Adoption Law Center

Making your forever family legally secure. We guide families through a complex legal process to attain a binding legal adoption.

Client Spotlight

Secure your forever family

At the Adoption Law Center, we guide families through a complex legal process to attain a binding legal adoption, making your forever family legally secure. We will meet with you and learn your story. Sometimes it is a story of heartbreak and renewal. Sometimes it is a story of a dream come true. Adoption is a life-changing decision. Most adoption stories involve tears of pain and joy.

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What to expect

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Frequently Asked Questions

Your attorney will meet with you and learn your story. Sometimes it is a story of heart break and renewal. Sometimes it is a story of a dream come true. Adoption is a life-changing decision. It brings with it the soul-searching, rewards, challenges, and personal growth that accompany a major life event.Most adoption stories involve tears of pain and joy. Adoption law is based on a standard of the best interest of the child. Adoption proceedings involve first terminating the parental rights of the biological parents. Sometimes this is accomplished by agreement through a legal process called“parental consent” or “surrender of parental rights”. Sometimes the termination of parental rights is accomplished through a trial. A trial and the appeals that follow can take years. An important part of an adoption proceeding is ensuring that the parties are properly served. A benchmark of our judicial system is due process. This means that parties are entitled to notice and a hearing, particularly when a constitutional right, such as parentage, is at issue. As your attorney, we are meticulous with our ethical standards and competency around adoption law. The last thing any family wants is for an adoption to be challenged years down the road. The Adoption Law Center will guide you through a complex legal process, taking time to answer all of your questions. We prepare you for each court date, so you know exactly what to expect.

Almost all adoptions are now considered open. However, openness is a spectrum that can include everything from annual pictures and updates to visits with the birth parents with some regularity. In March of 2019, Tennessee enacted a court-enforceable Post-Adoption Contact Agreement, often referred to as a PACA.We will work with you to develop a Post-Adoption Contact Agreement based upon your family’s desires and the best interest of the child.

If you are considering domestic infant adoption, you will work with one or more adoption agencies.The Adoption Law Center has excellent relationships with many adoption agencies, both locally and nationally. When you meet with us for your initial consultation, we will get to know you and make recommendations based on your family’s needs. We often speak with families at the beginning stages of exploring the adoption process. Our consultation is invaluable for directing you toward the right resources and warning you against predatory practices found in the adoption industry. We can direct you to a home study agency and give you options for a placing agency as well. Do not pick an adoption agency without speaking to us first!

Many people are interested in foster care adoption because they view it as a blessing for the child, the adoptive family, and the community. Individuals or couples that are interested in adopting an older child may be drawn to the foster care system. Be aware that the first objective of foster care is to reunify the child with his or her biological family. There will be a plan put in place and efforts made by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) toward reunification. It may take years before DCS accomplishes terminating the parental rights of the biological parents. Foster parents should be prepared for the likelihood that the child will be returned to the biological parents. There are thousands of children in DCS custody who are in the full guardianship of the State. These are children who are available for adoption because termination of parental rights has already occurred. You can get connected with a child or sibling group here: adoptuskids.org.

Yes! The Adoption Law Center frequently handles adult adoptions in the Middle Tennessee area. Stepparent adoptions of young adults are the most common type of adult adoption. But we have handled all types of adult adoptions in which the parties wish to establish the legal parent/child relationship where one already exists in their hearts. Name changes are a routine part of an adult adoption if desired. A new birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parents’ names listed as the parents. 

"My adoption story is not like your adoption story. All adoption stories are different, but they are all perfect. Because there is no such thing as the perfect family, we are all perfect families, because we are FAMILY, and FAMILY IS PERFECT."

Jenni Varhol

Adoption Law Center Blog