 years, there have been more than 50,000 adoptions every year through foster care, which goes to show that it’s not going to be nearly impossible to adopt if you wish to. When you’re looking at all of your options for adopting, our PA adoption lawyers can help guide you through these options and what they could mean for you.

Possible Requirements for Adopting in Pennsylvania

Each state can have different requirements for adoption. The main three types of requirements typically center around age requirements, residence requirements, and LGBT restrictions. When it comes to these three elements, Pennsylvania has no such requirements or restrictions, which means that you will likely be eligible to adopt regardless of your circumstances. If a person is eligible to adopt a child based on Pennsylvania adoption laws and requirements, it’s likely that they will also be eligible to adopt through private agencies.

A felony conviction also doesn’t necessarily stop someone from being able to adopt. Only the nature of the felony can make it unlikely that a person will be eligible for adoption. When going through a private adoption, the birth mother or parents may have their own preferences for who can adopt their child, which means that they may have their own requirements. Get in touch with our lawyer at Cofsky & Zeidman today if you have concerns that you would like to be addressed about your eligibility for adoption.

What Is an Adoption Home Study?

The main factor that can determine whether or not you’re suitable for adopting a child is a home study, which occurs within the adoption process. Specific aspects of the home study process can differ from agency to agency. However, there are some general steps that you can expect throughout the home study. The primary goals of any adoption home study are to provide the adoptive family or individual with helpful education and preparation for the adoption process, to evaluate how capable the family is to adopt, and to gather an extensive amount of information about the adoptive individual or family. The information that’s gathered by a social worker will allow them to match a child with the adoptive family in a manner that’s best for both parties.


The home study process can be a lengthy one that includes:

  • Orientation
  • Comprehensive training
  • Interviews with a social worker
  • A home visit to make sure that the environment is safe
  • Background checks
  • The provision of health statements
  • The collection of references of people who know you best

The social worker then uses all of this information to write a detailed report that highlights their assessment of the adoptive individual or family that can be sent out to adoption agencies. A home study usually takes around three to six months to complete, the duration of which largely depends on how quickly forms are filled out and medical appointments are scheduled.

How Our PA Adoption Lawyers Can Assist You

Here at Cofsky & Zeidman, Donald Cofsky aims to provide every client with the representation that they need. If you have any questions about the adoption process and all that’s included, all you have to do is ask. Our law firm will also provide you with detailed information on what to expect once you enter the adoption process. If you would like additional representation along the way, we can guide you along every facet of the adoption proceedings whether you’re obtaining a private or an agency adoption. Any documentation that’s required during the adoption will be fully prepared and filed by our attorneys to ensure that no mistakes are made and that your adoption can go forward without issue. If any investigations occur during the process, we will counsel you on what your next steps should be.

If you’re interested in starting the adoption process and you would like some advice on how to handle certain aspects of the adoption, call our PA adoption lawyers today at (215) 563-2150 at our office in Philadelphia.

New Jersey Guidelines for Fostering and Adopting

Qualifying to Adopt a Foster Child

Approximately 7 percent of American children are adopted. The face of adoption in the U.S. has changed dramatically in the past few years as more and more adoptive parents seek to welcome older children whom they’ve fostered into their families. If you’re interested in adopting a child from the Garden State foster care system, a New Jersey adoption attorney can prove to be an invaluable resource.

The New Jersey Foster Care Program

Foster care provides a temporary living situation for children who’ve been so neglected or abused that the state has stepped in to suspend parental rights. In 2015, more than 8,000 New Jersey children found themselves living in these types of out-of-home arrangements. Foster children range in age from infants to adolescents nearing legal majority, but the average age of a child in the New Jersey foster care system is 8 years old.

Abuse and neglect have an impact on a child’s behavior, and it can be frightening to be a new kid in a household with strangers and different rules. While three out of every five foster children return to live with their parents or biological parents, two of those five children will see their mother’s and father’s parental rights terminated. Furthermore, they will remain in the custody of New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families until they reach adulthood—unless they are adopted.




