The adoption process is an exciting time for prospective parents. There is a great deal of information available regarding adoption in Indiana, and the details can be overwhelming. Don’t let the details cause you stress during a time that should be full of joy and excitement. This blog will help you better understand the private adoption process in Indiana and prepare you for the steps that will unite you with your child.
What Is Private Adoption?
A private, domestic adoption allows the biological and adoptive parents to work together through an adoption attorney without the involvement of a public agency. Private adoption may also be referred to as domestic adoption, infant adoption, newborn adoption, or private domestic adoption. Private adoption is different from foster care, in which children are waiting to be adopted while in government care, and in that case, adoption is usually not within the birth mother’s control.
Below we provide an overview of the private adoption process in Indiana – the different types, the advantages, and the most important things you should know about it if you’re considering privately adopting a child in the state.
Advantages of Private Adoption in Indiana
Private adoptions offer several advantages over public agency adoptions. Here are some notable benefits:
- Greater control: Private adoptions allow both sets of parents to work together in a less structured manner compared to adoptions through public agencies. This allows for more flexibility and customization throughout the adoption process.
- Communication: If desired, private adoptions facilitate direct and personal contact between the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents. This direct communication enables adoptive parents to gather more information about the baby while providing the birth mother a role in the child’s life, should both parties agree.
- Speed: While the timeline of private adoptions can vary, they generally have the potential to be completed more quickly than public agency adoptions. In some cases, private adoptions in Indiana have been finalized in as little as three months.
- Cost: Private adoptions can often be more cost-effective than public agency adoptions. If the adoptive parents find the child themselves, the overall expenses may be lower.
Other Important Aspects of the Private Adoption Process
When considering private adoption in Indiana, it is essential to be aware of the following aspects:
- Payment: Indiana law permits adoptive parents to contribute towards certain pregnancy-related expenses of the biological mother, such as medical costs, food, housing, transportation, counseling, and legal fees. However, the court typically restricts payments to a maximum of $4,000 unless there are exceptional circumstances where the life of the mother or child is at risk.
- Legal process: To ensure compliance with Indiana’s adoption laws, the terms of the adoption must be finalized in a written adoption agreement. This agreement includes any “open” provisions that both sets of parents have agreed upon regarding future communication and contact.
- Final adoption order: Unless the biological parents have legally relinquished their rights and responsibilities, they retain default rights. Therefore, adoptive parents must obtain an adoption order before taking actions inconsistent with those rights and responsibilities.
- Cost of private adoption: Private adoptions in Indiana can vary in cost, typically ranging from $15,000 to $40,000.
Types of Private Adoptions in Indiana
Private adoptions encompass various types based on specific circumstances. Some common types include:
- Stepparent adoption: This type of adoption occurs when a stepparent remarries and seeks legal parenting rights for their spouse’s children. The stepparent, who has formed a loving bond with the children, can navigate the adoption process to obtain legal recognition.
- Adoption by a grandparent or other family member: When family circumstances warrant a transfer of legal responsibility, biological parents and extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other relatives, may agree that a family member should assume legal responsibility for the child. This type of adoption is typically straightforward.
- “Kinship” relative adoption: In this type of adoption, a “kinship relative” who is not biologically related but has a significant bond with the child seeks legal adoption.
- Adoption by an unrelated adult: Sometimes, biological parents may identify unrelated individuals who are willing to adopt their child during or after the pregnancy. Both parties will work with their respective attorneys to finalize the adoption process.
- Open Adoption: Open adoption involves maintaining contact between the birth parents and the child as they grow up. In an open adoption, the biological and adoptive parents collaborate to structure their preferred form and frequency of communication. Open adoption has gained popularity since the 1970s due to research suggesting its benefits in providing children with a valuable connection to their past.
Contact Zentz and Roberts with Your Private Adoption Questions
Navigating the private adoption process in Indiana can be complex, and legal counsel is crucial. The family law attorneys at Zentz & Roberts, an Indiana adoption law firm, offer comprehensive support throughout the private adoption process. We provide compassionate and knowledgeable legal counsel, regardless of the prospective adoptive parents’ unique situation. Contact us to help with your case now. Or call us at 317-220-6056 to schedule a consultation. Our Indianapolis adoption attorneys look forward to hearing from you and helping you with your private adoption.