Experienced Adoption Attorneys Supporting Clients Through Agency And DCS Adoption In Tennessee
For many reasons, the State of Tennessee serves as guardian to hundreds of children who need the love and security of their own families. When thinking about adopting a child to expand their families, some couples may not be aware that there are many children available for adoption in Tennessee, especially older children, sibling groups, and those with special needs. (You can view photos of Tennessee’s waiting kids on the DCS website and find out more about what it takes to bring them home.) Children who are waiting to be adopted may also be in the guardianship of a private licensed child-placing agency, or adoption agency.
The trusted adoption attorneys at the law firm of Shepherd & Long, PC are ready to guide prospective adoptive parents through the entire process of adopting a child in need of a stable home.
Working With Licensed Adoption Agencies In Tennessee
Whether a child is in the guardianship of the state or a private agency, the prospective adoptive parents will need a home study by a licensed agency. The child must be in the adoptive parents’ physical custody for at least six (6) months before the adoption may be finalized, unless the child to be adopted is related to them.
If you need help choosing an adoption agency to work with, there are several adoption agencies in Tennessee that are licensed by the state to provide fee-based services to adoptive parents. Each year the TN Department of Children’s Services publishes a fee schedule so that you can compare the costs and services. It is also vital that you read each agency’s contracts carefully and work with an experienced adoption attorney before you sign anything.
Questions And Answers About DCS Adoptions In Tennessee
Any time you are working with a government agency or a privately-run adoption agencies, you will come up against rules and regulations, waiting lists and other obstacles. But in the end every hoop you jump through and every document requiring answers to invasive questions is worth it when you hold your child in your arms.
Preparing For Child Adoption In Knoxville
The first step is for the birth family to surrender their rights to the child, which can either be voluntary or involuntary. While voluntary surrender is more straightforward, involuntary surrender requires a petition to be filed separately or as part of an adoption petition to the local court, to terminate the rights of the parents.
Involuntary surrender of parental rights requires a hearing and grounds for termination, such as failure to support the child, failure to visit the child, abuse and neglect, or the extended incarceration of a parent.
Next, the prospective parent needs to complete a series of application filings including:
- A home study carried out by an accredited child placement agency
- Submission of a home study with details of the family, medical reports, and financial statements
- Filing of a Foster or Adoption Application for parenting to the Department of Children Services
- Enrolling in a 30-hour education and self-assessment process
Completing these steps only prepares you for the adoption and doesn’t guarantee that you will be successful. However, should you fail to meet any of these requirements, you may face delays or rejection of your adoption application.
Beyond the application process itself, prospective parents also need to be psychologically prepared for the adoption as there are many sensitive issues that must be handled with the utmost care. Once all the requirements are met, the child’s team will decide whether you are the right parent for the child.
If selected, extensive information about the child will be shared with you so that you and your family can make the best-informed decision about if the child is a good fit and whether you feel capable of caring for them.
With a combined experience of more than 40 years, you can trust Shepherd & Long, PC with your adoption needs in Knoxville, TN. Our legal experts are knowledgeable about all the adoption requirements, including the complexities that come with the process. Let us help you properly prepare for this exciting journey in your life.
Talk To A Skilled Adoptions Attorney In Knoxville, TN
Call 865-999-0366 or fill out our contact form to request a free first consultation. We have skilled attorneys who can advise you and guide you through the sometimes arduous process of adopting a child.
Shepherd & Long, PC
Shepherd & Long, PC is located in Maryville, TN and serves clients in and around Rockford, Walland, Alcoa, Louisville and Blount County.
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