3 Facts About Surrogacy

Call one of our Alabama Surrogacy Attorneys today at 205-582-2832

Call one of our Alabama Surrogacy Attorneys today at 205-582-2832

Surrogacy. It sounds foreign to most. The main reason why? Alabama hasn’t accepted it yet. I know, shocking, right? Alabama is behind on yet another legal front? Yes, we’re really behind. We’re moving slow as molasses. BLESS.OUR.HEART. That being said, surrogacy may not be something that many people know of as an option because it isn’t extremely common in these parts. Parents who are having difficulties having a baby and difficulty adopting, may want to know about this option. Here are a few things about surrogacy you may want to know:

  1. There are different types of surrogacy. In one instance both (the intended) parents donate their genetic material to make a baby and the surrogate is only carrying the baby of those parents. In another, the father donates his sperm and the surrogate is providing her genetic material to make the baby. Depending on the type of surrogacy, you’ll need a different plan of action. You want to make sure to contact an attorney BEFORE you begin the process. Otherwise, you may end up in a situation, like many people in other states, who have a surrogate on the loose with YOUR baby.
  2. There are no laws on this matter in this state. Many lawyers don’t even know how to move forward with a surrogacy because there are no guidelines laid out. Lawyers have to be creative and move forward. In essence, they have to create their own law interpreted by what is written out in black and white on other subjects related to surrogacy such as paternity, maternity, and adoption. The good thing about having a lawyer is that we know how to look in the gray. We find a way to get your end result even if the legislature hasn’t caught up to your needs… which brings me to the point that… it doesn’t mean you cannot take advantage of the theory or idea of surrogacy as long as you have a good attorney.
  3. You’ll need a good contract. The contract needs to take care of all legal mishaps that could happen. You need a lawyer who has read the news articles on issues that have arisen in other states. You need a lawyer who knows the absolute worst case scenario. You never know if your surrogate has a past. A baby is a precious thing, and trusting someone to carry your baby during the development of their life is a hard task. Having a document that states in black and white what you’re providing and what you expect the surrogate to provide (a warm healthy womb for your baby) is not just a safety net… it’s a necessity. You need to look at all current and future costs associated with carrying and recovering from childbirth. Tis not the time to be trustworthy. Tis the time to think of the possibility of a surrogate who tricks you into thinking she’s Mary Poppins, while in reality she’s a serial killer who secretly got pregnant by her boyfriend on a conjugal visit, convinced you it was your baby with your husband, took your money, and started a drug trading business with it. Then she flees to Mexico before you even realize what’s happening. If you can think of all of those crazy misfortunes, your lawyer can handle the contract just fine. If you can’t, we will think of those crazy misfortunes for you, handle the contract, and you’ll never have to worry about it.

Birmingham Adoption Attorneys: 5 Things You Can Do To Celebrate Your Adoption!

When people find out that they cannot have children of their own, they’re typically heartbroken/stricken/ extremely upset because of the shocking fact that they are missing out on one of life’s many gifts. Although they will never have to experience feeling like a whale, the extreme discomforts of pregnancy like gas, mood swings, and peeing every fifteen minutes, they only focus on the good they’re missing out on. It’s the pain and hurt of not being able to have their own child that stops them from seeing what they can celebrate instead. If they choose adoption, they may not be on the beaten path, but they can still experience extreme joy. They can create their own path and it may be to another country, learning a new culture, or even in the penny saver (Thanks Juno!). The point is, perhaps your destiny is something a little less conventional and a bit more adventurous. With that being said, here are a few things you can do to celebrate your child when you decide to adopt:

  1. Older Child Newborn Picture. I saw this recently and it was, truth be told, my inspiration for this entire blog. You may not be able to get a newborn when you adopt, but who says that has to stop you from doing the fun newborn photo-shoot. The fun part about it is that most of your friends will be pleasantly surprised and some might even be relieved because it’s something that “not everyone is doing” until people realize how awesome it is! Not only is it humorous, but it’s incredibly sweet. Imagine the laughter and good times you’ll have while your older child is channeling a newborn!

    Doesn't matter the age! We're all young at heart!

    Doesn’t matter the age! We’re all young at heart!

  2. Picture of a country instead of a sonogram. If you want to announce that you’re adopting internationally, this is a completely utterly adorable way to do it. Not only does it show that you’re uber excited about your baby coming, but it also tells something about your child’s culture. You could amp up the excitement by having a themed party (baby shower) with different customs from your child’s home country.

    How cute is this?

    How cute is this?

  3. Super hero nurseries. Most super heroes did not have parents. They were either raised by family members, friends of the family, or some random family in Metropolis. Telling your child that he or she is the equivalent to a super hero is not only a good standard to set, but so much fun. Every kid loves to run around with a cape on!

