Private, Interstate Adoption (2010)
The biological mother had more than 5 children removed from her custody and she knew this child would be too. She didn’t even know who the father was. And her good friend was willing to adopt the child before the child was even born. But Mom was on the East Coast and the adoptive parents in Stevens County. This meant the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (RCW 26.34) would apply, as well as the “normal” rules associated with adoptions and terminating or relinquishing parental rights that are found in RCW 26.33, Washington’s adoption statute. This would be an “open” adoption and the goal was to have everything in place so the adoptive parents could take the child home from the hospital after the birth. However, the child protective agency for the state of the birth was watching the biological mother closely and if they took legal custody of the child at birth the adoption would change from a “private adoption” to an “agency adoption”, which is much more complicated.
Fortunately, I was able to find and work with an adoption attorney in the child’s birth state, whose services were paid (as were mine) by the adoptive parents. Fortunately, the adoptive parents were able to begin caring for the child immediately after birth. Unfortunately, the adoptive parents had to remain with the child on the East Coast while that state completed background checks that were heavily backlogged and delayed. Unfortunately, the entire cost of the adoption far exceeded a “normal” adoption because of the complications of the Interstate Compact, the cost of searching for the biological father to terminate his parental rights (a prerequisite to adoption where the mother consents) and the threat of state agency involvement. Despite the complications and cost, the adoption was finalized in a matter of months and a new family created for a fortunate child born to unfortunate circumstances.