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Jessica Lynne Gordon

Jessica Gordon’s Answers

59 total


  • What do I need to do to have my fiancé adopt my son.

    my fiancé wants to adopt my son once we are married there is no father on the birth certificate. my fiancé is the only dad my son has ever had and known. so how do we go about the adoption process?

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state. Consider finding an attorney through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys - www.adoptionattorneys.org.

    Your attorney will help you to find out where the biological father stands with respect to his rights under your state’s adoption law. He may be considered a biological father or a legal father. There is usually different criteria depending on his legal status. In Georgia, legal fathers are ones who were married to the birthmother or acknowledged paternity (got their names on the birth certificate), but you should consult with an attorney to find out what the criteria is in your state.

    In most states, it is easier to have the rights of a biological father terminated. Usually, the biological father’s rights can be terminated without written consent after notice is given and he does not respond for a certain period of time.

    If your son's natural father is determined to be a legal father, however, check with your lawyer about having his rights terminated on the grounds of abandonment. In Georgia, if legal fathers have not communicated, supported and seen their children in over a year, then the courts here can terminate their rights based on abandonment. Again, you should ask your lawyer if there is a similar statute in your state.

    The other option is to find the biological father and ask if he is willing to sign over his parental rights to your son. If he is willing, the step-parent adoption can usually move faster in court.

    The most important thing you can give your child is his complete medical history. I strongly encourage you to get a complete history from his natural father - you never know what the future brings, and if you lose touch with him in the future, this may be very helpful to have.

    Once the biological father’s rights have been terminated, you can go forward with the step-parent adoption. After the completion of the adoption, the biological fathers will no longer be liable for any future child support.

    A couple of additional questions you will want to ask your attorney:
    (1) Does the law in your state require that you are married before you do a step-parent adoption, and if so, do you need to be married for a certain period of time before the court will allow you to complete a step-parent adoption?
    (2) Do you have a reunion registry that the biological father can become a part of so that your son can reach out to him sometime in the future, if he so desires?

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

    Good luck!

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  • My husband wants to adopt my daughter

    My husband US citizen wants to adopt my daughter which is a US CITIZEN to but her biological father is in the Philippines with a Filipino citizenship. What to do?

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state. Consider finding an attorney through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys - www.adoptionattorneys.org.

    When a U.S. citizen adopts a U.S. citizen child living in the United States, this is a domestic adoption, regardless of the citizenship of her legal parent. Additionally, under this fact scenerio, the case would fall outside The Hague Convention on Protection of Children & Cooperation in Respect to Intercountry Adoptions, which governs international adoptions between countries who are signatories to this treaty.

    Even though her father is out of the country, if he is willing to sign over his parental rights to your child, the step-parent adoption can usually be approved in court. Also, if he is willing to surrender his rights, it means that the adoption will likely move faster than trying to get his rights terminated due to abandonment, although either route is possible even with a father who is not a U.S. citizen, and who is not living in the U.S. The key is to make sure that the legal father is given proper notice. Additionally, you will want to discuss with your attorney whether her biological father is also her legal father. Many states differeniate between biological fathers and legal fathers, and have more stringent notice requirements for legal fathers. Because he is out of the country, you also want to make sure that you choose an attorney who has experience in serving birth parents internationally, as other laws and treaties often apply to this process. My office handles these cases regularly. If we can be of assistance, do not hesitate to call us at (770) 642-6075 to set up a consultation.

    The most important thing you can give your daughter is her complete medical history. Try to get a complete history from her natural father - you never know what the future brings, and if you lose touch with him in the future, this may be very helpful to have.

    Once her father's rights have been terminated, you can go forward with the step-parent adoption. After the completion of the adoption, her biological father will no longer be liable for any future child support.

    A couple questions you will want to ask your attorney:
    (1) Does the law in your state require that you are married for a certain period of time before allowing a step-parent adoption?
    (2) Do you have a reunion registry that the biological father can become a part of so that your daughter can reach out to himsometime in the future, if she so desires?

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

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  • Where,how n what is the process of getting guardianship for my niece

    Shes been living with me as my own daughter ever since she was a baby n now that shes seven n ready to go to school i need guardianship..i want to do guardianship until i get enough money for adoption or is it cheaper to do adoption?

