Adoption Services – Attorney Referral List

Below is a list of attorneys and their phone numbers. All of them regularly handle adoption cases, and have worked successfully with La Familia-Namaste.

RESOURCES

Anne Assink 505-242-9982
Harold Atencio 505-839-9111
Lauren Baldwin 505-897-8137
Judith Ferrell-Holbrook 505-232-9440
Jeffrey Kauffman 505-242-1754
Richmond Neely 505-243-3727
Lisa Olewine 505-858-3316
Jeane Smith 505-243-2222
 
You are welcome to choose an attorney from other sources, however, we ask that you select an attorney that has experience in the adoption field. The attorney that you choose should have done at a minimum 12 adoptions in the last year.

WHAT TO ASK BEFORE HIRING YOUR ATTORNEY

FINANCES
  • What is the average cost of the adoptions you have handled?
  • How do you bill? Is your fee an hourly fee, or do you charge a flat fee? (Keep in mind that ethical, experienced attorneys may have a higher hourly rate, but charge less because they don't have to spend the same amount of time that a less-experienced attorney would.)
  • Do you require a retainer fee in advance? If so, how much? What happens to my retainer fee if the birth mother changes her mind?
 
QUALIFICATIONS
  • What is your experience, knowledge, competence? How long have you worked in the area of adoption?
  • How many non-relative adoptions do you handle? How many this year? (Ten to twenty a year and several years of experience is desirable.) What percentage of your total practice is comprised of adoptions? (Fifty to one hundred percent suggests adoption expertise.)
  • What services do you provide? Will you actively assist me in finding an adoption situation as well as handle the necessary legal work? Attorneys in some states cannot match you to a birth mother, a practice that is allowed in many states. Make sure that you and the birth parents are represented by different attorneys.
 
WORKING RELATIONSHIPS
  • What is your general philosophy about adoption? Why did you get involved in adoptions?
  • Do you handle open adoptions, or both? Do you have strong feelings about openness?
  • Will you office keep me up to date and involved?
  • Do you see counseling for birth parents as helpful or useful? Why or why not?
  • Will you accept collect calls from birth parents? Do you have an 800 number?
  • When you are away from the office, is another knowledgeable attorney available?
 
THINGS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Does the lawyer answer your questions to your satisfaction?
  • Does the lawyer return your phone calls promptly?
  • Is the lawyer sensitive to your feelings?
  • Is the lawyer well-informed about adoption law?
  • Is the lawyer well-organized?
  • Does the lawyer pressure you or make you feel uncomfortable with the decision making process?
  • Does the lawyer openly discuss the financial and emotional risks involved?
  • Are the lawyer and support staff pleasant people who help me feel at ease and who will assist the birth parent graciously?

SHARE A RESOURCE

If you would like to recommend a resource, please contact us and we'll consider it for inclusion on our list. If your recommendation is approved, we'll add it to the list, and share the good news with other hopeful families!
 

Adoption Services – FAQs

DOMESTIC ADOPTIONS

What is a Home or Preplacement Study? Is it required?
The home or preplacement study is a complete family assessment. At a minimum, each family assessment includes one joint meeting with the entire prospective adoptive family, individual meetings with each family member, and a session in the family home.

In addition, each family must prepare and submit the required documentation prior to the initiation of the interview portion of the assessment. The Criminal Background Check and CYFD Abuse and Neglect check must be initiated prior to beginning the meetings.

Everyone who petitions to adopt a child must cooperate with a home study. This involves interviews with everyone in the adopting household, a visit to the home, medical examinations, reference checks, employment and financial verifications, criminal records checks, and verification of marriages, births, and divorces. La Familia-Namaste can also request that you be seen by an independent mental health professional and undergo psychological testing as part of your home study.

After your assessment is completed, your caseworker will present the assessment to the other members of the adoption department. At this meeting, your assessment will either be approved, approved with stipulations, or disapproved.
How do birth families choose their child's adoptive family?
Most birth parents want a role in the selection of the prospective adoptive family. La Familia-Namaste provides guidance and final approval about these selections, but the birth parents usually drive this process.

Each prospective adoptive family is provided with information on how to compile a family profile letter and/or a family profile album after the family assessment is completed. The letters consist of information about your family and pictures. The completed profiles are presented to birth parents who are considering an adoption plan for their child.

La Familia-Namaste staff does not match children with families unless a birth parent specifically requests that we do so. This is very rare. When a birth parent selects a family s/he would like to meet, La Familia-Namaste staff will schedule a Match Meeting between the birth family and the prospective adoptive family. A staff member will be present to facilitate this meeting and any meetings thereafter where either party requests our presence. Several topics are covered during match meetings, such as openness to continued contact, family traditions, child rearing beliefs and practices and any other issue of concern to the biological family or adoptive family.
What happens after the baby is born?
Most of the infants we place go directly into their adoptive families from the hospital. For a variety of circumstances, some infants enter Cradle Care and then are placed with their adoptive family a few days later.

Our services include preparing the correct papers for the biological parents to sign after the baby is born to authorize placement with the prospective adoptive family, coordinating the discharge of the child and the biological mother with hospital staff, preparing, reviewing and signing placement documents with the adoptive family and being consistently available for additional counseling and support to all participants in the process. The worker is usually present at the hospital to help mediate relationships with biological family, adoptive family, hospital staff and attorneys.

