Adopting a Baby in South Carolina through Domestic Infant Adoption
Adopting a baby in South Carolina can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of a lifetime, but it may also seem like an overwhelming, legally and emotionally complex process. With the right adoption attorney by your side, you will not only have the legal representation you need — you will also have a supportive friend you can count on throughout the South Carolina adoption process.
With more than 30 years of experience and an exclusive focus on adoption law, Rick Corley has helped hundreds of hopeful parents add to their families through domestic infant adoption. Whether you are a South Carolina resident adopting privately within the state, or an out-of-state couple adopting a baby through an agency, read on to learn how Rick’s adoption knowledge and commitment to his clients can benefit your family.
Newborn Adoption Services
Whether you are pursuing independent adoption or are looking for an attorney to finalize your agency adoption, Rick Corley offers all of the advice, education and legal expertise you need to successfully adopt your baby in South Carolina. Rick provides all of the legal services you need through each step of the adoption process, including:
- Consultation and case management: Rick will provide an initial consultation to determine your adoption goals, discuss your options and gather the information he needs to open your case. He will continue to work closely with you throughout the adoption process to ensure each step is completed according to South Carolina adoption laws.
- Help finding an adoption opportunity: If you have not already found a prospective birth mother to adopt from, Rick can give you the advice you need to find an adoption opportunity on your own or refer you to an adoption agency that can provide matching services.
- Completion of adoption paperwork: Rick will complete and file with the court all of the necessary paperwork to legally complete your adoption, including affidavits, a copy of your home study, an accounting of adoption expenses, and more.
- Termination of parental rights: When an expectant mother makes an adoption plan for her baby, she must legally consent to have her parental rights terminated. Rick will coordinate with a social worker or another attorney to obtain the necessary consents from the birth mother when the baby is born.
- Finalization of the adoption: Following your baby’s birth and a brief post-placement supervision period, Rick will coordinate and attend your final adoption hearing, where you will be granted an adoption decree and will legally have adopted your baby.
- Application for a new birth certificate: Once you have been granted the final adoption decree, Rick can work with you to obtain a new birth certificate under your child’s new name, which will list you as his or her legal parents.
Interstate Adoption Services
Rick Corley partners with national agencies like American Adoptions to finalize adoptions for out-of-state couples who are adopting babies from South Carolina. If you are adopting across state lines, Rick can ensure your adoption is completed according to all South Carolina and federal adoption laws.
Because of certain South Carolina adoption laws, the interstate adoption process involves some additional important legal steps. In addition to the above legal services required in every domestic infant adoption, Rick provides the following services to couples adopting across state lines:
Obtaining an order allowing adoption by nonresidents of the state
State laws limit adoption in South Carolina to state residents. Rick will work with you and a South Carolina judge to grant an exception that will allow you to adopt a baby in South Carolina.
Complying with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
ICPC is an agreement between all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands that facilitates interstate adoption placements. Any family that adopts across state lines must comply with ICPC to ensure the child they are adopting is going to a safe and suitable home.
To complete the ICPC process, officials in your baby’s birth state and in your home state must review and approve all of the adoption paperwork. You will need to remain in South Carolina during this review process, which generally takes about two or three weeks. If you fail to comply with ICPC and return to your home state before receiving ICPC approval, your adoption could be jeopardized.
Rick is an expert in ICPC adoptions and can provide more information about how ICPC might apply in your case. He will complete all of the work necessary to obtain ICPC approval, coordinating with the ICPC office in South Carolina and in your home state and notifying you when you have been approved to return home with your baby.
How to Adopt a Baby in South Carolina
Domestic adoption, sometimes also called private adoption or infant adoption, is the adoption of a newborn baby who has been voluntarily placed by his or her birth parents for adoption in the United States. For unmarried individuals, same-sex couples, and those struggling with infertility, this form of adoption can be a wonderful way to build a family and experience parenthood.
The following is how to adopt a baby in South Carolina legally, safely and ethically:
1. Decide to pursue adoption: Adoption is a significant commitment of time, emotion and finances. Before beginning the adoption process, you may want to contact Rick to learn more about adoption and to discuss your goals and needs throughout the process.
2. Complete the adoption home study: Every family adopting in South Carolina must complete a home study that meets certain state requirements. Rick can refer you to a licensed South Carolina home study provider to ensure you are fully prepared to adopt.
3. Find an adoption opportunity: If you haven’t found an adoption opportunity with a birth mother already, you may create an adoptive family profile and advertise to prospective birth parents that you are waiting to adopt. Rick can advise you about South Carolina adoption advertising laws or refer you to one of his partner adoption agencies for help with this process.
4. Get to know the birth mother: When a woman decides she wants you to adopt her baby, you may have an opportunity to get to know her, depending on the type of relationship she wants to have with you. You may communicate directly with her or work with an adoption agency or social worker for contact mediation during her pregnancy.
5. Meet your baby: When it is time for the baby to be born, you will travel to the hospital to meet him or her. The mother will have a hospital plan in place, so you will know exactly what to expect when the big day arrives. Before the prospective birth mother is discharged from the hospital, she will sign her legal consent to the adoption, and you will be able to leave the hospital with your baby. However, if you are adopting across state lines, you will need to remain in South Carolina until Rick notifies you that you have received ICPC approval to return home.
6. Complete post-placement requirements: Before your adoption can be finalized, you will need to complete a post-placement study. After placement, a caseworker will contact you about once a month until the final adoption hearing.
7. Finalize the adoption: About 90 days after you return home with your baby, you will attend a court hearing in South Carolina to legally finalize the adoption. Rick will notify you of your hearing date and will be there with you to celebrate the successful completion of your adoption.
Adoption is a complex legal process. Whether you are adopting through an agency or independently, you will need to work with an experienced adoption attorney who is familiar with state laws and adoption processes to ensure your adoption is completed safely and legally.
If you have questions about adopting a baby in South Carolina, how to adopt a baby, or if you are ready to get started on your own adoption journey, contact Rick today to schedule a consultation.