    Jessica’s Answer

    If you are considering adoption, your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state. Consider finding an attorney through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys - www.adoptionattorneys.org. Your attorney will be able to discuss the costs associated with a guardianship versus an adoption and the benefits and responsibilities that are associated with both processes. If you have a child living with you, you should absolutely pursue a legal relationship so that you can attend to her needs both medically and scholastically so that questions of your relationship do not arise and you can continue to have legal access to her records and to make medical decisions for her if need be.

    Some differences between adoption and guardianship to consider:
    In a legal guardianship, the parents of the child (or individual) still have parental rights and also may maintain reasonable contact with the child. In adoption, however, the parent’s rights have permanently been severed, either through surrender of parental rights or termination by the court.

    The legal guardianship may be revoked at any time, simply by the parent revoking consent to the guardianship. An adoption, on the other hand, is permanent and legally binding.

    In regards to inheritance, adoptees are entitled to receive any inheritance left to them by their adoptive parents, unless there are instructions in the will to the contrary. However, if part of a legal guardianship, the individual is not by default entitled to receive the inheritance left to them by their legal guardians.

    Finally, in regards to finances, adoptive parents are responsible for providing all financial support needed for the child to survive. Legal guardians need only provide certain amounts – such as, for food, shelter and education. The birth parents are still responsible for providing the child with some financial support as well.

    Good luck!

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  • My ex husband wishes to sign over his rights and allow my current husband to adopt my child. Where do I begin?

    My divorce decree and parenting plan was settled in TX. My current husband, child, and myself reside in NY state while my ex husband resides in WA state. My ex husband is offering to sign over his parental rights and allow my current husband to ...

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state. Consider finding an attorney through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys - www.adoptionattorneys.org. Your attorney will be able to prepare the surrender documents and walk you through all the requirements under your state statute.

    Since the biological father is willing to sign over his rights, the step-parent adoption should go pretty smoothly because you will not need to prove to the court that his biological father has not communicated, supported or seen the child for a long period of time. Instead, the court should accept the surrenders if done correctly under your state's law, and allow for the adoption to go through.

    In addition to the surrenders, the most important thing you can give your child is his complete medical history. Above all else try to get a complete history from the father - you never know what the future brings, and if you lose touch with him in the furture, this may be very helpful to have.

    After the completion of the adoption, the biological father will no longer be liable for any furture child support.

    A couple questions you will want to ask your attorney:
    (1) Does the law in your state require that you are married for a certain period of time before allowing a step-parent adoption?
    (2) Do you have a reunion registry that the biological father can become a part of so that your daughter can reach out to him sometime in the future?

    Good luck!

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  • Reasons for adult adoption

    I would like to adopt an adult. She has been part of my family and we want to make this legal. However we have a few questions, since we are not familiar with the adoption laws. the young woman I want to adopt is European, can I as a US citizen st...

    Jessica’s Answer

    It sounds like what you are asking about is an adult adoption. Most states have a provision in their statutes allowing for adoption of adults. It is perfectly natural to want to seek to legalize an emotional attachment to an adult in your life. In your particular case, however, you want to be careful with going forward with seeking an adult adoption for the purposes of immigration because it is considered immigration fraud to complete an adoption for the purposes of immigration. Furthermore, if you adopt a child past when the child turns 16, you will not be able to petition for immigration benefits for him or her based on the adoption. There is one exception to this rule, which is that if you are adopting a sibling group, and one is below 16 and the other is over 16 but under 18, then you would be able to petition for immigration benefits for both children. However, it sounds like you are interested in adopting an adult who is over both those age limits already. If what you are really interested in is immigration benefits, I would recommend that you consult with an attorney that has immigration experience before proceeding with any legal action.

    My office specializes in both adoption and immigration and we would be glad to set up a consultation for you. You can call us at (770) 642-6075. Otherwise, you can find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through http://www.ailalawyer.com/ and other experienced adoption attorneys through www.adoptionattorneys.org.

    Good luck!

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  • Legal guardian of a four year old. Would like to adopt her. Will it be expensive and a challenge since I am single?

