November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and I wanted to take this opportunity to explore what adoption means to me and highlight the adoption services Heimerl & Lammers provides.
My Personal and Professional Experience with Adoption
I am passionate about adoption and love all aspects of adoption practice. This passion began at a young age, and came from both my personal and professional experiences. I myself am adopted. I was born in South Korea and came to the United States when I was three months old. I know first-hand the effect that adoption can have on families. But that was truly only the beginning of my adoption experience. I just so happened to be adopted by parents who were active in the adoption community. In fact, my dad, Wright Walling, specialized in adoption and juvenile law for most of his forty-four years as an attorney. It was in watching my dad and hearing his stories that I really came to be passionate about adoption.
Now, having become an adoption practitioner myself, I have confirmed what I knew all along, that I find adoption and juvenile practice fascinating, challenging, impactful, and uniquely rewarding.
Working with Adoptees and Adoptive Parents
Helping clients grow their families through the magic of adoption is a feeling like no other. Whether the adoptive parents are same-sex partners, relatives, foster parents, regular people looking to bring a child into their family, or people looking to legally recognize a long-standing relationship through an adult adoption, I am moved by the lifetime commitment that one person makes to another through the adoption process. There is truly nothing greater in this world than someone affirmatively committing themselves to another person through a bond which cannot be broken. Final adoption hearings, the hearing where the judge looks the parties in the eyes and formalizes the adoption, are the best part of my job.
Advocating For Birth Parents
But it is not only representing adoptive parents that I enjoy. I believe that there is a special need to advocate for birth parents, especially birth mothers, in any adoption. In Minnesota, birth mothers are entitled to their own independent legal counsel. In fact, the adoptive parents must pay for the birth mother’s attorney if she wants one. I wish more birth mothers knew about this and took advantage of this opportunity. Nothing in this process is more important than ensuring that birth mothers understand their rights and how the adoption affects them. By signing her consent for the adoption of her child, a birth mother is making a decision with enormous consequences. It is imperative that she understands the limits on her right to revoke her consent, exactly when her parental rights will be terminated and what that means, and the permanent and irrevocable nature of the adoption once it is completed. It is important that these details are explained to the birth mother with compassion and an understanding of the often difficult choice she is making. When I represent a birth mother, my goal is not to get the adoption done. Rather, my goal is to make sure that the birth mother understands her rights and options, and I take no job more seriously.
Here To Help
Heimerl & Lammers offers a broad spectrum of adoption legal services. If you or someone you know is looking for an adoption attorney, please contact us. If you or someone you know isn’t sure if the situation warrants calling an attorney, please contact us and we will be happy to assess the circumstances and let you know whether we can help you. We look forward to putting our passionate advocacy to work for your family.