Adoption can be one of the most rewarding experiences for couples or single parents. Adopted children enrich the families they join in so many ways, and the joy of successfully completing the adoption process and welcoming a new member into the family is beyond compare. Adopting a child is wrought with challenges, however, and it is important to have an experienced family law attorney by your side to skillfully guide you through the process.

At Law Offices of Tina Sharma, we are passionate about helping families grow through the adoption process. Our founder, attorney Tina Sharma, adopted her son from India, and she has first-hand knowledge of the common issues involved with both inter-country and domestic adoptions. Our firm has in-depth experience not only with the local family courts in and around Washington D.C., but also with the complexities involved when adoption and immigration law intersect.


Types of Adoption

There are several different circumstances under which an adoption can occur. These include:

  • Domestic Adoptions
  • Independent Adoptions
  • Agency Adoptions
  • Interstate Adoptions
  • Inter-Country Adoptions
  • Open Adoptions
  • Relative Adoptions
  • Stepparent Adoptions
  • Co-Parent (two unmarried individual) Adoptions
  • Foster Parent Adoptions
  • Adult Adoptions

Most adoptions are not contested. However, there are instances when the adoption (or some issues therein) are contested. Whichever the case, the rights of the biological parent(s), adoptive parent(s) and the child must all be addressed, and the best interest of the child is always the primary consideration.

Local Adoptions

Because there is usually only one jurisdiction involved, local family court adoptions are the simplest and easiest to complete. To be eligible, you must be 21 years of age or older, have sufficient financial resources, and complete a home study that includes an extensive background check. In the District of Columbia, you are also required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of training. The overall domestic adoption process can take anywhere from several months to a year or longer to complete. This depends largely on the type of adoption you are doing. For example, if you are going through an agency, you may have an extended waiting period to be matched with a child. On the other hand, if you already know the child you want to adopt (as with a relative adoption, stepparent adoption, or independent “direct placement” adoption), the process can be faster.

Inter-Country Adoptions

Adopting internationally is far more complex than going through domestic channels because there are multiple jurisdictions and numerous governing laws, regulations, and even an international treaty. The U.S. is one of roughly 90 countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. There are also several other countries that have not yet signed on to the Hague Convention. When adopting from another Hague Convention signatory, adoptive parents must go through a Hague-accredited adoption agency and comply fully with all Hague procedures. If adopting from a non-Hague signatory, there are different sets of requirements and the process is still quite complicated.

At Law Offices of Tina Sharma, our practice is focused exclusively on immigration and family law. Our extensive knowledge of how these two areas of law intertwine (and how the law is practically applied) gives us unique insights for prospective adoptive parents, particularly those who want to adopt a child from another country. It is our goal to help you avoid the common adoption pitfalls and ensure the legal process is as smooth and seamless as possible. If you are considering adopting either domestically or internationally, contact our office today at (202) 329-6556 for a personalized consultation. We will conduct an extensive assessment of your needs and goals and review all your available options.

Law Offices of Tina Sharma provides skilled representation for all types of adoptions in the Washington, D.C. metro area and Maryland; including the communities of Rockville, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, College Park, Germantown, Frederick, Hyattsville, Bowie, Annapolis, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.


What happens if my stepchild's biological parent contests the adoption

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