Deciding Whether Adopting Through Foster Care Is Right for You

Should You Adopt Through Foster Care?

Roughly 59% of all non-stepparent adoptions in the United States each year are adoptions that happen through the foster care system. Though this style of adoption is extremely common, many prospective parents are not aware of it. Understanding the pros and cons of adopting through the foster system can help you make the right choices for your family.

The Foster Care Adoption Timeline

Of course, one main difference between foster care adoption and private adoption is the timeline itself. When adopting privately, you meet with an adoption specialist, get approved by the agency, wait for a baby to become available, and then finalize the adoption. On average, this takes between eight to 15 months.

When adopting through foster care, you start by going through background checks and home studies to be approved as a foster parent. You can choose to be approved for adoption at the same time, or you can go ahead and start fostering while waiting on adoption approval. Once you are fostering a child you wish to adopt, you can file for adoption, wait six months, and then finalize the adoption. Things can move very quickly if you are properly licensed before starting the process.

Costs Associated With Foster Care Adoption

An unfortunate reality is that many people who would be excellent parents avoid adoption because of concerns about cost. It is true that private forms of adoption can be prohibitively expensive, costing somewhere between $25,000 to $50,000. However, adopting from foster care is actually very affordable.

The foster care adoption price in New Jersey is just somewhere between $0 to $1,500 for various classes and home studies. This makes foster care adoption an ideal choice for parents who can afford the day-to-day expenses of having a child but do not have tens of thousands of dollars saved up.

The Types of Children Available for Adoption in Foster Care

About 70% of the children waiting to be adopted from foster care are ages 11 or younger. Many people who adopt from foster care end up adopting infants right from the hospital. However, the median age of children in foster care who get adopted is 8 years old.

All children in the foster care system are there because they have had a difficult home life. Though most are not juvenile delinquents or children with a mental illness, prospective parents do need to be prepared for some challenges. Since you get to live with the child before adopting them, this gives you time to bond and gain experience parenting before you adopt.

Interacting With Biological Parents During Foster Care Adoption

A big difference in foster care adoption vs. private adoption is that biological parents may still wish to be involved on a regular basis. Unlike private adoption, not all biological parents have willingly given up their rights to the child. Instead, a child is made available for adoption through the foster care system after the state determines the child is no longer safe with their biological family.

This does not mean you have to go to court with your New Jersey adoption attorney and argue with the biological parents. Instead, the state will typically handle terminating the biological parents’ rights for you. If you want to adopt, the state will work to only place foster children with you from cases where parental rights are likely to be terminated.

Get Support From Experienced Professionals

As you can see, adopting from foster care can be an excellent way to reduce costs and give a home to a child who truly needs your love and care. However, there are a few additional steps, so it can be useful to have a New Jersey adoption attorney on your side who is familiar with the laws. At Cofsky & Zeidman, our team has years of experience handling adoption law cases. Give us a call at (856) 429-5005 to schedule your consultation at our office in Haddonfield. You can reach our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.

What to Consider When Planning a Stepparent Adoption

What Are Some Considerations for Stepparent Adoptions?

It’s not uncommon for a child to be adopted by a stepparent. In fact, this occurs in roughly 5% of stepfamilies, and many more would like for this to happen. Since stepparent adoption is not always easy to accomplish, interested parties should fully understand the process.

Stepparent Adoptions May Be Quicker

In most cases, a stepparent is already heavily involved in the child’s life. Thus, there is less vetting that needs to occur before the court would approve the adoption. It’s not the same as a situation in which strangers are entering a child’s life for the first time. That means the family can skip several steps and get through the process much faster than with other types of adoptions. There may be some checks required, but the normal exhaustive background checks and home studies can either be truncated or skipped in many cases.

Parental Consent Is Generally a Requirement

Usually, the biological parent who would be replaced by the stepparent must consent to the adoption. This permission is often difficult to get if the parent is still around. Many biological parents are understandably not receptive to being replaced.

In most cases, when the biological parent is involved in the child’s life, stepparent adoption will be a rare occurrence. Parents do not like to give up their parental rights and will not freely consent to it. Thus, stepparent consent is not a common occurrence in the regular shared custody scenario. It is simply not possible to have stepparent adoption when the other parent is still in the picture because the law does not allow the child to have three legal parents.

