Qualities Look for in an Adoption Attorney as a Birth Mother in Missouri
An adoption attorney is a professional who specializes in family law, specifically adoption. Because they are experts on the legal side of adoption, they are a great resource and advocate to have by your side as you progress on your adoption journey.
When you work with us at Adoption Choices of Missouri, you are not required to have an adoption attorney. We offer legal services to ensure your rights as a birth mother are protected, and any legal fees will be covered by our agency. However, if you wish to be represented by an adoption attorney, it is an option.
Here are some qualities to look for in an adoption attorney as a birth mother:
Important Qualifications and Aspects to Consider
To learn more about adoption attorneys and their qualifications, see if they have their own website or if they have a profile on their firm’s website. As you’re browsing, ask yourself the following questions and see if you can find the answers. If not, be sure to ask the adoption agency itself through a phone call or in-person visit.
- Are They Licensed?
Is the attorney licensed to practice family law in Missouri?
- Are They Experienced?
How long have they been practicing? Do they specialize in adoption law? Do they have experience with domestic infant and newborn adoption cases?
You want to make sure that your attorney has experience working with birth mothers like you. For instance, did you match with an adoptive family that lives in another state? Are you a single birth mother? Have you chosen an open, semi-open or closed adoption? It’s helpful if an attorney has represented birth mothers in circumstances similar to yours.
Check out the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA), which is a reputable professional organization of attorneys who specialize in adoption. For an attorney to be listed in the AAAA directory, they must have practiced law for at least five years and they must have worked on at least 50 adoptions. So, you can set your mind at ease, knowing that they are legitimate and experienced.
- Do They Get Great Reviews?
Check out lawyer review sites, such as Yelp or Avvo.com. Did people leave favorable comments? Does it seem like other clients had a good experience working with this attorney?
It’s Essential that an Adoption Attorney can be Trusted
Making an adoption plan is a major life decision. If you want to bring an attorney on board your adoption team, you want to make sure they are respectful and caring.
When it comes to whether you trust an adoption attorney, careful research is important, but remember to also trust your own instinct. Consider these questions when evaluating an adoption attorney:
- Do they seem trustworthy?
- Do they seem supportive, understanding and kind?
- Do you feel comfortable around them? Do you feel like you connect with them?
- Do you feel like they will honor your wishes and needs?
- Do you feel confident that they will provide expert guidance?
- Do you feel that they will do their best to help you?
- Does it seem like they will look out for you and protect your birth mother rights?
Logistics and Communication
How can you communicate with your attorney (e.g. phone call, email, text, ZOOM appointments or in-person meetings)? If you’re going to meet in person, is their office conveniently located for you?
Finding an Adoption Attorney
If you have more questions about prospective adoption attorneys after researching, give them a call. Your adoption caseworker can also help you choose an adoption attorney.
Remember that you don’t need an adoption attorney if you work with Adoption Choices of Missouri. But, if you’d like to add an advocate to your support network, be sure to consider these qualities to look for in an adoption attorney as a birth mother. You need and deserve a team of people who have your best interests at heart, so finding a knowledgeable adoption attorney you trust is important.
Meet the Author: Zoë Bowlus, a writing and editing enthusiast, considers herself a grammar groupie and suffers from a weakness for wordplay and working with words, whether she is reading, furiously typing away, playing Words with Friends, or filling in the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
She was adopted from Vietnam as a baby and began exploring her adoptee identity in Asian American Studies and Communication courses at UC Santa Barbara. As she combed through adoption literature for her last essay of college (she graduated with highest honors in 2020), she was inspired to use the research, editing, and writing skills she developed in college and her personal experience to create resources and share stories about adoption in a professional context. Writing for Adoption Choices, Zoë hopes to support people on their adoption journeys and to grow as an adoptee herself.
Zoë is an aspiring cat lady who is allergic to cats. She enjoys curling up with homemade hot chocolate, kettle corn, and a good book but laments the absence of a feline reading companion. Her bedside table and bookshelves are overflowing with World War II historical fiction, Asian American and Mexico-U.S. borderlands fiction, contemporary fiction, grammar and style books, and collections of profiles. She spends an inordinate amount of time playing bridge.
An avid NBA fan, Zoë lives in Sacramento, the primary reason anyone would root for the Kings. She holds out hope that they will make it to the playoffs during her lifetime.