When you're starting into the adoption process, there are lots of things to think about and decisions to make. Here's a checklist of some of the steps to take and things you'll want to discuss with your attorney:
If it's a private adoption, have you already made promises and commitments to the birthparent, such as payment of specific bills or contact on a particular schedule? If so, it's important to make sure your lawyer knows the details.
If you're working through an agency on an adoption in another state or an international adoption, ask the agency whether they have an attorney in the child's location who is processing the local paperwork. Has the agency worked with the attorney in the past and been satisfied with his or her performance?
Come to an agreement on attorney's fees early in the process, and get the agreement in writing. Be clear about who pays what costs and the exact hourly rate your attorney is charging you.
Try to determine the costs of agency services and paperwork processing in international adoptions as soon as possible, so that you can plan to have the money available when you need it.
If you're adopting a child from another country, find out whether the attorney also handles immigration matters. If not, you'll need to find an additional attorney who specializes in immigration as well.
Sign up for a home study as soon as you find out you'll need one, as there is often a waiting list.