What legal services can KidsFirst help with?
Relative or Kinship Adoption
Recognition of Foreign Adoption
Steve Pecar is one of the founders of KidsFirst Adoption and has provided adoption services for over 20 years. He is an experienced adoption attorney and has been involved in over 800 adoptions, both domestic and international, since KidsFirst was formed in 1998. Mr. Pecar has attained an “AV Preeminent” rating, the highest available, from Martindale Hubbell’s listing of attorneys rated by skill and ethics among their peers.
The types adoption, and the laws governing each type, can be very confusing for all involved.
In most cases, adoptions can be categorized as one of the following. The adoption types that KidsFirst can assist with are explained below.
- Adoption Matching Services
- Private or Direct Placements (In-State)
- Interstate Adoptions
- Stepparent Adoption
- Relative or Kinship
- Recognition of Foreign Adoption (Re-adoption)
- International Adoption
Adoption Agency Matching Services
KidsFirst Adoption works with biological parents who desire to make an adoption plan. These are adoptions where the agency provides family profiles to the biological parent(s) and the biological parents select the adopting parent(s) who will adopt his or her child.
In Indiana, these placements may require that some background information be exchanged, although the biological and adoptive parents may elect not to exchange identifying information, such as last names and addresses. Usually some type of ongoing arrangement, although generally not legally binding, is established. For instance, the biological parent(s) may desire to receive pictures or letters about the child after the adoptive placement, and in some instances, may hope to schedule video calls or physical visitations. Although these types of adoption arrangements are generally not legally binding, we consider it a moral obligation of adoptive parents to stand by any agreement they make with biological parents. KidsFirst Adoption will help adoptive parents resolve these arrangements with the biological parents, as well as assist with all other issues for the biological parents, including but not limited to, arranging insurance coverage for the medical care of the mother and baby, setting doctor’s appointments and providing transportation to the appointments, helping the biological mother when she needs food or clothing, and managing the disbursement of financial assistance the biological mother may be entitled to under Indiana law.
For more information about KidsFirst Adoption’s matching services, please click here.
Private or Direct Placements (In-State)
These are adoptions where the biological parent(s) select the adopting parent(s) who will adopt his or her child. Often, adoptive parents may find biological parents who are interested in making an adoption plan and may need an attorney to meet with the biological mother after birth to take the required adoption consents. The attorney can then file the petition in Indiana. These placements may require that some background information be exchanged, although the biological and adoptive parents may choose not to exchange identifying information, such as last names and addresses. Usually some type of ongoing arrangement, although generally not legally binding, is established. For instance, the biological parent(s) may desire to receive pictures or letters about the child after the adoptive placement, and in some instances, may hope to schedule video calls or physical visitations.
Each adoption is impacted by various factors, and it is important that you seek the aid of a skilled adoption lawyer to ensure that your process is completed as effortlessly as possible.
These are adoptions in which the child is born in, or resides in, one state and the adoptive parent(s) reside in a different state. Because the laws of both states need to be satisfied, there is greater complexity to these cases. Adoptive parents are not permitted to return home from the state in which the child resides until the approval of the interstate offices of both states has been obtained pursuant to Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).
It is important that you seek the aid of a skilled adoption lawyer to ensure that your process is completed as quickly as possible so that you can return home with your child.
These are adoptions in which one spouse desires to adopt the child of the other spouse, generally with the other spouse’s consent. As with any adoption, the adopting parent will have all of the rights and obligations of a biological parent, including the obligation to care for, educate and financially support the child, and the adopted child will have all rights of a natural child, including the right to inherit. In many cases, these adoptions are simple (if the other biological parent is (i) deceased, (ii) is the biological father and his identity is unknown, (iii) has had little or no contact with the child, (iv) has not properly cared for the child despite having the ability to do so, or (v) willingly agrees to consent to the adoption). These cases are filed in a probate court having jurisdiction and can be completed fairly quickly.
However, under Indiana law, the natural parent, if known, is required to be notified of the stepparent’s intention to adopt the child and is given the opportunity to object to the adoption. If an objection is made, the adoption may be more difficult but is still possible. If the natural parent has had little or no contact with the child or has not properly cared for the child despite having the ability to do so, his or her consent may not be required.
An experienced adoption lawyer will help you determine the steps that are necessary to assure that your stepparent adoption is completed as effortlessly as possible.
Relative or Kinship
Often, biological parents have children they are unable to care for due to drug addiction, incarceration or other issues affecting their ability to parent. In such cases, it may be preferable to have a relative (like a grandparent) or someone close to the family (like close family friends or godparents) care for the child(ren) on a temporary or permanent basis.
An experienced adoption lawyer can help you to understand the differences between adoption and guardianship to come up with the best solution for your situation.
Recognition of Foreign Adoption (Re-adoption)
Indiana gives full recognition to adoptions that are completed in another country, as long as the laws of the child’s home country laws and U.S. laws were followed. Whether or not you will be required to complete an adoption in Indiana or merely file a foreign adoption decree into an Indiana court will depend upon the circumstances of your individual adoption.
If your adoption was finalized in your child’s country of origin and your child entered the United States on an IR-3 or IH-3 visa, we can simply file the adoption decree into the court and obtain an Indiana birth certificate. We can also, if necessary, complete a change of your child’s name as part of this process. These cases do not require that the adoptive family attend a court hearing.
If your adoption was not finalized in the child’s country of origin and your child entered the United States on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa, the adoption will have to be finalized in a court in the state of Indiana.
Mr. Pecar has been the Assistant Director of KidsFirst Adoption for over 20 years and has been involved in over 600 international adoptions. He has completed countless recognitions of foreign adoption and has finalized many international adoptions in Indiana courts.
KidsFirst International Adoption works with adoptive parents desiring to adopt a child from another country. KidsFirst International is a Hague-accredited Approved Service Provider and is knowledgeable in navigating the laws of the United States for the immigration of adopted children as well as the laws of many of the countries in which we have worked. KidsFirst has completed over 600 adoptions from other countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Bulgaria and other countries. KidsFirst has also completed home studies for families adopting from dozens of other countries.
For more information about KidsFirst Adoption’s international adoption services and the international programs currently offered by KidsFirst, please click here.