Nicole Peck McPhee - Attorney At Law | (802)-775-4845

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Our adoption practice includes, but is not limited to:
  • Representation of Biological Parent(s)
  • Representation of Adoptive Parent(s)
  • Private Placement Adoptions
  • Counseling of Biological Parent(s) on the Benefits and Consequences of Open and Closed Adoptions
  • Helping Biological Parent(s) Locate Suitable Adoptive Parents
  • Step-Parent , Grandparent and Family Member Adoptions

What Is Adoption?

Adoption is a process which ends the parental rights of the parents and makes the adoptive parent the legal parent. An adoptive parent will receive a court order and the child's new birth certificate, naming the adoptive parent as the parent.

What Is a Private Placement Adoption?

There are several types of adoptions. One kind is where the child is taken from the parents by a state agency. The child is put into foster care. A foster care agency is involved and, after a period of time, the child is adopted by the foster parents.

There are two types of private placement adoptions. One is where a parent surrenders his or her child, usually when the child is a baby, to person(s) who wish to adopt the child.

The other kind of private placement adoption occurs when a parent is having problems, and grandparents, aunts or uncles, siblings or close family friends agree to take care of the child(ren) outside of the foster care system. After a while, the person caring for the child may decide to adopt the child. A private placement adoption also occurs when a parent has died and another family member chooses to adopt the child or where a step-parent chooses to adopt his or her step-child.

In a private placement adoption, an agreement is reached between the child's biological parents and the person(s) who wishes to adopt the child. The adoptive parent or parents must be "pre-certified" (approved) to take temporary custody of the child while the court decides if he or she is a suitable parent(s).

The court requires the adoptive parent(s) to submit a number of documents, including an adoption petition, marriage records, if any, and a report following an investigation of the adoptive parent's home.

Before the adoption petition can be granted the parental rights of the biological parents have to be terminated. When the termination is voluntary the termination is accomplished by executing a Consent to Adoption before the Probate Judge. When the termination is involuntary a parental termination petition and hearing is required before the a court will terminate the parent(s) rights.

If the parent or parents' parental rights are terminated and the court finds that the adoptive parent or parents are able to provide for the child's proper care and support, the court approves the adoption.

What Is the Legal Effect of Parental Termination and Adoption?

Once the parental termination is finalized ALL of the biological parent(s) rights and responsibilities to the child are extinguished.

Once an adoption is approved by the court, the adoptive parent or parents are considered to be the child's legal parents, with all of the rights and obligations of biological parents.

How Long After Biological Parent(s) Terminate Their Parental Rights Do They Have to Change Their Mind?

Except for consents obtained by fraud or duress, in Vermont biological parent(s) can revoke their consent(s) by notifying the court in writing within 21 days after they execute the consent(s) that they wish to revoke their consent. Failure of the Parent(s) to revoke the consent within the 21 days terminates any right the parent(s) have to the child and to object to the child's adoption by the prospective adoptive parent(s).

What Is The Difference Between Closed & Open Adoptions?

Basically there are two types of private placement adoptions: closed and open adoptions.

A Closed adoption is when the adoptive parents and the birth parents do not have any information about each other. They can meet face to face, but neither one knows names or addresses of the other.

With an Open Adoption, the adoptive parents meet and know the birth mother and in some cases they even exchange detailed information. The adoptive parents and birth parents can agree to terms as to how long if any there will be communication between the adoptive parents and birth parents, as well as how frequently letters and photographs will be exchanged.

Can the Adoptive Parent(s) be there for the birth of the baby?

This all depends on the birth mother. The birth mother has the right to determine whether the adoptive parent(s) are present for the delivery and if they can have contact with the child at the hospital. Generally adoptive parents do have contact with the child prior to discharge from the hospital.

What Expenses Can the Adoptive Parent(s) Pay On Behalf of the Biological Parents?

15A V.S.A. § 7-103 controls what payments are lawful payments related to adoption.

§ 7-103. Lawful payments related to adoption.

(a) Subject to the requirements of sections 3-702 and 3-703 of this title for an accounting and judicial approval of fees and charges related to an adoption, an adoptive parent, or a person acting on behalf of an adoptive parent, may pay the reasonable and actual fee or charge for:

(1) the services of an agency in connection with an adoption;

(2) medical, hospital, nursing, pharmaceutical, or other similar expenses incurred by a mother or her minor child in connection with prenatal care or the birth or any illness of the minor;

(3) counseling services for a parent or a minor for a reasonable time before and after the minor's placement for adoption;

(4) living expenses of a mother for a reasonable time before the birth of her child and for no more than six weeks after the birth;

(5) expenses incurred in ascertaining the information required by section 2-105 of this title;

(6) expenses incurred for legal services, court costs, and other administrative expenses connected with an adoption, including any legal services performed for a parent who consents to the adoption of a minor or relinquishes the minor to an agency;

(7) transportation for services provided under subdivision (2), (3), or (6) of this subsection;

(8) expenses incurred in obtaining a preplacement evaluation and an evaluation during the proceeding for adoption; and

(9) any other service or expense the court finds is reasonable and necessary.

(b) A parent or a guardian, a person acting on the parent's or guardian's behalf, or a provider of a service listed in subsection (a) of this section, may receive or accept a payment authorized by subsection (a). The payment may not be made contingent on the placement of a minor for adoption, relinquishment of the minor, or consent to the adoption. If the adoption is not completed, a person who is authorized to make a specific payment by subsection (a) is not liable for that payment unless the person has agreed in a signed writing with a provider of a service to make the payment regardless of the outcome of the proceeding for adoption. If the adoption is not completed, an adoptive parent is liable only for agreed upon expenses which are permitted under this section and were incurred prior to the termination of the adoption process.

(c) Except for the expenses authorized by subdivisions (a)(4) and (a)(7) of this section, no payments as authorized in subsection (a) shall be paid directly to a parent without prior court approval, but instead will be paid to service providers or to an agency.

DISCLAIMER: Any information and/or materials contained on this website has been prepared to provide accurate information relating to the subject matter but, neither Nicole Peck McPhee, Esq., nor the law firm of Nicole Peck McPhee, P.C, are rendering legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is required, you should engage the law firm. This website and any material contained therein does not create an attorney-client relationship or protect any confidential information that you may convey to Nicole Peck McPhee, Esq. or Nicole Peck McPhee, P.C. via their e-mail addresses until a written engagement is signed between Nicole Peck McPhee, P.C., Nicole Peck McPhee, Esq. and you, as the client.


McPhee Law - 405 Curtis Brook Rd, Rutland, VT 05701
Phone (802)-775-4845 - Fax (802)-773-4935