The services we offer include the following:

Adoptive Parents
We guide adoptive parents through what can be a bewildering maze of adoption options and legal requirements.

If you are in the beginning stages of exploring adoption, we offer an extended, initial "options-exploring" conference at a reduced fee to help you understand and evaluate which options might best suit your situation.

If you already have identified a child you wish to adopt, we will help you determine and evaluate legal risks, assemble your professional team, and handle all legal aspects of the adoption. We work collaboratively with social workers, adoption counselors, private agencies, state and court administrators, and other attorneys to help create a seamless adoption process.

Whether you are adopting a child through a state agency, through a private agency, or independently -- and whether the child you hope to adopt was born in the U.S. or overseas -- we offer experienced, problem-solving legal representation.We take care of the legal and administrative aspects of your adoption so that you can focus on your child and your family.

We care about our adoption clients and bring a wealth of experience and understanding to the legal services we offer in a wide variety of
settings.

Birth Parents
We are privileged to represent birth parents at all stages of the adoption process. Through our experience with birth parents we have developed a profound admiration, appreciation, and deep respect for the courage, generosity, and grace that birth mothers and birth fathers bring to adoption.

We provide respectful and reliable legal representation to birth parents who are interested in exploring their adoption options, who have decided to place their child for adoption, and/or who are negotiating an open adoption agreement. We explain and guide birth parents through all aspects of the adoption process to help them make decisions that are best for them and their future relationships. We work collaboratively with adoptive parents and other involved professionals to see that the rights and wishes of birth parents are respected and to ensure that birth parents receive the care and resources they need and deserve. In most cases our services are paid for by adoptive parents at no cost to birth parents.

Step-Parent and Second-Parent Adoptions
Many states, including Oregon and Washington, allow a person to adopt his or her partner's biological or adopted child without terminating the parental rights or status of the partner/biological parent. The adopting second parent may be married to the partner/biological parent (commonly referred to as a "step-parent adoption"), but marriage is not required in Oregon or Washington. Not only married couples, but unmarried couples, same-sex couples, and couples (married or unmarried) who have a child by artificial insemination, gestational or traditional surrogacy, or donor oocyte, may qualify for second-parent adoption.

In addition to the strong emotional reasons that often motivate a second-parent adoption, there also are a number of practical benefits. Please see our PDF handout, "Benefits of a Second-Parent Adoption," for a partial list. Also, although Oregon's domestic partnership law, the Family Fairness Act, may make it technically unnecessary for some same-sex couples to adopt each other's children, we strongly recommend that they do so anyway, in order to legally protect the parental relationship in all states and for purposes of federal law. This is more fully explained in our PDF handout, "Why Registered Oregon Same-Sex Couples Should Consider Adopting Anyway."

Although conceptually simple, second-parent adoptions can be legally complex. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee to help clients assess the viability of a second-parent adoption in their specific situation. In many cases, where the other parent is willing to consent to the adoption, we can provide all second-parent adoption legal services for a low flat fee. In any event, it's always our goal to provide you with a finalized second-parent adoption as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

Adult Adoptions
Sometimes one adult wishes to adopt another adult in order to legalize a long-standing emotional, step-parent, or other care-taking relationship, or to create inheritance rights. As with step-parent adoptions, all persons contemplating an adult adoption should be informed of and thoroughly consider the legal requirements and consequences before proceeding. Typically, we can obtain an adult adoption quickly and for a low flat fee. Let us help you understand what is involved in adult adoption and determine whether your circumstances would allow a speedy and inexpensive procedure.

Surrogacy and ART Adoptions
Often, establishing legal parentage following a surrogacy birth is accomplished by way of adoption. In some jurisdictions and for some forms of surrogacy (notably traditional surrogacy), adoption is the only method to establish the legal parentage of both intended parents. The idea of having to adopt one's own biological child may seem absurd to some intended parents but there are benefits to adoption: Court documents and records generally are confidential and sealed, and an adoption judgment issued by a court in one state generally must be honored in all states. If you are expanding your family by way of surrogacy, we can help you understand and assess the options available to you to make certain that your names are on your child's birth certificate. Please see our Surrogacy and ART pages for more information about our services in this regard.

