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Do I need an Adoption Attorney in Mississippi?


mississippi adoption attorney
Posted on: March 28th, 2019 by: Amanda Daniels  Topic: Adoption

About 135,000 children are adopted in the United States every year. Deciding to adopt a child is exciting, emotional, and overwhelming for prospective parents. Once you decide to adopt, you must make many decisions and go through many legal processes that you may feel unsure about. Read on for helpful tips that will guide you through the adoption process and know when an adoption attorney may be needed.

Deciding to Adopt

When you think about adoption, there are many factors you have to consider, both about the adoption process itself and about the child you are going to adopt. Read through the questions below and discuss them with your partner (if applicable) to ensure you are making a well thought out decision.

1. What child are we best equipped to parent? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, what is important is to be completely honest and transparent to ensure you will be able to love the child you adopt unconditionally and help them flourish.

  • Are you willing to parent a child with physical, emotional, or mental challenges?
  • Are you willing to adopt siblings/more than one child?
  • Do you have a preference for a boy/girl?
  • Are you open to adopting from a foreign country?
  • Does the ethnic background of the child matter to you?
  • Do you have strong feelings about the age of the child you are willing to adopt?

2. What type of agency do you prefer, public or private?

Public:

  • Advantages: Lower cost, occasional short-term financial stipends to help you support your new child.
  • Disadvantages: Bureaucracies involved can make the process to adopt take longer.

Private:

  • Advantages: Process is sometimes faster. Sometimes applicants have more control over the type of child they adopt.
  • Disadvantages: Higher cost.

3. Can you provide unconditional love?

  • If adopting an older child, are you prepared to be patient until they are ready to return the love you show them?
  • Are you able to unconditionally love a child who does not have a biological connection to you?

4. Do you have a support network?

  • Parenting is tough sometimes, and adoptive parenting brings its own unique set of challenges. Do you have friends and family who can support you? Do you plan to join any support groups to meet other families and be connected with support resources?

5. Have you gone over your financial situation to be sure you have the financial resources necessary both for adoption and child-rearing?

  • Adoption expenses are only the start of your parenting journey. Raising a child will bring new expenses to your household, from diapers to auto insurance.

Once you have answered these questions and are ready to move forward with your adoption, a new question arises:

When do I Need an Adoption Attorney?

Although some adoptions are straightforward and no attorney is required, there are numerous situations in which an adoption attorney is necessary to ensure the adoption is completed properly and lawfully. Read these situations carefully so you are aware of situations where an attorney is beneficial and can ensure your adoption proceeds smoothly with no legal difficulties.

Situations when an adoption attorney is helpful or necessary:

1. The expectant mother and adopting parents live in different states

Adopting a baby that lives in a different state will be subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The adoptive family must stay in the state of birth until the ICPC clears them to leave the state, which can quickly increase adoption expenses. Several documents are required for clearance, and if the adoptive family submits incorrect or incomplete paperwork, clearance can be delayed. An experienced adoption attorney should be able to get clearance within 3-5 business days after the consent paperwork has been signed by the birth mother.

2. The child, birth father, or expectant mother is eligible for membership in a federally recognized Native American tribe

Adoptions must comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Each state has different rules about compliance, and the court will want proof that all necessaries inquiries have been completed according to the law. An experienced adoption attorney will know the proper process that needs to be followed and the proper documents that need to be filed based on the situation.

3. The birth parent(s) ask for an attorney

The birth parent is giving up significant rights to their child; a request for an attorney should be respected and will be in everyone’s best interest.

4. The expectant mother needs expense assistance

When expectant mothers need help covering expenses, the state has specific laws about which expenses are allowed to be covered, how the funds must be paid, and who can distribute them. Failure to follow the law in this matter can result in criminal liability and jeopardize the adoption. A good adoption attorney is familiar with which expenses are allowed, who can disburse the funds and how they should be disbursed.

5. You want to have an expert handle the process to reduce stress and risk

The legal process involved in adoption can be scary and overwhelming. There is a lot at stake, and new issues can pop up constantly as you proceed through the process. A good adoption attorney will have the knowledge to preclude problems, deal quickly and effectively with roadblocks, and help manage the relationship between you and the biological family. This lowers your stress, can speed up the adoption process and lets you focus on preparing for your new family member.

Mississippi Adoption Resources

Below is a list of resources for Mississippi adoption:

State contact information
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
Foster/Adoption Information Hotline
Phone: 800-821-9157

Foster and adoption licensing requirements

Minimum requirements include:

  • Completion of required agency forms.
  • Medical information completed by a physician.
  • You can be single or married.
  • Verification of marriages and divorces, if applicable.
  • Currently, residing in the state of Mississippi.
  • Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Child Abuse Registry checks for all adults in the home.
  • Police record clearance for all adults in the home.
  • References for employment and character.
  • Sanitation and water inspection, if not on an approved system.
  • Home visits and interviews with all household members.
  • Active telephone service in the home.
  • Smoke alarm and no less than a four-pound ABC-type fire extinguisher.
  • Minimum income that proves the applicant is self-supporting and could financially meet the needs of an additional family member.
  • Transportation is available at all times.
  • Participate in at least 15 hours of pre-service training.
  • The child must have his or her own bed, and no adult or child of the opposite sex may sleep in the same room with him or her.
  • Life insurance coverage for the family, child and a plan for the child in the event of disability or death of the parent.

To get started, you must complete an application online. For questions about it, please contact:

Jasper Lowe III
Recruitment Manager
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
Office: 601-359-4519
Email: adoptms.kids@mdcps.ms.gov

Agency contact and orientation information

Rescue 100 is a collaborative effort between the Mississippi Dept. of Child Protection Services (MS DCPS), the courts, and houses of worship across the state. These organizations work together to streamline the process for foster families. For example, after using the application form we mentioned above, we hope that you will attend an orientation session.
For more information, including online training courses and one-day training for foster families, please contact:

Jasper Lowe III
Recruitment Manager
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
Office: 601-359-4519
Email: adoptms.kids@mdcps.ms.gov

Parent support groups

For more information, please contact:

Jasper Lowe III
Recruitment Manager
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
Office: 601-359-4519
Email: adoptms.kids@mdcps.ms.gov

Information on Mississippi’s children

Approximately 5,000 Mississippi children are in care right now. Some are in foster homes or relative placements already.

For more information, please contact:
Jasper Lowe III
Recruitment Manager
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
Office: 601-359-4519
Email: adoptms.kids@mdcps.ms.gov

Let the Law Office of Amanda Daniels Help Your Adoption Proceed Smoothly

Our attorneys have experience in domestic, international, foster, and stepparent adoption. Schedule a free consultation today at (662) 678-8009 and let us talk to you about how we can make your adoption proceed smoothly and efficiently so you can start life with your new family member as quickly as possible.

Tupelo Attorney

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Amanda Todd Daniels is a general practice attorney providing legal services for residents of Mississippi, including Tupelo, Booneville, Corinth, New Albany, Pontotoc, Oxford, Amory, Aberdeen, Fulton, and Ripley MS.