There are some cases in which a biological parent would freely give up their parental rights. If there is stepparent adoption, then the biological parent is relieved of their legal obligation to pay child support. Some parents who no longer want to pay child support and have only a loose connection to the child might consent to an adoption. Of course, in certain limited circumstances, the biological parent may recognize that the stepparent is in a better position to be the legal parent.

Common Circumstances for Stepparent Adoption

The most common scenario that will support a stepparent adoption is when the biological parent is completely out of a child’s life. In these cases, the child has no contact whatsoever with their parent. This is considered abandonment. The combination of no contact with the child for an extended period plus not paying child support can lead to this finding. Note that the failure to pay child support alone is not reason enough for stepparent adoption. Financial issues and parental rights are two different considerations.

In addition, stepparent adoption is generally supported when the biological parent is found unfit. Neglect and abuse are two common behaviors that can persuade a court to take away parental rights. Furthermore, if a parent is incarcerated, this may be grounds for stepparent adoption. For the most part, an adoption is much more likely if the biological parent has been absent for a long period of time.

Courts will take a parent’s rights seriously. They will not disturb them under the usual circumstances. It will take an extraordinary showing to allow a stepparent to move into the role of a parent. Thus, there will likely be an uphill battle for a New Jersey adoption lawyer unless any of the circumstances mentioned above apply.

Notwithstanding the above considerations, the court will usually look at stepparent adoptions with its standard best interests of the child test. Even if the child prefers that their stepparent becomes their legal parent, it does not automatically mean that the court will respect this preference. Instead, the court will look at the totality of the factors to reach the decision.

Getting Legal Assistance During the Process

If you wish to explore the option of stepparent adoption, contact the New Jersey adoption lawyer at Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555 today to find out how we can help you.

Helping Your Adopted Child Adjust to Their New Home

How to Help Your Adopted Child Adjust

In New Jersey, the average stay in foster care is 2.9 years. A long-term stay in foster care makes it more difficult for a child to adjust when they’ve been adopted. A child may have fears of being sent back, so it’s important you know how to help your adopted child adjust to their new environment when you bring them home.

Make Sure Your Home Is Prepared for the Big Day

You’ll want to fully stock the refrigerator and prepare your child’s room for them before the big day. This will help them feel safe and reduce their stress in the transition when everything is already prepared for them. Also, buy all of the necessities your new child will need, such as shampoo, toothpaste, soap, and other personal items.

If you’re still going through the adoption process, consult with our NJ adoption lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. Some adoptive parents have experienced trouble with the birth parents. You want to make sure you’re legally secure to keep a calm, safe environment for the child. Even after the adoption, you can consult with an adoption lawyer to ensure legal issues go as smoothly as possible.

Big Celebrations Aren’t Recommended

It can be overwhelming for your child’s first day in his or her new home to include all of your relatives and friends. Adoption professionals recommend keeping this initial celebration between just you and any of the family members who live in the house. Once your adopted child is adjusted, you can allow others to participate in the celebration if you choose to celebrate their adoption day.

Focus on Your New Child the First Few Months

As some experts have explained, it’s important to treat adopting a child the same as bringing home a newborn for the first time. You must limit socialization with others during the initial transition period to focus on bonding with your new son or daughter. This helps the transition to go more smoothly.

Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment

Around two weeks after your child has had time to settle in, schedule a doctor’s appointment for them. This allows them to get to know the doctor and shows them that you’ll be a good parent who cares about their health.

Avoid Going Out When Possible

Young children will feel overwhelmed if they’re taken out in public often during transitioning into a new home. This is especially true if others touch them or interact with them. Stay at home with your new child as much as possible the first one to two months.

Stick to Routines

Routines are essential for raising children who feel safe and secure. Children need reassurance that their needs will be met in order to develop trust in their parents. By feeding them at the same time every day and giving them a bedtime, they have reassurance that you’re meeting their needs consistently. A bedtime is also important in helping them fall asleep easier. Establishing a time for bathing for young children should be another part of your routine.

Save Breaking Bad Habits for After the Transition Period

Don’t worry about addressing bad habits your child may have, such as thumb sucking, during the transition period. Wait until your child has adjusted to your home to avoid overwhelming them. You want to make sure your son or daughter knows they’re loved and safe with you. If your child is older and you feel concerned about them, you can ask them how they’re feeling and let them know you’re there if they need to talk. You can also ask your son or daughter if there’s anything that would help them feel safe.

