Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption
Below are some frequently asked questions we have encountered.
As a private adoption service, Gene Kelley has established a time-tested advertising and networking program that brings prospective adopting parents and birth parents together. A private adoption can eliminate long waits for birth parents and a lot of uncertainty and concern for birth mothers.
Our program is based on speed and service. We place a baby every eight to nine days. We advertise in more Yellow Page directories than any other adoption agency or adoption attorney in the state of Arkansas. During the past 35 years, Gene has helped more than 900 families adopt children. More than 80 percent of these families adopted within the first year.
Our firm is also recommended in the best-selling adoption book Adopting in America by Randall B. Hicks. Look for it on page 165. His book is subtitled “How to Adopt Within One Year” and gives a description of our services. He endorses the leading adoption service in each state, and we are recommended as a recognized adoption attorney in Arkansas. Our firm is also recommended in the book Adoption: Insights, Inspiration & Information by Mary E. Fitzpatrick, M.Ed., Paralegal.
In Arkansas, a birth mother may give up her parental rights before the baby’s birth. After the child is born and the court documents are filed, she has 5 days to change her mind. On the 6th day the adoption is final. The birth mother cannot revoke her consent unless she was tricked by fraud or deceit. Many states require a longer waiting period – often as long as 30, 60, or 90 days – which can be difficult for adopting parents.
You can adopt in Arkansas if either the birth mother or the adopting parents are residents of the state. The birth father must register with the state before the adoption. Otherwise, he has no rights. If the birth mother is married, we must have the written consent of the husband. This is true even if he is not the father of the child.
Arkansas Adoption Services is part of the Kelley Law Firm. Joye Kelley, our office manager, helps Gene provide excellent service to our birth mothers and adopting couples.
Our firm has certain requirements of the adopting couple. We are looking for friendly, outgoing couples who are willing to share pictures and/or videos and have good communication skills. Adopting couples have to be able to deal with emotional ups and downs and can handle unexpected birth mother expenses. They also have to trust us and our judgment and the judgment of our local doctors during stressful times. In some instances the birth mother will request a couple that will consider an open adoption.
Based on 35 years of experience, I have discovered that it is important to have a wide variety of adopting couples because the success of an adoption depends on matching the right adopting parents with the right birth mother. Even though a couple may be very impressive, they might not fit into the program because we have an over abundance of couples with similar qualities and adoption preferences. Most birth mothers are not structured people and dealing with them requires a great deal of flexibility. Therefore, our office can only work with flexible and understanding adopting parents. This requirement cannot be overstated.
Usually, we work with 18 to 25 families that are in the search phase. By working with relatively few families, we can develop a personal relationship with our clients and be more sensitive to their individual needs. After all, the better we know you, the easier it is to connect you with the right birth mother.
To learn more about the adoption process, we offer an initial three-hour informational conference. The prepaid fee for this conference is $500.00. If you decide to go forward with our adoption services, this fee will be credited to the adoption program selected by you. To start and schedule your three-hour conference, please click here
The state of Arkansas requires a home study for the adopting couple. You may select an approved agency, psychiatrist, psychologist, or a licensed social worker to do the required home study. The state of Arkansas requires that the adopting parents’ fingerprints be cleared by the Arkansas State Police and the FBI if they have been a resident for less than six years. This procedures takes two to three weeks and costs approximately $60.00 per person. Our office assists in this procedure for Arkansas residents. Residents of other states will need assistance from their home-study provider.
We will help you adopt through advertisements in telephone Yellow Pages in about 50 communities in the state, numerous word-of-mouth referrals based on my reputation as an adoption attorney, and a newspaper advertising network. We place and monitor all advertising. We also select and screen birth mothers to ensure their suitability. Then we help locate and select a doctor and a hospital as well as find lodging for the adopting couple for their stay in Arkansas. We provide pictures to the birth mother and help with any other needs of the birth mother and the adopting couple. To accomplish all of this requires close coordination between the adopting couple, the birth mother and our staff.
No. Our program is set up for the adopting couples and the adopting couples on a networking basis. Gene does the outreach and screening of birth mothers for his clients. Through a great network of advertising and word-of-mouth referrals, we receive three to four calls from prospective birth mothers every week.
Birth mothers respond to our advertising by talking either directly to the couple or to Gene. A “Dear Birth Mother” letter will be given directly to our birth mothers and will help them learn a little about you and your lifestyle. If a birth mother feels comfortable with your family, we encourage her to talk to you on the telephone. Then a face-to-face visit is arranged before anyone makes a commitment.
For adoption to be stress-free, all of you must be excited about each other. Adoption is a mutual decision – both the birth mother and the adopting family must be happy with the arrangement. We encourage you to pass on a situation that is not quite right for you. If you decide not to work with the birth mother even after meeting her, we will, of course, continue assisting you with the matching process.
The next step would be to meet the birth mother. We feel that speaking in person is a very important step in the adoption process. If both parties are interested in proceeding, we will arrange for the birth mother to have a medical screening, which will include drug and HIV testing. We will also structure a financial plan which will address her financial support and medical bills.
Gene represents the adopting family. Our adoptions are finalized solely under the laws of the state of Arkansas. Gene is a licensed attorney with more than 35 years of experience with adoptions, and he will take care of all the legal aspects of the Arkansas adoption. If a second attorney is required because the birth mother needs representation, Gene can make recommendations for a qualified independent local attorney.