National Foster Care Month

Adoption Options in Tennessee

Adopting a child often involves heightened emotions as well as complex legal proceedings; however, the end result creates a new family or adds to an existing family. If you are at the beginning of the adoption process, you undoubtedly have a slew of questions and several important decisions to make. Having an experienced adoption attorney by your side throughout the process is the best way to get answers to those questions and help you make the right decisions for your situation. In the meantime, a Murfreesboro adoption attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains your adoption options inNational Foster Care Month Tennessee to help you narrow down what type of adoption you wish to pursue.

Agency Adoption

Agency adoption utilizes a licensed public or private agency to place a child for adoption with an adoptive parent or parents. An agency adoption is highly regulated and must follow very strict policies and procedures when facilitating an adoption. 

A public agency adoption involves a child who is legally in the custody of the State of Tennessee for one of several different reasons, including the loss of one or both parents, removal by the State because of parental abuse or neglect, or abandonment. Children available for adoption through a public agency can range in age; however, parents hoping to adopt a healthy newborn will likely have better luck with a private agency.

A private agency adoption typically involves a social or faith-based organization committed to matching women who wish to give up their children for adoption with adoptive parents. While there are costs involved in any adoption, adoption through a private agency tends to involve the highest cost as the adoptive parents often agree to pay the birth mother’s medical bills and expenses throughout the pregnancy.

Independent Adoption

An independent adoption works much like a private agency adoption, without the agency. This type of adoption involves an agreement reached between the birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) without an agency acting as an intermediary. Frequently, an attorney, doctor, or religious leader helps bring the parties together in a private adoption. If an attorney does not initially bring the parties together, one should be consulted given the complex and delicate legal issues involved in adoption.

International Adoption

An international adoption involves adopting a minor child who is a citizen of another country. While it is often much easier to find a child available for adoption in another country, the legalities involved in an international adoption can be complicated. The adoptive parent must understand and abide by the adoption laws in the child’s home country, the adoption laws of the State of Tennessee, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services laws and procedures to successfully and legally bring the child to live in the United States.

Open Adoptions

Historically, adopted children had no contact with their birth parents once they were placed with an adoptive family. In recent decades, however, the concept of “open” adoption has become more popular. As the name implies, an open adoption involves continued communication between the birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) and/or child. The type and frequency of the communication is something the parties usually agree to when the adoption agreement is negotiated between the parties.

Stepparent Adoptions

Sometimes, a stepparent decides that he/she wants to become a child’s legal parent. When the spouse agrees, a stepparent adoption may be initiated. If the child’s other parent agrees to the adoption, a stepparent adoption can be among the easiest adoptions to accomplish; however, if the child’s other parent objects to the adoption or cannot be located to obtain consent, talk to an experienced adoption attorney about how to proceed.

Kinship (Relative) Adoptions

Millions of children in the United States are being raised by grandparents, siblings, and other blood relatives because the biological parent(s) has mental health or addiction issues, is imprisoned, or has passed away. To ensure that the relative who is raising the child has the legal authority necessary to enroll the child in school, consent to medical treatment, and make other decisions typically made by a parent, adoption is often recommended. If a biological parent does not consent to the adoption, it may be necessary to get a court to terminate the parent’s parental rights.

Contact a Murfreesboro Adoption Lawyer 

If you have questions or concerns about adoption in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro adoption lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.


Dinah Michael