While there are many children around the world and here in Nashville who need loving homes, the logistical, financial, legal, and emotional hurdles to adoption can feel overwhelming. At Papa & Roberts, our adoption attorneys have helped many families in Nashville, Franklin, and Middle Tennessee bring their adopted children home. We have successfully represented clients in cases where adoption agencies were involved, private adoptions between individuals, and adoptions within families such as grandparent and stepparent adoption.
Our firm is not an adoption agency and we do not have access to adoptable children ourselves, but we do have relationships with adoption agencies in and around Nashville and can refer interested clients to those licensed agencies. Once clients are ready to adopt a particular child or children, we can handle the legal work to make it official.Overview of Adoption Process:
While Tennessee law recognizes many different types of adoption, there are two basic elements to most adoptions:
- Termination – In order for a child to be adoptable, the parental rights of the child’s previous (usually biological) parents must be terminated (except in the case of stepparent adoptions). Parents can voluntarily give up their parental rights in the context of an adoption petition. There are also ways under Tennessee law to terminate a parent’s rights against his or her wishes as part of an adoption if there is clear and convincing evidence to support the grounds for the termination.
- Adoption – Once a child is eligible for adoption, there must a suitable person (or people) ready to step in and adopt the child. In most types of adoption, the adopting parents must go through a home study, which is typically conducted by a licensed social worker, to insure that the adoptive parents can provide a stable, loving home for the child. Assuming the judge finds that the adoption is in the best interest of the child and all of the other legal criteria are met, the judge grants the adoption at a court hearing.
If you are ready to move forward with adopting a child or just want more information about the legal aspects of the adoption process, please email us or call us at 615-767-5900 for more information.