    I've had her in my care since the day she was born. I named her The doctor gave her to me in the delivery room. I took her home from the hospital. Her birth mother does not know who the father is. The birth mother has moved out of state but pla...

    Jessica’s Answer

    Adoptions are very delicate cases. You want to make sure that the adoption is done properly. For the protection of this child, you should seek the assistance of an adoption attorney.

    I agree with my colleague that you need to address the biological father’s rights to the child.
    First you have to determine where the biological father stands with respect to his rights under Georgia adoption law. He may be a biological father or a legal father. There are different criteria depending on his legal status. Legal fathers are ones who were married to the birthmother or acknowledged paternity (got their names on the birth certificate). It sounds like from your question that her father did not take either of these steps, but this would need to be explored fully with an experienced attorney. If you have a legal father and he has not communicated, supported and seen the child in over a year, then the court can terminate his rights on grounds of abandonment.

    If he is simply a biological father, he is served with notice. If 30 days go by after he is served and he does nothing, then the court can terminate his rights without his written consent. If he really is not known at all by the child’s mother, there are ways to give notice through publishing that can suffice for notice, but a diligent search is usually made first and an attorney would be able to help you with this analysis as well.

    Please note, however, that the most important thing you can give your child is her complete medical history, which is another reason why would it be very helpful for the birth mother to name the biological father. Above all else, try to get a complete history from her natural father and her natural mother - you never know what the future brings, and if you lose touch with them in the future, this may be very helpful to have.

    I would be happy to discuss this further with you. My office handles cases like this regularly. You can reach us at 770-642-6075. Or you can find a list of other experienced adoption attorneys in Georgia at www.gacal.org.

    Good luck!

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  • Hello, my wife and I have adopted a child in Egypt. The papers are finished and finalized. What are the steps to take ?

    What are the steps to take to bring him to the USA. I am a US citizen my wife is a green card holder. The child is 9 years old and has been living with us for 7 years. Also what kind of documents that we need to get /provide from the country wher...

    Jessica’s Answer

    Congratulations on your adoption. This is a very complicated field. When you are doing an international adoption you are dealing with three separate sets of laws: the immigration laws of the U.S., the adoption laws from the sending country and the adoption laws from your state if you want to domesticate your adoption. I highly recommend you contact an attorney with both immigration and adoption experience before you go any further in this process. My office specializes in this and would be glad to set up a consultation for you. Otherwise, you can find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through http://www.ailalawyer.com/ and other experienced adoption attorneys through www.adoptionattorneys.org.
    Ethiopia is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children & Cooperation in Respect to Intercountry Adoptions. Therefore, you can go through the non-Hague international adoption process. The process for adopting a child from Ethiopia generally includes the following steps:
    1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider - select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption.
    2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt – I-600a
    3. Be Matched with a Child - The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Ethiopia's requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Children being adopted from non-Convention countries must meet the definition of an orphan as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) before they can immigrate to the United States. USCIS determines whether a particular child meets the definition of an orphan. According to the INA, a child must meet the following two conditions in order to be considered an orphan (1) The child must have no parents; or (2) The child has a sole or surviving parent who is unable to care for the child and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption. Under U.S. law, children may not be abandoned, relinquished, or released to a specific prospective adoptive parent for adoption. Instead, if there are two living parents, the child must be relinquished to an entity that is authorized by Ethiopia, the sending Country, to place children for international adoption
    4. Adopt the Child in Ethiopia
    5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption - submit an I-600 to USCIS for them to determine if she is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted. USCIS will make sure that the is under the age of 16 at the time an I-600 petition is filed on his or her behalf with USCIS or a consular officer or the child will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, with the intent of forming a bona fide parent/child relationship.
    6. Bring Your Child Home – If he comes in on a IR-4 VISA, the number 4 indicates that he will not be a US Citizen until his adoption is finalized in the United States.

    You can go to http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_info.php?country-select=Ethiopia to learn more about the specifics of each of these steps.

    Good luck!

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  • How to adopt a person over the age of 18?

    She's my goddaughter that I raised.