Forgive Yourself When You Make Mistakes

Parents want to do everything right for their children, and there’s nothing wrong with that desire. However, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over mistakes. Acknowledge the mistake and ask yourself how you can avoid repeating it and how you can do better next time a similar situation arises. This is a productive way of responding to your missteps. It’s also OK to apologize to your child if you’ve made a mistake. They’ll respect you and learn that people apologize when they’ve made a mistake.

Helping your adopted child adjust is about showing them that they trust you to take care of them. It’s a private time between you and your child, so limit outside interactions for a month or two. Once your son or daughter has adjusted to their new environment, you can introduce them to other family members and take them out for fun activities.

Contact our NJ adoption lawyer at Cofsky & Zeidman today. You can reach us in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555 to go over the legal aspects of your adoption.

Preparing Your Home Before an Adoption

How to Prepare a Home for an Adopted Child

Research has found that up to 20% of all domestic adoptions fail. If an adoption doesn’t work out, it can have a profound impact both on you and on the child who was supposed to come into your life. Let’s look at some ways that you can maximize the chances of a successful adoption.

Have Your Home Inspected and Cleaned

If your new son or daughter has allergies, it is important to have your home checked for mold or other substances that could exacerbate those issues. An inspection could also reveal dirty ducts or HVAC equipment that needs to be cleaned so that it doesn’t spew dust or pollen into the air. If you have carpets or rugs, make sure that they are professionally cleaned to get rid of dirt, pollen or other particles that may be trapped in the fibers.

Will Your Child and Your Pet Happily Coexist?

While you may consider your cat or dog to be a part of your family, the needs of the child trump the needs of your pet. If your child is allergic to animals, it may be necessary to have the pet placed into another home. The same is true if the animal is timid, shy or aggressive around children.

While it may feel as if you are turning your back on a loyal companion, the last thing that you want is to put either the animal or your child in danger. Our NJ adoption attorney might be able to provide more insight into what to do if your child and pet don’t get along. In some cases, additional obedience training for your pet might lead to positive interactions.

Where Will Your Child Sleep?

It is critical that your child have a place of his or her own to sleep at night. In some cases, your child will be able to simply occupy the empty bedroom down the hall from yours. However, you may have to consider moving your home office to the basement or garage to make room for the child.

If you don’t have any spare rooms, you may be able to remodel your home to accommodate the new addition to your family. The attic or basement could be converted to a bedroom that meets your child’s needs. In the event that you are adopting an older child or a teen, you will want to create a space that affords him or her as much privacy as possible.

How Will You Guard Against Potential Security Risks?

You generally won’t be considered at fault if someone breaks into your home in the middle of the night. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t take steps to protect your child from as many dangers as possible. You may want to consider installing an alarm system or adopting a large animal that can help keep your youngster safe in the event of a home intrusion.

It can also be worthwhile to buy new locks for your garage door or any other doors that lead directly into the home. For maximum security, look for products that require recognition of a fingerprint or entering a series of numbers before the door will open.

Get Rid of Outdoor Hazards

In addition to getting rid of hazards that may exist inside the home, you will need to also remove potential hazards that exist outside of it. For example, trees that are dead or dying could potentially topple over onto your house. Insects, rodents and other pests could hide in tall grasses, which can make them difficult for a child to see while playing in the yard. Finally, be sure to eliminate nails, scrap metal or anything else that could poke or puncture your child.

If you are looking for the legal representation of a conscientious NJ adoption attorney, feel free to contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield, NJ, at (856) 429-5005. You can also contact our office in Woodbury, NJ, by dialing (856) 845-2555, and it is possible to reach our firm online, too.

Blending an Older Adopted Child With Extended Family Members

Helping an Adopted Child Feel Comfortable With the Extended Family

Roughly 135,000 children are adopted in the U.S. each year, and many of these kids are older than a year when they’re introduced to their new families. If you’re planning on adopting an older child, it’s important to take a few steps when integrating them with extended family members. An older adopted child could feel overwhelmed at first—especially if you have many relatives—but there are ways to ease the process.

Explain Who’s Who in Your Extended Family

The first step in integrating an adopted child is to explain to your youngster who’s who within your extended family. As with anything else you need to discuss with your child, the conversation must be on an age-appropriate level.

