How long will it take to adopt a child?
Although there are no guarantees, the average waiting period to be matched with a birth mother is between six to eighteen months. The waiting period will also depend on whether the adoptive parents have restrictions on the type of child they are seeking (i.e. gender, race, age). In an agency adoption, once the child is placed in your home, the adoption will be finalized in six months. In a private adoption, once the child is placed in your home, the adoption will be finalized in a year.
How much does adoption cost?
The costs of adoption are wide-ranging, primarily depending on the birth mother’s living and medical expense needs and the type of adoption you wish to pursue. Expenses for an adoption can range from $1,000 to $40,000. We will discuss your adoption budget and decide how to proceed. We can also direct you towards grants and other funding sources if necessary.
What is a home study?
A home study is an evaluation of your home environment conducted by a licensed professional. It will determine whether a proposed adoptive home would meet the individual needs of the child, including the child’s safety, permanency, health, well-being, and mental, emotional, and physical development. A home study is necessary for an interstate adoption.
Will you work with out-of-state families?
Yes. We process many Interstate Compact cases and will assist in reconciling the conflict of laws that often exists between states.
Where do birth mothers come from?
We work with birth mothers from Louisiana and across the nation.
Is there a tax credit and dependent tax deduction available for adopted children?
Yes. A child may be considered a dependent for tax purposes as soon as he or she is placed in the adoptive home. The adoption tax credit may be taken for adoption related expenses after the adoption has been finalized, or after an adoption has failed.
Should I update my will?
Yes. Having an up-to-date will is important for your family whether your children are born to you or adopted. You may want to update your will after a child is placed in your home. Since you will not have a permanent legal relationship until the adoption is complete, this would allow the child to inherit from you, if you were to pass away during the adoption process. Regardless, upon the finalization of the adoption, you should update your will. Aside from inheritance, a will is essential for the appointment of a guardian to care for your child and a conservator to protect the child’s inherited property. If you fail to designate someone to act in these capacities, a court will make the determination for you.
What information will I have on the birth parents?
The birth mother (and sometimes the birth father) will complete a lengthy family, social and medical history. When possible, we also obtain medical records from the birth mother’s OB/GYN and the hospital where the child is delivered. If requested, we can obtain criminal records or other third party documents. The birth parents generally decide what personal information is released such as their names and contact information.
What information will the birth parents have about me?
The birth mother/parents will receive your family portfolio, if available. If the birth parents desire more information, it will only be given with your approval.
How many adoptions have the lawyers at Widmer & Schroeder handled?
Jay has handled hundreds of adoptions, over the past 35 years, including agency adoptions for the Adoption Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, private interstate adoptions through American Adoptions and other out-of-state agencies, local private adoptions, intrafamily adoptions, recognitions of foreign adoptions and adoptions of foreign orphans.
Courtney joined the firm at the end of 2016 to assist Jay with his practice. She has worked on dozens of adoptions as law clerk for Judge Andrea Janzen and as chief law clerk for the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court, over the past ten years.
Are any of the attorneys at Widmer & Schroeder Fellows of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys?
Yes. Jay has been a fellow of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys for more than five years.
What are the requirements for becoming a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys?
The Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys is an Academy of approximately 460 members throughout the U.S. and Canada who are experts in the complexities of adoption law and the variety of interstate and international regulations surrounding adoption.
Membership is invitational. Fellows must be licensed for at least five years and have acted as lead counsel in at least 50 adoption proceedings, including ten interstate (ICPC) placements in the two years prior to being invited to join the Academy.