    Jessica’s Answer

    It is perfectly natural to want to seek to legalize an emotional attachment to an adult in your life who you would like to play the role of parent to, regardless if she is already over the age of 18. Therefore, an adult adoption does seem like a good legal solution. Most states have a provision in their statutes allowing for adoption of adults. In Georgia, an adult adoption does not require the consent of the legal parents, so if your state’s laws are similar, she would not have to involve her biological parents in her decision to be adopted by a different, loving, adult. Additionally, adult adoption is usually a much easier and less expensive process than the adoption of a child. I recommend that you speak with an experienced adoption attorney in your state. You can find a list of experienced adoption attorneys through www.adoptionattorneys.org.

    Good luck!

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  • How can I adopt my nephew from Jamaica ?

    His father die and his mother not in his life

    Jessica’s Answer

    This is a complicated field of law and I highly recommend that you contact an attorney to give you specific help in your journey of international adoption.

    Jamaica is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children & Cooperation in Respect to Intercountry Adoptions. Therefore, you can go through the non-Hague international adoption process. The process for adopting a child from Jamaica generally includes the following steps:
    1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider - select a licensed agency or attorney in the United States that can help with your adoption.
    2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt – I-600a
    3. Be Matched with a Child - The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Jamaica's requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Children being adopted from non-Convention countries must meet the definition of an orphan as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) before they can immigrate to the United States. USCIS determines whether a particular child meets the definition of an orphan. According to the INA, a child must meet the following two conditions in order to be considered an orphan (1) The child must have no parents; or (2) The child has a sole or surviving parent who is unable to care for the child and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption. Under U.S. law, children may not be abandoned, relinquished, or released to a specific prospective adoptive parent for adoption.
    4. Adopt the Child in Jamaica – You will get a Jamaican license - Jamaica is among many other countries, such as Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Korea, Pakistan, and Trinidad Tobago that grant guardianships with permission to finalize the adoptions before the appropriate US Court having jurisdiction over the adoptive parents. In other words, you will receive an Adoption License, which is akin to guardianship, rather than completing the adoption in Jamaica. Once you have the child here in the United States you can domesticate the adoption.
    5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption - submit an I-600 to USCIS for them to determine if she is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted. USCIS will make sure that the is under the age of 16 at the time an I-600 petition is filed on his or her behalf with USCIS or a consular officer or the child will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, with the intent of forming a bona fide parent/child relationship.
    6. Bring Your Child Home - He will come in on a IR-4 VISA, which will be evidence of his lawful status in the United States as legal permanent resident based on the parent-child relationship established by the JAMAICAN LICENSE. The number 4 indicates that he will not be a US Citizen until his adoption is finalized in the United States.

    You can go to http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_info.php?country-select=jamaica to learn more about the specifics of each of these steps.

    Again, this is a complicated field, and I recommend you contact an attorney with both immigration and adoption experience. My office specializes in this and would be glad to set up a consultation for you. Otherwise, you can find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through http://www.ailalawyer.com/ and other experienced adoption attorneys through www.adoptionattorneys.org.

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  • Adoption attorney fees questions????

    Husband wants to adopt my 2 daughters. 1 biological father is deceased and I have obtained a notarized relinquishment of parental rights from my ex-husband. I just need the stepparent adoption documents typed up and filed. What is the average pric...

    Jessica’s Answer

    I agree with my colleague that there is really no known average price for what you are asking and that more information about your case is needed before it can be determined exactly what needs to be done to complete the step-parent adoption. Under Georgia law, you would usually need to have the legal father sign a surrender and an acknowledgement of surrender of rights in front of a notary. You would also need an attorney to explain the rights to the legal father and sign an affidavit of representation. I suggest that you contact an attorney with adoption law experience in Georgia to review the notarized reliquishment that you have and determine if that would be sufficient under Georgia Law. You would also need an attorney to review and explain to you other Georgia requirements such as criminal history checks, venue requirements, necessary documents to gather, etc.

    If you would like to discuss this further, my office has experience in this type of case and would be glad to set up an appointment for you. You can call us at (770) 642-6075. Or you can find a list of other experienced Georgia licensed adoption attorneys: www.gacal.org

    Best of luck!

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