The easiest way of explaining who’s who within your extended family is to use visual aids, recent photos, or even videos of the key loved ones. With the help of visual aids, present the name of the relative as well as how the family member is related to you and the child.

You don’t want to overdo it initially in this regard. In other words, you will want to stick with more immediate extended family members. These can include a child’s aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents.

Don’t Overwhelm the Little One

While an initial inclination may be to have some sort of party to celebrate the arrival of the new addition to your family, if the child is over a couple years of age, consider a preliminary step. That initial step is to slowly introduce the new addition to your home to one, two, or three extended family members at a time.

Taking this gradual approach serves a couple of key objectives. First, your child will not be overwhelmed. Second, your youngster will have a better chance to get to know each individual family member through a gradual process.

Introduce Your Child to Others in a Familiar Setting

Another tactic to employ when working to integrate your adopted child into your family is to introduce the boy or girl to your relatives in a familiar setting. The most obvious location is your own home.

A young child will be easily distracted by being in an unfamiliar setting. Indeed, some youngsters end up distressed when brought to an unfamiliar location. This stress could compound if they have to meet new or unknown people in the process.

Explain Family Traditions to Your Young One

A useful tactic to integrate an adopted child over a couple of years of age into your extended family is to explain family traditions. For example, you should explain to your child what your family enjoys doing during the holiday season. This will not only familiarize your child with the practices, customs, and traditions of your extended family, but it also develops a sense of excitement on the part of the child for partaking in family events.

Follow Your Child’s Lead When Interacting With Extended Family Members

Finally, when it comes to integrating your newly adopted child with your extended family, follow your child’s lead. You don’t want to force your child to interact with an extended family member or deal with too much at one time.

If your child is tired, grumpy, or otherwise uninterested or apprehensive about interacting with family members, don’t force the issue. Forcing a younger child to interact with an extended family member when he or she is not up to it may backfire. This could lead to a persistent lack of interest or even distaste for family gatherings.

If you’re in need of a PA adoption lawyer, Donald Cofsky of Cofsky & Zeidman stands ready to assist. Mr. Cofsky has extensive experience representing people in all aspects of adoption cases. You can schedule an initial consultation by calling our Philadelphia office at (215) 563-2150. There is no charge for an initial consultation with the PA adoption lawyer from our firm.

Coronavirus Is Impacting the Timeline for International Adoptions

The Impact of Coronavirus on International Adoptions

In recent weeks, the spread of a novel virus from Wuhan province in China has sent shock waves throughout the global infrastructure. Not only has the fallout threatened to slow the shipment of goods and travelers’ movements to and from China, but international adoptions have also slowed as China reports a death toll that is now more than 1,000.

What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus refers to a group of viruses that come from animals. The first known patients who displayed symptoms of the current coronavirus shopped or worked at a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Since the initial cases emerged, health care professionals have observed that the virus can be transmitted from person to person as many more human cases now exist. At least 28 countries currently report cases of the virus while China reports tens of thousands of domestic cases. Scientists still have questions regarding how contagious the virus is; therefore, several countries now have travel bans in place to contain the infection rate.

Couples and individuals who are waiting to adopt a child from China are increasingly reporting delays in the process due to the emergence of the virus. If you are currently in the process of adopting a child from China, your PA adoption attorney can advise you of how the threat of coronavirus may impact your adoption timeline.

Why Are Adoptions Impacted By Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is affecting international adoptions from China in several ways. First, the United States has imposed a travel ban that limits the movement of people who wish to travel to and from China. This means adoptive parents are logistically unable to travel to meet their new adoptive children and bring them home. Additionally, limited communication from the Chinese government regarding the disease outbreak makes it very difficult for adoption agencies to communicate potential next steps to adoptive parents. Therefore, adoption attorneys and agencies are unable to advise adoptive parents regarding exactly how long they will need to wait before the process is once again able to move forward.

What Should Adoptive Parents Do for Now?

The simple answer is to be prepared for a situation that may change quickly. We advise parents to exercise patience as the timeline may lengthen substantially. It may help to think of the adoptive process as if it is similar to raising a biological child. Parents are not always in control of every circumstance that involves their biological child. They simply have to do everything that is within their means and leverage the help of professionals who are well-versed in the situation. For that reason, we advise adoptive parents to always seek out the legal knowledge and opinion of an attorney.

How Long Does the International Adoption Process Normally Take?

