Jessica C. Graves, Owner, 1760 E. River Rd. #191, Tucson, AZ 85718, 520.468.3838 - Hablamos Español

Thinking About Adoption

If you have an unplanned pregnancy and don’t know what to do, Jessica can be your source of support and advocacy, as well as somebody who will listen empathetically. If you are contemplating adoption, it is important that you gather as much information as possible about the process. Jessica can explain your rights under Arizona law, as well as explain the adoption process. She can be there as you make the decision that is best for you and your family, whether that is placing your child for adoption or parenting. If you have decided that adoption would be best for you and the child, then Jessica can help you through the adoption process.

Jessica has worked exclusively with birth mothers and adoptions since she began practicing law, so she understands just how emotional of a decision it is to place your child.

During your first meeting, Jessica will explain the adoption process and your rights as a birth parent. This meeting is entirely free. Attending the meeting in no way means you are obligated to place your child for adoption.

In fact, under Arizona law, a birth parent cannot consent to the adoption of his or her child until at least seventy-two (72) hours or three (3) days after the child is born. However, once you consent to the adoption of the child, your consent becomes irrevocable, meaning you cannot take back your decision unless you prove to a judge that you signed the documents under fraud (you were deceived), duress (you were pressured), or undue influence (bribery, for example).  Therefore, it is critical that you be absolutely certain at the time of signing that adoption is what you want for your child.

Is Adoption Expensive?

In general, birth parents do not pay for the adoption process. The legal fees and other fees are covered by the prospective adoptions.

Finding Adoptive Parents

If you already have adoptive parents in mind such as a family, friend, or somebody else you know, it is a good idea to contact Jessica to see what steps would need to be taken for placement with your selected adoptive parent(s).

If you do not have adoptive parents selected, Jessica can help connect you with adoption professionals who help in the search and selection of adoptive parents. You would be able to select the adoptive parents yourself based entirely on your own preferences (single parent, two parents, LGBT families, religious background, other children, etc.). You can choose from families in Arizona (Christian Family Care, Catholic Social Services, Oasis) or even choose families living in other states (American Adoptions).

Open vs. Closed Adoptions

In Arizona, birth parents can request contact with the child after the adoption. It is entirely up to the birth parent as to whether he or she wants contact with the adoptive parents (“open adoption") or not (“closed adoption”). It is also up to the birth parents as to how much contact they would like following the adoption. Contact may range from letters and photos to phone calls, video calls, and even visits. The amount of contact will depend entirely on the birth parents' and adoptive parents’ agreement.

Support During Pregnancy

It is so important that you find a group of adoption professionals who you trust and who can support your decision, whatever your decision may be. This may include your adoption lawyer, your social worker, your counselor, and even your hospital. Making the difficult decision to place your child for adoption should be done with the support of those surrounding you. If, at any point during your adoption process, you feel uncomfortable with one of these individuals, it is important to let somebody know. Contact an adoption attorney to make sure your rights and your wishes are being heard.

In Arizona, a birth mother may receive up to $1,000 in living expenses without a court order, as long as the expenses are reasonable. If the reasonable living expense request is more than $1,000, then you would need to ask a judge to approve the expenses. Expenses may include items such as rent, utilities, and transportation.

The Birth Father

In Arizona, it is a requirement to provide notice of the adoption to a birth father, even if he is unknown. However, birth mothers may still proceed with their adoption decision if you are unsure about the birth father’s identity. Birth mothers can also proceed with their adoption decisions even if the birth father is not supportive of your decision to place your child for adoption. Because Arizona law requires that the birth father be noticed of the adoption, before or after the child’s birth, it is important that you are honest about the birth father’s identity. The only way to ensure that an adoption is handled legally and ethically under Arizona’s laws is by having all of the information related to the birth father.

Placing a Child for Adoption

The actual document that places your child for adoption is a “consent”, which is an agreement that you sign agreeing to the placement of the child with the adoptive parents or adoption agency and relinquishing your parental rights to the child. You are giving your irrevocable permission to place the child for adoption with adoptive parents or with an adoption agency.

The Relinquishment and Consent

In Arizona, birth parents cannot relinquish their parental rights and consent to the child’s adoption before the child is born. Arizona birth parents must wait at least 72 hours after the child’s birth to consent to the adoption of their child. Birth parents do not need to sign right at the 72 hours. Instead, birth parents may take as much time as they need, as it is an incredibly difficult and emotional decision. The consent will be a written document signed in front of two witnesses or acknowledged by a notary public.

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