Services to Adoption Agencies
We have formed Adoption Agency Legal Group in order to provide a broad range of legal services to adoption agencies across the U.S. Thanks to our considerable background in litigation, our focus is on risk management and risk avoidance for adoption agencies. We work actively with agencies to develop forms, contracts, policies and procedures designed to help reduce exposure to legal risks.

We are honored to serve as general legal counsel to several adoption agencies, and are available on short notice to provide advice and assistance to those agencies on a wide array of legal issues. Other agencies prefer to seek legal assistance on a more limited basis, with regard to specific issues or challenges.

In response to federal regulation implementing the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, we have developed a comprehensive multi-volume Hague Accreditation Assistance Manual, which has helped intercountry adoption agencies across the U.S. become Hague accredited. We continue to offer Hague-related advice and support to adoption agencies.

Mediation Services
Mediation can play an important role in developing and maintaining the clear communication essential to an effective open adoption or surrogacy process. Parties may wish to mediate issues concerning continuing contact and communication after adoption (i.e., "open adoption"). There may be an issue or dispute between a birth parent or adopting parent and a state or private agency. Intended parents and their surrogate may find it helpful to mediate issues regarding prenatal care or interpretation of their contract.

Adoption and surrogacy often involve strong feelings in the context of an ongoing collaborative relationship -- exactly the setting where mediation can be most helpful. Mediation can be used to help clarify needs and expectations even when there is no dispute or disagreement. Mediation protects the relationship and searches for resolutions that work for everyone.

We are familiar with the emotional and practical issues that can arise in the context of adoption and surrogacy. Having mediated over 100 cases of all kinds, we are trained and experienced in mediation theory and practice. More information about our mediation philosophy and services can be found on our mediation pages.

Fees


Free Initial Telephone Conference
We treat our clients and prospective clients as we would like to be treated. Among other things, this means that we think a prospective client should be able to talk with an attorney before committing to hire that attorney. Therefore, we offer potential clients a 15-minute telephone conference at no charge or commitment, in order to explore preliminary questions, issues, and potential costs and fees. If, at the end of that conference, we determine to work together, we will do so on a fee basis that is mutually agreeable and in writing. Please feel free to call to schedule your initial free telephone conference.

Reduced Rate Introductory Office Conference
We also offer new and prospective clients an initial one-hour office conference at a substantially reduced rate. This reduced-rate conference is appreciated by clients who are just beginning to explore their adoption options, by those who would like more detailed information about the adoption process, and by those who would like an initial evaluation regarding potential legal obstacles to a proposed adoption. If such a reduced-rate conference would be helpful to you, please call to schedule.

Flat Fees
A flat fee is an agreement between client and attorney that legal services will cost a specific amount, regardless of the time spent by the attorney. Clients often prefer the certainty afforded by a flat fee. We can provide many of the following services on a flat-fee basis: birth parent evaluation, birth parent representation in a private adoption, agency adoption, step-parent or second-parent adoption, intercountry re-adoption. Please call to determine whether a flat fee would be appropriate or beneficial in your situation.

Hourly Rates
Some kinds of adoptions -- notably private adoptions and those in which one legal parent has not consented to the adoption -- are typically billed on an hourly basis. We strive to keep our overhead low so that our hourly rates can remain fair and competitive. And, as the next section explains, our hourly rate is inclusive. Our expenses of doing business are included in our hourly rates, not passed on to you as "additional costs." Please call for our current rates.

What is Included
Unlike many attorneys, we do not charge extra for secretarial time, faxes, copies, postage, and long distance telephone. These costs are included in our flat fee and hourly rates. Some extraordinary postage or long distance costs may be billed to the client, and out of pocket costs to third parties like government fees, court fees, etc., are not included, and must be paid by the client.

Adjustments
The procedures, fees and hourly rates set forth in this website are subject to change without further notice. The actual procedures, rates and fees applicable to any particular client are those set forth in the written Attorney Employment Agreement. Until we and the client have signed a written Attorney Employment Agreement, there is no attorney-client relationship and no agreement regarding fees.