Pregnant? Don't know what to do? We are here to help.
Our goal is to help you transform one of the most difficult decisions in your life into a bright future for both you and your child. We believe adoption is the forgotten option. Hughes Law Office aims to respect and empower birth-parents and make adoption a positive experience for everyone involved. With the help of our firm, hundreds of children have been placed in loving and stable homes.
If you are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, we know that this can be a confusing and even scary situation. You have a lot on your mind. You have a lot of questions. If you are considering adoption, The Adoption Help Law Office can help. Since 1991, attorney John R. Hughes has been working with expectant mothers and adoptive families. Hughes Law Office can provide you with answers to your legal questions and get you the help you need. Contact us today.
Get assistance through the adoption process
Choosing to place your child for adoption can be difficult. You’ll get help from us throughout the process, including helping you: find a quality family for your baby; create a birth plan that fits your needs; choose open or closed adoption; and deal with medical, living and legal expenses. You’ll receive warm, caring personal attention from us and we’ll always travel to you. We can help you get as much or as little counseling as you need. We will tailor the process to fit your needs. There is no cost to you and everything is confidential. We respect and closely follow the requirements of ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act). If you decide to proceed with adoption through our firm, you’ll be given the cell number for Beth, our adoption case manager, who is available 24/7.
Answers to some of your questions...
What are my options?
Do I keep the child? Do I terminate the pregnancy? How do I find an adoptive family?
Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be scary, confusing, and overwhelming. You don't have to go through it alone. We can help you find a licensed counselor to help you take a look at all your available options.
There is no cost to you, even if you decide not to proceed with an adoption.
Finding a family
There are several ways you can go about finding a family to adopt your child. One method is to work with an adoption attorney that represents adoptive families. Our office is in South Dakota, but we represent families across the U.S.
However you go about finding a family to work with, make sure that they adhere to the following guidelines - C.R.I.B.:
- Credibility – the people you are working with should have credibility.
- Respect – you should be treated with respect.
- Integrity – they should have integrity.
- Boundaries – boundaries should be developed and kept.
You are eligible to receive counseling throughout the adoption process. The Adoption Help Firm can help you find a counselor. Most states require some form of counseling before you may terminate your parental rights. A licensed counselor will help you make decisions and prepare a birth plan.
There is no cost to you for this counseling.
As a birth mother, you may request assistance for reasonable and necessary pregnancy-related expenses during your pregnancy. Eligible expenses include rent, utilities, telephone, food, maternity clothing, and medical bills for uninsured expenses or copayments & deductibles.
All living expenses must be reasonable and court approval is required. Any expenses paid without court approval may be prosecuted as a Class 6 felony.
We can help you legally request reasonable living expenses.
Learn more about the steps that are taken when you terminate your parental rights.
Each state has different time periods in which parental rights can be terminated. Once your rights have been terminated, you will no longer have any rights or obligations to the child and the child will no longer have any legal obligation to you.
After termination of parental rights, you shall retain no rights or privileges to have visitation or other contact with the child. The only exception is in cases of voluntary termination where there is a written pre-adoption agreement between you and the adoptive parents.
Our experience in over 20 years of doing adoptions is that these open adoption arrangements have worked well for both the birth mothers and adoptive couples.
A birth father, sometimes called a "putative father", is any person who claims to be the biological father or potential biological father of a child and whose paternity of the child has not been judicially determined.
If the biological father is unknown - or if his whereabouts are unknown - and if reasonable efforts to find him are unsuccessful, his paternal rights may be terminated by publication of notice in a newspaper. It is advisable for the birth father to be independently represented when his rights are going to be terminated. The adoptive couple will usually pay for his attorney unless he wants to contest the adoption.
Some states have a putative father registry. Men can register with this list if they want to be notified if they are named as a putative father.
Types of Adoption
Being informed about the types of adoption and the birth certificate process can make your adoption go more smoothly. The Adoption Help Firm is here to answer any and all of your questions.
In an open adoption birth parents can meet potential adoptive families before making the selection. Identifying information including names and addresses is exchanged.
One or both adoptive parent(s) may attend pre-natal visits, and/or be present at birth with the birth mother's permission. Birth parents may visit the adoptive parents’ home, and may gather as extended family members during special occasions and holidays. There can be direct correspondence, telephone contact, and meetings between birthparents, adoptive parents and the child.
It is important to keep in mind that the adoption of a child shall be final and unconditional. The natural parents of an adopted child shall retain no rights or privileges to have visitation or other contact with the child, except in cases of voluntary termination where there is a written pre-adoption agreement between the natural parent or parents and the adoptive parents. Visitation may be exercised only by the adoptive parents when in the child’s best interests.
The extent of interaction between birth parents and adoptive family and child is agreed to in advance.
Birth parents may request profile information to choose adoptive parents or may request a third party to choose the adoptive parents. No identifying information is disclosed or exchanged. There is no contact between the birth parents and adoptive parents once the baby is born and placed with them.
Semi-Open / semi-Closed Adoption
Semi-open / semi-closed adoptions are popular. This type is a customized blend that is created by the parties involved with a pre-agreed degree of contact. The birth mother usually establishes the guidelines by developing a birth plan.
The birth parents choose the adoptive family from a non-identifying profile. A third party mediates the contact between the parties before and after birth.
Adoptive parents may be present at the birth and may meet the birthparents before the birth. Post-placement contact is conducted through a third party. Adoptive parents often share the child’s pictures and letters with the birth parents and may provide video, images, and other media.
With respect to unmarried birth mothers, the name of the birth father can not be entered on the birth certificate without written consent of the birth father or upon judicial determination of the birth father.
Typically the mother’s surname (last name) shall be the legal surname of the child unless an affidavit of acknowledgment of paternity signed by both parents is received.
Once a child is legally adopted, his/her birth certificate will be re-issued and will reflect their new name and the adoptive parents’ names will be listed as the “birth parents.”
The original certificate and the adoption information is sealed when a new certificate is issued. It may only be opened upon order of a court or by the Secretary of Health for purposes of properly administering the vital registration system or once the child is 18 depending on the laws of that state.