If you are preparing for adoption, this is a very exciting time! Your family is growing, and your new arrival will be here before you know it. In Ohio, the adoption process can be complicated, but working with an experienced attorney can help make it as seamless and painless as possible. Before you get too far along, here are some important things to know about your options and the rules that apply to Ohio adoptions.
1. There are Different Types of Adoptions
Depending on your goals and desires in pursuing adoption, there are different types of adoptions that you can consider. These include:
- Domestic Public Adoptions – A public adoption involves providing a permanent home for a child who is living in foster care or state custody and has been removed from their biological parents’ home due to health, safety, or other concerns.
- Domestic Private Adoptions – In a private adoption, the adoptive parents work with an agency or the biological parents’ attorney to arrange for the adoption.
- International Adoptions – With international adoption, your child will have been born overseas. International adoptions can often be complex – implicating both U.S. and foreign laws – but the rewards are well worth the effort.
- Stepparent and Grandparent Adoptions – Ohio law also allows for stepparents and grandparents to formally adopt their spouse’s children (in the case of a stepparent) or their grandchildren (in the case of a grandparent). Adoptions in these circumstances can be obtained by consent of the biological parents or through court involvement.
You also have the option of choosing whether the adoption will be an “open adoption.” With open adoption, the adoptive parents agree to allow the child to remain in contact with his or her biological parents. In Ohio, there are no legally binding post-adoption contact agreements allowed. Openness can include other relatives beyond (or sometimes instead of) the birthparents such as grandparents or siblings.
2. Agency and Attorney-Arranged Adoptions are Handled a Little Differently
If you choose a private adoption, you have the option to either work through an agency or work with the biological parents directly (referred to as an “attorney-arranged” adoption). With agency adoptions, the agency may or may not give the biological parents the final say as to the identity of the adoptive parents. With an attorney-arranged adoption, the birth parents' birthparents typically choose the adoptive parents from profiles.
3. There are Strict Limits on Providing Financial Support to the Birth Mother
While many adoptive parents want to shower the biological mother with gifts and support during her pregnancy, for ethical purposes, Ohio law restricts the amount of support that can be provided. You are only permitted to provide financial assistance for medical expenses, attorney, and agency fees. Providing more than the law allows can put you at risk for having the biological mother’s consent to the adoption overturned. For more information on providing support to the birth mother, visit the Ohio Law, Section 3107.55.
4. Be Prepared to be an Open Book
Regardless of the type of adoption you choose, you will need to be willing to share a significant amount of information about yourself, your finances, your family, and your home. You should generally be prepared to discuss and provide information on topics including:
- Your reasons for choosing to adopt
- Your ability to provide a safe and permanent home for the adopted child
- The stability of your personal and family relationships
- Your parenting skills and your willingness and desire to raise a child long-term
- Your understanding of your rights and obligations as an adoptive parent
You will be required to participate in-home visits as well. At Laubacher & Co., we can help you fully prepare so that you can make informed decisions about your adoption and put yourself in the best position possible to successfully adopt without unnecessary stress or hiccups along the way.
Contact a Cleveland, Ohio Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering adopting in Ohio, the experienced Cleveland family law attorneys at Laubacher & Co. are here to help. We provide assistance with all types of adoptions and will hold your hand every step of the way. Call (440) 336-8687 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.