La Familia-Namaste's goal is to assist all families in making a successful adjustment to their new family. Supervision after a child is placed in an adoptive home is required by New Mexico law. These services will begin at placement and continue until finalization.

Your worker will spend time with you on the date of placement to review the appropriate documents and procedures. These include: Full Disclosure of Information Regarding the Child, Social and Medical of the biological parents, Legal Risk Disclosure and Acknowledgment and the Placement Agreement.

In New Mexico, post placement supervision is required for three to six months after placement. The first visit will be within 72 hours of placement. After that visit, your worker will schedule monthly face to face visits until finalization. Additional visits or referrals may be required in certain cases. All required reports will be submitted to court prior to finalization and will remain a permanent part of the case record.

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS

Are international adoptions more expensive than domestic?
Every international adoption is as unique as the country your child will come from. In most cases, the Pre-Placement Study and Post-Placement Services will cost the same amount as our Domestic Adoption program fees. However, we have learned that it is necessary to review the specific program requirements of your designated Placing Agency prior to setting your fee for International adoption services.

Please remember that you will not be billed until La Familia-Namaste has reviewed the requirements of the Placing Agency and informed you of the estimated cost to complete the study. We want you to know what you are paying for and why you may have to pay more than the estimated cost.
How do I find international children waiting to be adopted?
We currently network with several International adoption agencies throughout the country. Contact La Familia-Namaste for more information.
Where can I get more info about international adoption?
Since La Familia-Namaste only provides services for International Adoption, and we do not currently have an International Adoption program, we provide the following links for you to explore:

ADOPTION SEARCHES

When can I search and what information can I get?
Biological Parents and Adoptees can initiate a search when the adoptee turns 18 years old. Prior to that time, the Adoptive Parents can initiate a search. Only non-identifying information will be released unless the person being sought has filed a release of information. If there is a release of information, identifying information can be released.
What is a Confidential Intermediary? Do I need one?
A confidential intermediary requests the record of adoption, which is on file with La Familia-Namaste or the Children, Youth and Families, Central Adoption Unit. If someone calls the agency and is unsure whether La Familia-Namaste was the agency involved, La Familia-Namaste will verify that information without cost.

The record will be examined for written consent from the sought-after party stating a desire to be located if a search is initiated for him or her. If written consent is not found in the file, La Familia-Namaste will notify the searching party and inform them of the process involved in appointing La Familia-Namaste as a confidential intermediary. If written consent is located in the file or once La Familia-Namaste has been appointed as a confidential intermediary, the following steps will be taken.

The La Familia-Namaste representative will attempt (from information in that file) to locate the individual(s) for whom the search is commenced. This will include calls/letters to any individuals listed in the files who may be of assistance in locating the individuals being sought. If the information in our file indicates that only certain family members knew/are to know of the adoption, effort will be made to contact only those persons. La Familia-Namaste can perform any other file searches, records checks or other types of cross-referencing within its means and scope of service delivery, these will be pursued.

La Familia-Namaste strictly adheres to the state of New Mexico Adoption Statute and Regulations concerning post-decree of adoption access to records, section 32A-5-40 NMSA 1978. La Familia-Namaste will assist search efforts of adoptions performed by other agencies or independent sources within the state of New Mexico from the Children, Youth and Families Department, Central Adoption Unit in Santa Fe once we have been appointed as a confidential intermediary. La Familia-Namaste will assist any party of the adoption triad.

Searches are performed in a professional, discreet, confidential manner. The staff of La Familia-Namaste is committed to provide professional, quality services to all clients. We make every effort within our means to ascertain the wishes of the involved parties of a search.

It is not always possible to locate the sought-after party in a search. La Familia-Namaste makes no guarantees or promises that the sought-after will be located after paying a search fee and commencing the search. We do promise to make every effort as outlined in this policy to assist in a search.

All searches that may result in contact with the sought-after adoptive party are performed on a basis of mutual consent only. We honor all parties' desire for privacy.
 

Adoption Services – Forms

These forms are provided to help you with Domestic and Special Needs Adoptions, as well as the Adoption Search Process. Please click on either the PDF or MS Word links below to open the file(s), then print or save the file(s) as needed.

DOMESTIC ADOPTION FORMS

Application for Adoption Services
PDF  
Billing Policy and Fee Agreement
PDF  
Client Rights
PDF  
Continuous Quality Improvement Agreement
PDF  
Discipline Policy Agreement
PDF  
Employment Verification
PDF  
Homestudy Required Documents
PDF  
Licensing Agreement Checklist
PDF  
Physician's Statement
PDF  
Preplacement Study Worksheets
PDF  
Reference Worksheet
PDF  
Release of Information
PDF  
Self-Assessment Adoption Quiz
PDF  
Transcultural Adoption Assessment
PDF  
Weapons Agreement
PDF  
Working with La Familia
PDF  

SPECIAL NEEDS ADOPTION FORMS

Autobiography
PDF  
Physician's Statement
PDF  
Reference Questionnaire
PDF  

SEARCH FORMS

Adoptive Search Policy and Agreement
PDF  
Search Agreement and Consent
PDF  
Release of Information
PDF  
Search Request
PDF  

FORM NOTES

  • You must have Adobe Reader to view PDF files
  • You must have MS-Word or the Viewer to view MS-Word files
  • Click the applicable link(s) below to download a FREE viewer
 
Get Adobe Reader   Get MS Word Viewer