Practicing family law has been my passion since before my legal education even began, and one of my favorite parts of my family law practice is the specific area of adoption. As an adoption lawyer in Lake County, I have had the privilege of being involved in multiple Lake County adoption cases. I was authorized by clients who searched for a Lake County adoption attorney to share their private experience. In the summer of 2018, I was able to change the lives of three people forever through adoption.
Mr. and Mrs. Tharp had been married for more than ten years and had not been able to have a child. They had both always wanted to grow their family and have a baby, and through a mutual friend, they were put in contact with a woman who was looking for a loving family with which to place her child for adoption. Through the entire process, from the home study, the adoption plan, the baby’s birth and the adoption consent signing at the hospital, all the way to the final adoption hearing, it was an honor to be able to help Mandy and Bobby Tharp adopt their sweet baby girl, Emersyn Rayne Tharp.
There are so many moments throughout the Tharps’ adoption journey that will stay with me forever. I will never forget when I first met the Tharps because it’s hard to imagine now how I didn’t know then that basically all of us who work at Rohe Law would fall in love with them and their precious baby girl. When baby Emmy was born, I went to the hospital for the adoption consent signing, and there was not a dry eye in the room when the final signed document was presented to the adoptive parents. A few days later, the Tharps were able to take Emmy home with them from the hospital. All three of their lives were changed forever from that day forward, and sweet Emmy had found her forever home. The
Tharps were able to experience the joy (and sleeplessness) of parenthood for the first time, and you could not find more deserving parents. At the final adoption hearing, which was very well-attended by the Tharps’ friends and family, along with almost our entire law firm, baby Emmy was barely three months old, but the Judge observed her already deep connection to her family. It is a truly indescribable feeling, now, when her mom and dad come to visit me, to see the way she looks for them in any room, the way she laughs and smiles at her dad, and always follows the sound of her mom’s voice. To have been able to play a role in bringing this beautiful family together via adoption is one of the greatest honors of my life.
Many people’s lives are touched in every adoption, and many people’s lives are touched by adoption in some way. My last name, Bartolowits—yes, admittedly, a bit of a doozy–is German. I’m not German, and my husband whose name I took is also not German. He got the name from his adoptive father, who raised him since he was young and who was his best man in our wedding, and now it’s mine, too, and I couldn’t be prouder to carry on the deep, abiding love that that name symbolizes. Family doesn’t always mean blood. And however your family may come together, it’s nothing less than a privilege for the Rohe Law adoption lawyers and support staff to be able to help you make it official. If you are interested in adoption and would like more information, please call today to set up your consultation.
Here at Rohe Law, we are pleased to offer a variety of adoption legal services. We offer private adoptive parent representation, including for the following types of cases: single-parent adoption, relative adoption, step-parent adoption, adult adoption, and second parent adoption. Pursuant to Florida law, “relative” adoption means that if you are seeking to adopt a child (or an adult) who is within the third degree of consanguinity to you, there is a streamlined process for your adoption of that relative. For example, if you are interested in adopting a non-relative or non-stepchild, you will need an approved home study from a licensed Florida agency. Relative adoptions do not require a home study.
Family members who would qualify as a “relative” for purposes of utilizing the streamlined relative adoption process would be those within the third degree of consanguinity on the below chart, as signified by any relationship on the chart noted with a “3” or a smaller number.
ADOPTION REPRESENTATION OF BIRTH PARENTS
We also offer birth parent representation, providing services such as reviewing and explaining the consent and other legal documents, attending consent signing on the behalf of the birth mother or father, if you may be searching for a birth parent adoption attorney, or if you are a parent seeking counsel to advise you in the process of placing your child for adoption. We do not offer adoptive placement matching services.
PRIVATE ADOPTION -VS- AGENCY ADOPTION
Private adoption through Rohe Law or another law firm/adoption entity is different from agency adoptions in a few significant ways. Agency adoptions are often much more expensive, but agencies are often able to offer adoptive placement matching, putting potential adoptive parents in contact with children who may be available for adoption. The private adoption process through Rohe Law is often much less costly than going through an agency, however, we are not able to match you with an adoptive family or with a child available for adoption. If you have been able to locate an adoptive family with which you wish to place your child, or you have located a child or adult you wish to adopt, private adoption with Rohe Law may be the right choice for you to have your legal adoption process finalized.
OPEN ADOPTION -VS- CLOSED ADOPTION
Another significant difference between private adoption and agency adoption is the ability to have a “closed” adoption, as opposed to “open” adoption. When you adopt through an agency, you may not know the identity of the child’s birth parents, and in turn, you may not wish for the birth parents to know your identity or other personal information. You may not have contact with the birth parents during the adoption process, or after the adoption process is finalized. This is known as a “closed” adoption. When you have already located a child or adult you wish to adopt, most likely, you know each other in some capacity, and therefore your adoption will be “open” in that you will know the identity of your child’s birth parents, and they, in turn, will know your identity. This can remove some of the mystery from the adoption process, and allow adoptive families some degree of information regarding the child’s birth family including possibly the child’s biological family’s health history, as well as the option to have some degree of ongoing contact after the adoption is final. Your Rohe Law adoption attorney will be able to answers questions about the legal process, your rights, and the options available to you in this regard.
OVERVIEW OF PRIVATE NON-RELATIVE ADOPTION PROCESS
In an infant, non-relative adoption, for example, two legal actions are necessary: first, the termination of the birth parents’ rights, and the second, the adoption proceeding. There is a statutorily required approximately 90-day time lapse between the initiation of the termination proceeding and the finalization of the adoption. During that time period, the infant is in the legal custody of the adoption entity, (which, when you use Rohe Law, is Rohe Law), which “places” the child with you the prospective adoptive parents until your parental rights become solidified in the adoption. During the process of infant adoption, Rohe Law will take all possible steps to ensure that you will be able to bring the baby home from the hospital with you- we are on-call and available any time of the day or night to help make that happen. If you have located a child or adult that you wish to adopt, whether it’s a stepchild, a relative, or otherwise, or if you have located an expectant mother who wishes to place her child with you, private adoption is within reach for you. Please give us a call to see how Rohe Law can help grow your family. If you know of anyone seeking an adoption lawyer in Lake County, Florida, an adoption lawyer in Sumter County, Florida an adoption lawyer in Orange County, Florida, or any of the Central Florida counties, please consider getting an adoption attorney at Rohe Law!
About the Author
Rachel Bartolowits is an Associate Attorney at Rohe Law. Rachel is passionate about family law and providing clients the legal representation and advice they need to navigate family legal matters.