New Jersey Guidelines for Fostering and Adopting

In New Jersey, foster parents are identified as “resource families,” and they hold dual licenses that authorize them to provide both foster and adoptive care. What that means in practical terms is that the licensing process is the same whether that family is welcoming a child into its home on a temporary or permanent basis. If it’s appropriate to work toward the reunification of a child with his or her birth parents, foster parents are expected to facilitate that process in any way they can. If reunification is not possible, however, foster parents have the first consideration when it comes to adopting that child.

The Department of Children and Families typically imposes four conditions when they evaluate prospective foster and adoptive parents. They are as follows:

  • Basic safety and living standards: Foster parents must be able to provide a child with a safe and secure home. Each child must have a sleeping area of 50 square feet, and children who are more than 5 years old can only share sleeping spaces with children of the same gender. While there are no income requirements per se, applicants must have a monthly income that’s sufficient to meet the needs of their family members.
  • Criminal background checks: Prospective foster parents and all adults living in the home must be willing to submit to criminal background checks, including finger-print checks of the national crime databases. Depending upon how long ago they took place, minor transgressions may not disqualify a person from becoming a foster parent. However, evidence of violent crimes or crimes that targeted children will terminate the foster application.
  • Home study: A representative of the county or agency through whom you will be fostering will pay a visit to assess the safety of your home and to evaluate whether you and the people with whom you share your home will make suitable foster or adoptive parents. If any changes need to be made, a resource family support worker will advise you. Once your home study has been completed, you will be asked to attend a pre-service training through Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE).
  • Additional training: An additional 24 to 36 hours’ worth of classes, staggered over 4 to 10 weeks, may also be offered. These classes are intended to help you learn more about the needs of children in foster care.

For more information about the ways a New Jersey adoption attorney can help you determine whether adoption through foster care is the right choice for your family, contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield, New Jersey, at (856) 429-5005.

Deciding Whether to Adopt Domestically or Internationally

How to Choose Where Your Adopted Child Will Be From

According to the U.S. Department of State, there were 4,714 children born in foreign countries who were then adopted by American parents in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Therefore, you certainly won’t be alone in your desire to adopt an international child. However, is that necessarily in your best interest?

LGBTQ Couples May Be Banned from Adoption in Some Areas

If you are a part of the LGBTQ community, you won’t be able to adopt a child from China, India or Ethiopia. However, it is legal to do so in all 50 American states. This is based on a series of rulings from the Supreme Court. It may just be easier for you to adopt an American child in such a scenario as opposed to attempting to do so internationally.

How Much Money Do You Make?

Let’s say that you wanted to adopt a child in South Korea. To do so, you would be required to have an income that is higher than the median average in the United States. For the most part, an adoption court in New Jersey would look at whether an individual can reasonably provide for a child. Therefore, you would only need to make a stable income that would be adequate enough to pay for food, shelter and other basic needs that a minor would likely have.

How Old Are You?

If you are between the ages of 30 and 50, you are likely able to adopt a child in most countries throughout the world. In some cases, you can adopt children as soon as you turn 18, assuming that there is a sufficient age gap between you and the child. As a general rule, you would need to be 10 to 15 years older than the child. New Jersey law says that you have to be 10 years older than the child you want to adopt. Our NJ adoption lawyer may be able to explain any other rules that may apply in your case.

Do You Have Time and Money to Visit the Child?

To adopt a child in Haiti, you must take two trips to the island totaling as many as 22 days altogether. The first trip lasts for 15 days while the second lasts for two to seven days. If you want to adopt a child in Uganda, you must first foster that child in the country for a year. If you are a New Jersey resident looking to adopt a child in New Jersey, the child will first be fostered in your home for six months, so there may not be a need to take time off from work or spend thousands of dollars on travel to adopt at home.

