The question of legal representation in an adoption can get a bit tricky. Regardless of how an expectant parent finds an adoptive family, it’s the adoptive parents who will pay for all of the adoption professionals involved. The adoptive parents will usually have their own attorney and they may also have hired an adoption agency and/or a facilitator. However, in the majority of adoptions in this country, the expectant mother is the only one not represented by her own attorney!
Unfortunately, only a handful of states require that the birth mothers be separately represented or at least be offered separate representation.
In each of those states, the adoptive parents are the ones responsible for payment of her attorney’s fees. It is crucial for a birth mother to fully understand the legal process and to have an opportunity to ask questions about each step of the process. This legal advice should be coming from her own attorney, not from the adoptive parents attorney or a social worker! While adoption is definitely a collaborative effort between adoptive parents and the birth mother, it’s essential that all parties be fully informed of their rights and have their own advocate. An expectant parent should only work with adoption professionals who encourage her to work with her own attorney.