Every adoption varies from case to case. Nevertheless, prospective adoptive parents typically receive advice to expect the process to take 18 to 24 months. Parents at every stage in the process of adopting a child from China may be required to wait longer as the governments of the U.S., China, and the international health community respond to the virus outbreak.

Has This Ever Happened Before?

In 2003, there was an outbreak of the SARS virus in China. Similarly, the spread of SARS led to travel restrictions and a sudden onslaught of questions for adoptive parents, governments, and the international health community. At that time, the Chinese government suspended international adoptions. Nevertheless, the government resumed processing adoptions within a matter of months, and waiting parents eventually were able to travel to pick up their newly adopted children. The SARS outbreak came with lessons that may prove valuable during this current virus outbreak. Therefore, parents have reason to remain optimistic.

Who Can You Talk To?

If you have questions about how coronavirus may affect your adoption process, the adoption agency may have information about the estimated timeline as well as measures Chinese orphanages engage in to protect children from the virus. We also strongly advise you to consult your adoption attorney for additional insight. Information from overseas may be sparse at times. However, your attorney will serve as an excellent sounding board and immediate point of contact to help you address your concerns as you navigate the lengthy international adoption process.

If you have concerns about the impact of coronavirus on the international adoption process, speak with a PA adoption attorney at Cofsky & Zeidman. Call our Philadelphia office at (215) 563-2150 today.

Reasons People Adopt Children

5 More Reasons People Decide to Adopt

Adoption is a common legal solution that brings people from many different walks of life together for a multitude of reasons. In 2017 in New Jersey, roughly 1,089 adoptions were finalized within the state, and all had different circumstances. The following are a few of the more common circumstances that lead people to adopt, and you can contact a New Jersey adoption lawyer if any of these situations sounds like yours.

1. Adoption Helps Children

The simplest reason that compels many prospective parents to adopt is knowing they will help a child in the end. Children who may otherwise remain in foster homes, orphanages, or inherently unhealthy situations receive a host of opportunities when loving parents adopt them. Adoptive parents are generally in a better position to give their children the individual attention, affection, and financial support a child may not otherwise receive while in care of the state. Furthermore, children who are adopted are more likely to form a healthy bond with their adoptive parents and feel a sense of belonging in their new families.

2. Adoption Eliminates the Potential for Medical Complications

Infertility is not the only medical reason that may compel a couple to adopt. In some cases, either partner may have a medical condition that can make it dangerous for them to reproduce biologically. By adopting, these couples avoid the potential of pregnancy and delivery complications, genetic disorders, worsening heart conditions, and any other reason a doctor may recommend a couple to avoid procreating.

3. Some Parents Have a Gender Preference

Parents who would prefer to raise a child of a specific gender may safely do so when they opt to adopt. These parents may choose to adopt a child of virtually any age and avoid the pressure and potential conflict that is inherent in having gender expectations of a child prior to learning the unborn child’s sex.

4. Some Parents Would Prefer to Raise Older Children

Raising a newborn is difficult and requires a major lifestyle adjustment. Therefore, some prospective parents would prefer to adopt an older child. Adding a child into your family will always require major change. However, some parents are better able to care for a child who is more independent and old enough to attend school while the parent works. Older children also tend to remain in the adoption system longer than babies; therefore, adopting an older child directly addresses a need by providing a loving home to a boy or girl who may be more likely to be overlooked.

5. A Child in the Family May Require Help

In some cases, a family member may be unable to care for the child. Often, other family members wish to keep the child within the family. Therefore, an adult relative may legally adopt and care for the child. Doing so may allow the boy or girl to continue to have a relationship with his or her biological parent and feel like a valued member of the family even though the biological parent may not be able to care for the child.

No two adoption cases are identical. By allowing an attorney to walk you through the entire process, you can potentially avoid unnecessarily prolonging the process and wasting extra financial expenses. Your attorney will also help you ensure the terms of your adoption are spelled out as clearly as possible for your protection. There are different paths you can take to arrive at your ultimate goal of adopting a child. Obtaining the help of an experienced attorney will give you the peace of mind in knowing your adoption process is fully compliant with all applicable laws. If you believe adoption may be a life change you would like to pursue, contact an experienced New Jersey adoption lawyer at Cofsky & Zeidman by calling our Haddonfield office at (856) 249-5005 today. You can reach our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555.