What Is Your Adoption Timeline?

In many foreign countries, it can take several months to receive a referral from an adoption agency. After the referral is made, it can take several more months or years before the adoption becomes official. For instance, it can take two months for a referral and another five months before the adoption of a Colombian child becomes official. If you are looking to adopt a child from Taiwan, it can be 16 months for a referral and another nine months for placement.

If you are looking to adopt a child in New Jersey, it may be possible to receive the child within days of a parent signing a surrender document. However, the birth parent may be able to revoke the surrender until parental rights are official terminated. This generally happens at a hearing that takes place three to four months after receiving the child. Regardless, a birth parent or adoption agency may place the child in your care within days or weeks of the adoption being agreed to.

Adopting a child can be a complex process, but our NJ adoption lawyer may be able to make it easier on you. If you are looking to adopt a child at home or internationally, contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield by calling (856) 429-5005.

Adopting a Child From the State System in New Jersey

New Jersey Public Adoptions Through the State Agency

There are multiple ways people can adopt children in New Jersey, and these include working with a private agency, making a separate arrangement with the birth parents or adopting through the state’s Office of Adoptions Operations. In most cases, adoptions that take place through the Department of Children and Families, Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P) involve foster parents who have already developed a relationship with the children. The state has a mandate to reunite children in foster care with their birth families, but adoption can be an alternative when reunification is not possible for some reason.

Foster Care and Adoption in New Jersey

In some cases, years of foster care and attempted family reunification may not be prerequisites, and children may be available for permanent placement on a more immediate basis. However, the children who are available often face various challenges. They may be older, have special needs or require placement as part of a sibling group. In some cases, adoption subsidies are available to assist parents with the costs of supporting these children. Adoption subsidies can apply to medical coverage, legal fees or maintenance payments, and around 98 percent of children adopted in this way receive a subsidy. Our NJ adoption attorney can provide you with more information about the advantages and complications of working within the public system.

In order to become a foster parent and move through the state system, you must meet eligibility criteria. You may then specify the types of children you are willing to foster who need homes. The state does not discriminate against prospective parents on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity or marital or domestic status.

Home Studies for NJ Foster Care and Adoption

After you pass an initial review stage, a DCP&P resource family worker will contact you to begin a home study. While a home study is also required for private adoptions in New Jersey, the process associated with becoming a foster or an adoptive parent through the state is more intense.

During the process, the state provides 27 hours of training to parents, including background on the experiences and needs of adopted children. It is important to understand that many aspects of going through the state system can be challenging, and the emotional demands are not the least of these. Children can be reunited with their birth families after a long period of bonding with foster parents. In addition, many children in care face significant personal difficulties. Some have experienced trauma prior to the placement.

A home study involves:

  • Health checks
  • Income verification
  • Child abuse record checks
  • Criminal background checks
  • Personal and employment references
  • Interviews with those living in the home

Whether they plan to adopt or wish to remain as foster parents, all resource families must go through the home study process. In addition, the family and home must be licensed through an inspection.

Matching a Parent With a Potential Adoptive Child

Prospective parents approved after a home study are entered into the system for a preliminary match of available children. If a child is already eligible for adoption, the placement will be supervised for at least six months by a state caseworker. This supervision will include home visits and other kinds of support.

If no issues arise during that time, DCP&P will consent to the adoption. Note that this only applies to children who are already available for adoption; children in foster care normally remain in the system for a much longer time, and depending on their circumstances, they may never be deemed eligible. The state’s consent will be forwarded to the parents’ NJ adoption attorney who can then file a petition for adoption, secure a date for the final hearing and obtain an amended birth certificate for the child.

Parents considering working through the state system to adopt a child can work with our NJ adoption attorney at Cofsky & Zeidman. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has helped over 1,500 families grow over the years. To set up an appointment for a consultation with an experienced adoption lawyer, call our office in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.

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