Tennessee couples who are considering adoption might wonder what it may cost. This depends upon what kind of adoption it is and may range from very little to as much as $50,000 or more. There are four main ways that people may adopt. In a private agency adoption, parents might spend between $20,000 and $45,000. These costs could include legal fees, court documentation, parental training, a home study, and various other medical, legal and counseling expenses.
Gay adoptive parents may still face discrimination when they try to adopt a child. In Tennessee, a gay pediatrician struggled to adopt a child 17 years ago before finally finding an agency that helped him do so. However, although there are more opportunities for gay and lesbian people than there were at that time, the process can still be a struggle. Furthermore, Texas and South Dakota have both passed laws that allow agencies that are state-funded to refuse gay and lesbian parents.
In Tennessee, a child may be placed for adoption by the biological parents or by a guardian or guardian ad litem. Some state agencies can do so as well.
Regardless of how a Tennessee resident chooses to pursue an adoption, it must be approved by an adoption court. The process begins by filing a petition with the court after which a hearing is scheduled. Prior to the hearing taking place, all interested parties will be notified. Interested parties generally include the child's biological parents, an adoption agency if one is used and the child being adopted depending on the child's age.
For Tennessee parents considering adoption or giving up a child through adoption, it is important to note that there are several different options available. Each type of adoption grants both the adoptive and birth parents certain rights.
People in Tennessee may be interested in adoption for a number of reasons. While most adoptions today that are not international tend to be open, in the past, adoptions were usually closed. Open or closed adoption refers to how much information is exchanged between birth and adoptive parents.
The executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project has expressed his support for a lawsuit that challenges a bill signed by the state's republican governor. Four lesbian couples filed the lawsuit against Gov. Bill Haslam, the state health commissioner and the Department of Health. They allege that the new law represents an attempt to stop judges from applying laws that cite husbands, wives, mothers or fathers in a gender neutral manner in cases that involve a spouse or parent. The bill instructed judges to interpret words in laws according to their "natural and ordinary" meanings.
Tennessee same-sex couples might struggle to adopt a child if Gov. Bill Haslam signs a bill that would require the interpretation of laws to be done with the "natural and ordinary meaning" of words that do not have a specific legal definition. One result of this could be a mother unable to list her wife on a birth or adoption certificate that specifies that the two names on it should be a husband and wife or mother and father.
For Tennessee parents who are getting a divorce and who have an adopted child, as long as both parents are legally adoptive parents, the process of negotiating custody and visitation is no different from if the child is a biological one. As with a biological child, a court will focus on the best interests of the child. The process is just as difficult as it is for parents of a biological child. This means that adoptive parents may need to keep a few tips in mind since the coparenting relationship could continue to be contentious after the divorce.
Tennessee residents who are looking to adopt a child may benefit from hiring an attorney to help with the process. This is especially true for those who are not working with an adoption service. While legal fees can get expensive, there is generally no need to hire an attorney to handle every step in the adoption. Instead, it may be a good idea to have legal counsel to review documents before the process is finalized.