Tips for Choosing a Child to Adopt

A Guide to Choosing a Child to Adopt

Roughly 135,000 children are adopted in the United States in a given year. Children can be adopted either from families currently living in the United States or from agencies in foreign countries. Ideally, you will spend time carefully considering the type of child you would like to adopt and why before you start the process in earnest.

Will You Adopt Domestically or Internationally?

Generally speaking, it can be easier to adopt a child who currently resides in the United States as opposed to those who live internationally. This is because foreign nations may have stricter adoption guidelines compared to those imposed by American agencies. For instance, foreign countries may require that you be married, that you make a certain amount of money or that you aren’t a partner in a same-sex relationship.

When you request to adopt a child in the United States, you typically only have to show that doing so would be in the child’s best interest. In some cases, it may also be necessary to obtain permission from the child’s birth parents before the adoption can be finalized. However, this may not be the case if the parent has already had his or her rights terminated.

How Old Will Your Preferred Child Be?

You may have the opportunity to adopt a child who is only a few weeks or months old. However, there will also likely be an opportunity to adopt an older child or teenager. Your choice will typically depend on whether you want to raise a child from the beginning or simply act as a mentor to someone who needs direction in his or her life.

Of course, it is important to understand that raising a child isn’t easy regardless of how old he or she may be. Children of all ages will need both emotional and financial support for many years after they come into your home, and older children may need more time to become comfortable with the idea that you are going to be there for them for the rest of their lives.

Will You Adopt a Child With Special Needs?

A child who has an emotional or developmental disability can still grow up to be a productive member of society. It is also possible for a child who has special needs to learn, understand and follow household rules that you create. However, you will generally need to show a greater level of patience with those who have mental or physical disabilities.

It is possible that an adoption agency will want you to attend classes or take other steps in preparation to raise a child with special needs. Taking these steps may provide you with greater confidence that you are ready to face the special challenges that you may encounter. A New Jersey adoption attorney may be able to provide any additional details about the process of taking in a special-needs son or daughter.

Is Race or Gender a Concern?

You may be allowed to choose the race or gender of the child you would like to adopt. Therefore, it may be something that you will want to consider as part of doing your due diligence. While there is nothing wrong with preferring a child of one gender over the other, it is important to note that it can be rewarding to raise any child regardless of what he or she looks like. It is also worth considering that friends, family members and other resources may be available to help you handle any challenging situations that you may encounter while raising your adopted son or daughter.

If you are looking to add a new member to your family, Donald Cofsky, the New Jersey adoption attorney from Cofsky & Zeidman, may be able to help. Call our Haddonfield office by dialing (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office by dialing (856) 845-2555.

Cooperative Adoption in New Jersey

How a Cooperative Adoption Works in New Jersey

Flexible arrangements are often necessary in the wake of an adoption because the birth family does not completely want to cut off contact with the child. Through a cooperative adoption, there is some leeway to adopt a child and still maintain some sort of relationship with the birth parents. While New Jersey is not one of the 23 states that have statutes allowing written and enforceable contact agreements between parents, cooperative adoption is still an option.

Challenges of Cooperative Adoptions

There are some challenges presented by cooperative adoptions. The new adoptive parents will often want a fresh start with their child and may not wish to have a great deal of contact with the birth parents. At the same time, they won’t necessarily want their adoptive child to know yet that they are adopted. Parents may wish to hold on to the information surrounding the adoption until the child is older. Furthermore, they might feel as if continuing to have the birth family in the child’s life would be ceding some element of control of the parenting.

However, the birth family may not want to completely give up the child to someone else. In some cases, maintaining contact with the child can be a condition for putting the child up for adoption or allowing a family to assume responsibility for their child.

No Enforceable Agreements in New Jersey

Many cases allow for enforceable agreements that govern the relationship between the adoptive family and the birth family. These involve commitments that must be kept. However, New Jersey is not a state that has statutes that address enforceable cooperative adoption agreements. Therefore, any type of agreement that you reach with the birth family would essentially be a handshake-type agreement that you couldn’t get in trouble for violating.

Benefits of Cooperative Adoption

However, just because the law does not specifically provide for a cooperative adoption does not mean that you will completely want to rule it out for your adoption. It can help ease the transition for the child if he or she is older at the time of adoption and knows the birth family. The stability provided by some sort of a cooperative adoption can help facilitate the process and make it easier for the child. In addition, allowing contact with the birth mother may reduce some of the feelings of abandonment that an older adopted child might feel. These are all factors that you need to consider when deciding what role to give the birth family.