    High expectations aren't the worst thing...

    High expectations aren’t the worst thing…

  4. Take a picture of you holding a globe to your tummy. Very similar to the sonogram picture, holding a globe to your tummy shows that you’re having a baby rachel from friendsjust like any maternity picture (without the weight gain and unpleasant side effects of pregnancy). You can have your dreamed of photo-shoot without ending up like Rachel on friends after Emma was past her due date.

    We all did it with a basketball as a kid... might as well celebrate with a globe as an adult!

    We all did it with a basketball as a kid… might as well celebrate with a globe as an adult!

  5. Make an adoption announcement. This gets the daddy involved too! You wanted to have that maternity shoot, you’ve done your engagement photos, your wedding photos, and now you want to announce that you’re adopting, but you’re not sure how to get your family as amped up as your sister’s picture of her tinkle stick. Well, go ahead and do something like this:

    What a good way of saying we're having a baby!

    What a good way of saying we’re having a baby!

BONUS: Celebrate not only their birthday, but their adoption or “gotcha” day! Really, what better reason for another holiday or time to celebrate!?

Birmingham Adoption Attorneys: 5 Steps to a Stepparent Adoption

Stepparent AdoptionWalter met Audrey one evening after a Sunday afternoon touch football game that went wild. Although it was merely supposed to be “touch” football, it soon turned into “push-down-the-other-team-and-run-all-over-them-even-if-that-ends-up-in-a-bloody-broken-nose” game. Audrey is a nurse in the ER, and because he is very into the show Scrubs, he’s always been a little infatuated with a pretty woman in scrubs. He asked her out that night. Walter and Audrey dated for months before he met her son, Leroy. Leroy took to him quickly and soon they were like father and son. They bonded over the Avengers, which Audrey didn’t mind watching nightly because Thor and Ironman are both an eye prize.  Walter learned that Leroy’s father was a rocker with a past. He was in and out of jail. He never called or visited. He has never paid a dime in child support. Walter felt like part of a family, but he wants to know how to make it official. They’ve been living together now for a year and a half.  He wants to protect Audrey and Leroy as if they were his from the beginning. He’d love to adopt Leroy. Here’s how:

  1. He needs to marry Audrey first. In order for Walter to adopt Leroy, he’ll need to be married to Audrey. If he’s scared to make the commitment to her, he should probably hold off on making the commitment to Leroy. At least if things don’t work with Audrey, he can eventually get a divorce. If Leroy turns into a brat during puberty, there’s no undoing the adoption.
  2. They need to have lived together for one year. They’ve got this covered. Even though they aren’t married yet, as long as they have lived together for a year whether it be “in sin” or not, it’s all good. However, say that Audrey didn’t want to give the milk away for free, and she refused to move in, there are other measures to take for “good cause.” (What does good cause mean? For a good reason).
  3. He needs Audrey’s consent. She will have to be okay with him adopting little Leroy. Maybe she’s okay with being a single mother. Maybe she doesn’t want some man laying claim to her son. She may not even want to get married, she may want to be the parental dictator of Leroy. In that case, the relationship will probably eventually end, because no one wants to be with someone so controlling (except maybe that girl from Fifty Shades…). However, if she trusts Walter and expects to be with him forever, she would merely give her consent and that’s that.
  4. They will need Leroy’s birth father’s consent. There are many ways that this could go. Depending on the facts this could be very complicated or not complicated at all. Provided he stays gone, and hasn’t had any contact with the children, it could be implied. However, if he is still somewhat involved (ya know, when he feels like it) you’ll need him to sign off on the adoption.
  5. They may need the Lil’ Leroy’s consent. Depending on how long they ponder this situation, they may have to get Leroy’s consent. Say they get married, and wait until Leroy is 14, they’ll also need Leroy’s consent as well. (Hint: Do it sooner because kids are so much more lovable than teens- ha!)

3 Ways Stepparent Adoptions are Beneficial

From fairytales throughout history, the term stepparent has been used to torture, terrify, and

All I have to do to become her mom, is file this petition? Done! (If only it had gone this way...) 205-202-0070

All I have to do to become her mom, is file this petition? Done! (If only it had gone this way…) Thinking of stepparent adoption? Give Magic City Law, LLC a call today at 205-582-2832

persuade children into thinking that the stepparent is someone to fear. Imagine if in all these fairytales the stepparent had embraced the children as their own, and adopted them. Cinderella wouldn’t have had to befriend vermin in order to create a dress. She wouldn’t have had to deal with her stupid midnight curfew.  Her sisters would have been invited to the ball, and possibly the entire family could have lived at the palace with Cinderella after she won the prince’s heart (except Lucifer, he’s a jerk).  The point is, if you recently married a parent who is essentially a single parent because the other parent has either abandoned their child or has already given up their rights, and you’re toying with the idea of becoming their parent legally, here’s a few reasons as to why that’s a great idea:

  1. It completes your family.  Nothing says that you’re committed to your spouse than to take their children in as your own. You don’t have any legal obligation to do that which makes it that much more special when you do. Now the rest of the world will see the devotion to and the emotional bond to your stepchild that is now legally affirmed through this process. Please note that this still applies even when they’re being a spoiled little brat. No takes backsies!
  2. It gets rid of a negative stigma related to the term “step” in stepparent.  As mentioned above, everyone knows that every single time the term stepparent is used in children’s stories, it is synonymous with “evil.” There are tons of theories behind that, but the outcome isn’t that great. It leads to children fearing some evil being taking their parent away. They don’t see that it could balance out their lives and make things better in the long run. What better way to prove to a child that you’re not taking anything away, but that you’re giving your unending love and affection to not only their parent but to them than by legally becoming their family? Diamonds aren’t forever, family (& adoption) is forever.
  3. It rewrites History.  A family member of mine recently made a comment to me that she was upset she picked the wrong man to be the father of her children. Her children are wonderful, well behaved, beautiful children. Her ex? Well, let’s say he is a flaming piece of poo (yes, that’s legal jargon for deadbeat father).  It broke my heart to hear her say that she was sorry for choosing him to be her kid’s father. She didn’t know that he’d be an awful dad who wouldn’t pay child support and would abuse her, but if she had known she would go back in time and find someone better, like her current husband. The good thing with stepparent adoption is that it does just that. Once a stepparent adopts their stepchild, it’s as if that child were always theirs. Legally, they are that child’s other parent and although it doesn’t erase the negative history, it does change history for the better for these children.

If you’re interested in a stepparent adoption, give us a call! 205-582-2832!

Birmingham Adoption Attorneys: Favorite Famous Adoption Stories!

The best super heroes were adopted...

The best super heroes were adopted…

Celebrities get a lot of flak these days for adopting babies, multiple babies, and even more so multiple races of babies. The altruism of adopting the child is almost negated by the fact that they, as busy (and sometimes CRAZY) people are adopting a child that they may or may not “fit” into their lifestyle. Minus the whole Michael Jackson dangling a baby from a window, one has to appreciate that these celebs (even with their faults and sometimes selfish personalities) are giving these children a better lifestyle than they would have had. (Actually sometimes a better lifestyle than most of us have haha). On the other side of famous adoption stories are the famous people who have been adopted. These are people that but for their birth mother’s sacrifice may not have become the amazing public or famous figures they are today.  Here are some of our favorite famous adoption success stories:

Patty Stanger (adopted): Patty, better known as the millionaire matchmaker, is quite open with her adoption story. On one of her episodes she even shares with the world her adoption story, her quest to find herself, and the realization of the connection she has with her birth mother even though they’ve never met. She looks JUST like her mother. Patty is a strong, independent, intelligent woman who has a booming business that helps start families, or at least start the spark that eventually leads to baby making. The episode shows that had her birth mother not given her up for adoption, Patty may have been caught in her mother’s downward spiral (she was an alcoholic who died awaiting a liver), and she certainly wouldn’t have been the next in line for the match making business!

Jack Nicholson (adopted): Jack Nicholson, as a person, actor, and character is simply put the epitome of unconventional. Similar to him being unconventional so is his story. He spent his entire life thinking that his mother was his sister. He only found out that he was adopted once both his mother and grandmother had both passed. His mother had him too early in life so she stepped back in the shadows to let her mother raise him. She raised him into one powerful and talented man!

Faith Hill (adopted): Faith was actually adopted by a couple in Mississippi. Someone must’ve done something right because she became one of America’s favorite stars to eventually become ½ of one of the South’s favorite couples. Breathtakingly beautiful inside and out, Faith’s story of meeting her birth mother along with her search for stardom is wonderful. In her interview with Good Housekeeping she says, “I have a lot of respect for my birth mother and no feelings of anger or any of that,” she has said. “I know she must have had a lot of love for me to want to give me what she felt was a better chance.”

Kristen Davis (adoptive parent): Kristen Davis, best known for her role as Charlotte on Sex & the City, who was obsessed with meeting the perfect man and making the perfect baby, adopted her baby Gemma Rose Davis as a single mother back in 2011. Unlike her character on Sex & the City, Kristen may be doing this alone, but similar to Charlotte, she chose to adopt. I for one feel Kristen (and Charlotte) will make a wonderful mommy.  Let’s hope she gets that Tiffany rattle she loved so much!

