Whether you are in an LGBT relationship or simply want to pursue adoption to build your own family, it’s easy to get lost in the paperwork and various forms of adoption. Without prior experience, how are you supposed to know how you’d like to adopt a child and what kind of adoption will work best for you? As you learn more about your single or LGBT parenting rights, here is what you should know about the different types of adoption in New Mexico, so you know which path to choose as you start your new family.
The Different Types of Adoption
In the state of New Mexico, there are many different forms of adoption that are legally recognized, giving prospective parents a variety of ways to start their family. Let’s take a look at what each adoption process entails and if it’s the right option for you.
As a prospective new parent, you can choose to either adopt publicly or privately. By taking the public route, you will work with a public adoption agency that typically works with wards of the state, aka wards of the court. These children are typically children cared for by the state-funded foster care system who often end up in this situation after their parents are determined unfit to parent or are incarcerated. With a public adoption, the new parents can expect to attend or host post-placement interviews conducted by government employees to ensure the child’s best interests are being upheld. In New Mexico, this is done by Child Protective Services.
In contrast to the public route, private adoptions deal with private agencies like charities or social service organizations that are not directly managed by the government. This type still adheres to the same laws and regulations as public adoptions, but the initial process can vary greatly depending upon the agency you work with. With the private path, you’re more likely to be adopting directly from willing and still-expectant mothers or parents than a system that works to keep children away from unfit people or unsafe situations. In private adoptions, you can also expect to see younger children and even infants more often than public.
Open vs. Closed Adoption
Among both public and private adoptions, you have the option for it to be either “open” or “closed,” referring to if the birth parents have the opportunity to stay involved and in contact with their birth child. During the adoption process, the prospective adoptive parents will gain legal guardianship but will create a contract that details how and how often the birth parents may contact or visit. After the adoption, that contract becomes part of the adoption papers. Today, the majority of adoptions are open, but closed adoptions where the birth parents are not willing or allowed to contact the child are still practiced today, depending upon the individual case’s circumstances. Whichever option you choose, know your individual, same-sex, and LGBT parenting rights before pursuing adoption.
Domestic vs. International Adoption
Depending upon your situation and the current circumstances of adoption agencies in your area, you can pursue to either adopt a child in New Mexico (or another U.S. state), or to travel abroad and adopt internationally. While the early 2000’s saw a rising trend in international adoptions, that has since declined because of the restrictions on the practice and the difficulty of the process compared to domestic adoptions. Today, international adoptions are much more expensive and time-consuming, while domestic adoptions come with smaller price tags and better resources for both the parents and the child involved.
If both parents are still alive, this process requires the new partner of a parent to gain consent from the biological parent(s). Once adoption is finalized, the partner/stepparent has the same legal rights as a birth parent. This type of adoption often supersedes most requirements of private and public adoptions, like pre- and post-placement reports and counselling.
While relative adoption is often only pursued in emergency situations, it offers prospective parents or individuals the opportunity to adopt a child they’re already related to. This process typically is followed when a person in the family has passed and a relative steps up to claim legal custody of the now-orphaned child. In New Mexico, state laws favor relative adoption, so this process is usually easier and takes less time to finalize and comes with an easier transition than most other forms of adoption. An alternative to adoption is guardianship.
If you’re looking to adopt a child on your own or with your partner, reach out to the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer to consult with our team of family law attorneys and adoption lawyers. We will provide compassionate, reliable representation and give you guidance on every step of the adoption process so you can focus on starting your family the right way. Contact us to get started today.