With that in mind, you should consider all the potential pros and cons when deciding whether to allow the child to have any contact with the birth family. If you do allow contact, you should think about how much there should be. There are reasons why legal counsel may be in favor of or against these types of adoptions.

Making a Contract

Even though New Jersey law does not deal with cooperative adoption agreements, there is nothing to prevent two private parties from agreeing to some sort of arrangement so long as it meets contract law requirements. If you enter into this type of arrangement as adoptive parents, you will have the ability to amend the agreement as you see fit if you decide that it is not working out as you intend. This agreement can be written or unwritten because the law would treat them both the same. New Jersey adoption attorneys can advise you on how to implement cooperative adoption in the state.

If the birth parents want to maintain contact with the adoptive child, you will need to figure out the parameters of that contact. As the legal parents of the child, you have the ability to make whatever determination is in the best interests of your family. If you do not feel that it is best for the child, you do not have to permit contact between him or her and the birth parents.

Legal Assistance

Turn to Cofsky & Zeidman when you need New Jersey adoption attorneys who can help you with all of your adoption-related legal needs. Call us today in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 to set up your initial consultation. You can reach our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.

The Costs Associated With Adoption

How Much Does Adoption Cost?

About 135,000 children are adopted in the U.S. each year. If you are considering adoption, chances are you are also researching how much the process will cost; the financial expenses associated with adoption vary according to the options you choose, such as a domestic versus an international adoption or a private or a public one. Your New Jersey adoption lawyer can help you better understand the process and choose the options that are best suited for your family.

Private vs. Public Adoption

Private adoptions usually involve a family that adopts a newborn from parents who voluntarily put the child up for adoption. When a family adopts a child from a foster home, the process is referred to as a public adoption. Private adoptions typically require the parents to pay a fee for a home study. The home study fee may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. In many cases, the state or local government will cover the costs of a home study for parents who adopt a waiting child from a foster home. Individuals may also avoid fees by fostering a child, though the foster process may involve an elevated level of risk.

Agency vs. Independent Adoption

Parents who opt for an agency adoption may choose one of two routes: agency adoption or independent adoption. During an agency adoption, an agency works with the parents throughout the entire process. The agency even undertakes the task of finding the right expectant mother for couples who enlist their services. Parents who choose the independent route must advertise and network to find the right expectant mother on their own. On average, people who choose independent adoption can expect to save a few thousand dollars on financial expenses. However, both pathways to adoption typically cost more than $30,000.

Domestic vs. International Adoption

International adoptions tend to cost slightly more than domestic ones. There are also other key differences. For example, parents who wish to adopt an infant should choose to adopt domestically because with international adoptions, six to 12 months will typically pass before the child is placed with the adoptive parents. International adoptions also have a greater potential to involve unknowns relating to the child’s birth and the biological mother. Adoptive parents may also be required to budget for costly international travel when adopting a child from another country.

Additional Expenses Associated With Adoption

There are several types of fees that are typically associated with adoption, especially when parents opt to proceed with the process privately. Expectant parents may be required to pay program and application fees that could range from a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000 if they work with an agency. The cost of adoption also may include fees for hiring an attorney.

It is highly advisable that people work with a New Jersey adoption lawyer as the process typically involves complex family law issues in addition to requiring a substantial financial investment. Factoring in adoption attorney costs is critical as consulting with a professional will help you protect your legal rights and financial investment. Parents who wish to adopt a newborn are often required to cover the birth mother’s expenses as well. Whether working with an adoption agency or proceeding with an independent adoption, the parents must also cover the cost of advertising and networking to find the right birth mother and child.

Get the Legal Protection You Need

The adoption process may be as short as one month or as lengthy as one year or even longer. It only makes sense that you would want to protect yourself throughout such a critical process by hiring an adoption attorney. Your New Jersey adoption lawyer can advise you at every step, especially with determining the best road to adoption for your particular circumstances, including choosing an agency if you decide to go that route. If you are unsure about the adoption process, your first call should be to a trustworthy adoption lawyer. Contact Cofsky & Zeidman at our main Haddonfield office by calling (856) 429-5005, and let us assist you as you begin the journey to make your family whole. You can also reach us at our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.