Are You Considering Adoption? with Timothy J Blied

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Attorney and adoptive parent Timothy J Blied, will answer your questions about the adoption process and experience.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Welcome to The Women's Health Place on WebMD LIVE. Our guest speaker this evening is attorney and adoptive parent Timothy J. Blied.

Timothy J. Blied is an attorney with Schmiesing Blied Stoddart & Mackey, LLP, who has assisted in over thirteen hundred and fifty successful adoptions. He also serves as outside legal counsel for the Southern California offices of Bethany Christian Services, and Christian Adoption & Family Services. He is a member in good standing of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers and the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.

Tim is involved in independent (private) adoptions, as well as in identified (agency) adoptions. In both types, the birth mother directly selects the adoptive parents with whom she would like to place her child. Blied is an exponent of "open adoption," which recognizes contact and communication between birth parents and adopting parents as good, both prior to and after birth. On a personal level, Tim is a parent of four children, including two adopted daughters. As such, he feels a tremendous sense of excitement and responsibility in assisting birthparents and adopting parents as they work through the adoption experience.

Welcome to WebMD LIVE, Tim. It is really a pleasure having you here today.

Blied: Thank you.

Moderator: Let's begin with the basics of adoption, if we could. Tim, could you please explain the difference between an agency adoption and an independent adoption?

Blied: An independent adoption is one where there is no agency involved in the selection/placement process. The birth mother selects and directly places the child with the adopting parents. agency adoption is one in which a licensed adoption agency is involved, either in the selection process or, at the very least, in processing the adoption. Most states, such as California, allow either independent or agency adoptions. In California, approximately 80 percent of adoptions are processed as independent adoptions. Our firm works closely with several adoption agencies and so we do quite a few "identified agency" adoptions. An identified agency adoption is one in which the birth mother directly selects the adopting parents and the agency is then brought in to handle the home study, the counseling of the birth mother, the consent of the birth mother, and the post-placement supervision of the adopting parents and child.

Moderator: Could you please explain what an "open" adoption is and why you are an exponent of this type of adoption?

Blied: Open adoption is when the parties, the adopting parents and the birth mother (and sometimes the birth father or their families) are in direct communication with each other. This typically includes face to face meetings during the interview and selection process, as well as on-going communication, both before and after birth and placement. I am an exponent of open adoption because I have observed that the best adoptions are those in which the birth mother selects adopting parents based on her own personal knowledge and relationship with them.

Moderator: Let's go to some member questions...

Spassmachen_WebMD: Does household income affect the adoption agency's approval decision? What criteria are involved?

Blied: Many adoption agencies set their fees on a sliding scale, based on the income level of the adopting parents. Other agencies just charge a fixed fee for their services. You can usually select an agency which meets your preferences in that regard.

africa1_WebMD: Are there particular legal considerations if I want to adopt a child through a private party who lives in another country? Does the United States require particular paperwork?

Blied: When you adopt a child out of the United States, that is called an "international adoption" and must typically be handled via an agency specially licensed to handle international adoptions. If you identify a child in another country you wish to adopt, it is necessary to involve agencies in both countries. In addition, the legal requirements of the country out of which the child is being placed must also be met (e.g., maybe a court proceeding).

smersh_WebMD: Is infertility the main reason that people adopt?

Blied: Most, but not all, adopting parents that I have worked with over the years are adopting because of infertility. They really, really want to have children and are unable to bear biological children. However, in some cases it is a question of wanting to be available for a child, such as a handicapped or older child, who would otherwise not have a family. In my experience, adoption works best when couples first deal with their infertility and go through whatever steps they may choose in order to attempt to have a biological child. The science of "assisted rReproduction" is booming. Then, and only then, they can pursue adoption wholeheartedly.

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