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The Friendly Lawyer

Melanie is experienced in representing both adoptive parents and birth mothers who choose to adopt. She is uniquely qualified through her own experience as an adoptive parent and has the personal insights to the process that can only be gained with this experience.

She has provided effective council to dozens of adoptive couples and birth mothers throughout her career and has an extensive network to help locate a child for adoptive parents or to birth mothers to find the right adoptive parents for her child.

Some helpful definitions:


Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with parents other than the birth (or "biological") mother or father. An adoption decree has the effect of severing the parental responsibilities and rights of the birth parent(s) and transferring those responsibilities and rights to the adoptive parent(s). After the finalization of an adoption, there is no legal difference between adopted children and those born to the parents.

Open adoption

Open adoptions allow adoptive parents, and often the adopted child, to interact directly with the biological family. Communication may include letters, emails, telephone calls, or visits. Direct access to the birth parents and history has advantages of answering identity questions ("Who do I look like? Why was I placed?") and lessening fantasies. There are also disadvantages such as no clean break for assimilation into family and the potential for feelings of rejection if contact stops, or for playing families against each other.

Arrangements regarding contact are typically informal. In some jurisdictions, the birth and adoptive parents may enter into a binding agreement concerning visitation, exchange of information, or other interaction regarding the child.

Semi-open adoption

In a semi-open adoption, the parents involved may meet one or several times and then have no more physical contact. Non-identifying letters and pictures may be exchanged directly or via a third party, such as an adoption agency, throughout the years. The relationship may remain semi-open or may evolve into open or closed.

Closed adoption

In some closed adoptions, non-identifying information is shared between the parties involved, such as medical history, up to the point of placement. After the adoption is legalized, no further information is shared between the parties involved. In other closed adoptions no information is shared between the parties involved.

International adoption

International adoption, is a type of adoption in which an individual or couple becomes the legal and permanent parents of a child born in another country. In general, prospective adoptive parents must meet the legal adoption requirements of their country of residence and those of the country in which the child was born. The laws of different countries vary in their willingness to allow international adoptions.