Calista Flockhart (adoptive parent): Often, when one thinks of Calista Flockhart and babies, we inevitably think of the Ooga Chocka GIF & Ally McBeal. If you don’t know who this baby is- please go check it out. Similar to Calista’s character, Ally, Calista seems to have caught the motherhood bug and adopted her son Liam back in 2001 while she was single. However, her beau (now hubby), Harrison Ford, has taken on the role of Liam’s daddy. Okay… who wouldn’t want Indiana Jones as their father?! (My father has an Indiana Jones hat that he got at the Indiana Jones show at Disney — close enough!!)

Michelle Pffeifer (adoptive parent): Michelle, one of the most beautiful and talented women in Hollywood, decided to adopt her daughter Claudia on her own. Shortly thereafter, she met and married her prince charming who later adopted Claudia as well. Michelle decided back in 1993 to adopt Claudia even though they weren’t technically the same race. Although some people in society decided to judge her and her decision, her response was simply “”I was shocked at the prejudice, voiced in some quarters, over my decision to adopt a mixed-race baby. It’s really surprising that people still put so much emphasis on it,” she’s said. “None of us are pure anything. We’re all a mixture.” Well said Michelle.. well said.

BONUS:  Superman (adopted): Okay, yes he’s a fictional character, but the story of a major super hero coming to our planet to be adopted by some small town farmers who raise him to be the ultimate good human (even though technically he’s an alien) who eventually saves lives as a hobby is not only heartwarming, but really shows adopted children everywhere that your birthparents sacrifice was for the good of your future (and in superman’s case – the good of all mankind). Talk about one awesome adoption nursery theme!

Adoption: Where do you start?

Meyer & Middleton, LLC: Adoption Attorneys

Magic City Law, LLC: Adoption Attorneys

Adoption is a beautiful thing. You are taking a child without a family and accepting them into your family as if they were always there. Many people want to adopt for various reasons whether it be that they cannot have children of their own, they feel a strong need to help out a child without a home, or the opportunity arises within their network that they can’t turn down. If you feel that adoption is in your future but you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help you figure this out. The first thing to consider is where you want to get your baby. There are many considerations when looking at the following choices. You have to think of your possible options. Not going too much into detail, in order for you to know where to start, you have to consider a few factors: Do you care if the race of the child is the same as you? Do you care if the child’s family is involved? How much information do you need on the child’s family? How much money can you invest initially in the adoption process? How long are you willing to wait to hold your bundle of joy? After you’ve thought these options through, it will give you a better idea as to where to start with finding the new addition to your family.

  1. Domestic Adoption (A Domestic adoption simply means that the adoption is within the United States).
    1. Independent Adoption (This includes a private adoption between two individuals. Normally this involves family members or friends in which the adoption is taking place privately between the parties. These include grandparent/stepparent/closely related adoptions to even people who meet, begin a relationship that builds trust, and decide that an adoption is a viable choice between the families. )
    2. Public Agency Adoption (This is better known as the Foster Care System and adoption via DHR. This option is the most affordable, but it does not come without risks. The children are in the system due to their families either giving up or losing custody of the children. The state is involved and heavily invested in the outcome of the adoption. The system prefers reunification with the birth family, however, sometimes that is not the best option. You must be aware that when a child has been in the system there are often issues of abuse or neglect that must be addressed and worked with in order to provide proper care for the child. For the most part, these children have had unstable homes and may be reluctant to starting a new life with a new family. )
    3. Licensed Private Agency Adoption (These agencies are all over the state. In this situations the birth parents will relinquish their rights to the adoption agency and the adoption agency sets up an adoption with adoptive parents who are available to take in the child. These agencies will normally set up questionnaires or profiles that the adoptive families can answer so that they can find a child that matches their wishes and desires. Then, when a mother comes in with a child that fits that criteria, the agency can set up a way for the birth mother, or the agency to choose who the child will go to. These agencies are normally the best chance for families to get a newborn or younger child.)
    4. Intercountry Adoption (This is also commonly referred to as “international adoption.”) This means that you are planning on adopting a child from another country. Depending on the country that you choose to adopt from the country of origin may have very strict requirements pertaining to that child’s placement. There is also very little known about the child’s family or even their medical history.  Also, sometimes the county of origin requires that you come visit their county to see their culture and to pick up the child. However, once you get your home study and pay the associated fees necessary to begin the process, you are very likely (close to guaranteed) a child as there are many children without parents overseas. The birth mothers don’t change their minds in these situations because these children are orphans as deemed by the law.  The time and costs associated with this process are more known than with most other options. You should research each country you think you want to adopt from in order to know what they require for adoption.  The top countries for international adoption are Russia, China, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and South Korea.