Every person or couple considering the adoption of a child—whether through a private adoption or through a state agency, like CYFD—needs the help of an experienced adoption lawyer. The adoption process requires the timely and proper completion of paperwork, some of which may include home visits and interviews with the adoptive family. A seasoned attorney can ensure that all legal requirements are met and documentation submitted so that your adoption process can go smoothly.

An experienced attorney’s help is especially crucial in any adoption involving:

  • A stepchild
  • A child whose parents’ rights have been terminated because of abuse or neglect or
  • A  child whose parents are deceased

These cases can be complex because the biological parents may still be living and/or the child may already be living with the prospective adoptive parents (in private or agency-facilitated adoptions, this is not allowed by the court). In the case of Native American Indian children, federal laws may supersede state adoption laws.


Any person or couple considering adopting a child should retain an adoption attorney as soon as they intend to begin the adoption process—i.e., before contacting an adoption agency. Seeking legal counsel before beginning the actual adoption process will ensure that prospective parents:

  • Understand the adoption process
  • Are informed about the time requirements for filing applications and requests for placement
  • Have realistic expectations about the time and cost of the process
  • Do not unintentionally commit a misdemeanor by creating an unlawful verbal or written agreement with the birth mother of a child

In the State of New Mexico, the law provides biological parents with considerable time to change their mind about an adoption. Having an attorney early in the case will help you assess your likelihood of a successful adoption.


Child adoption allows you to expand your family and provide a safe loving home for a child who may or may not be biologically related to you. Adoption entails terminating the biological parents’ rights and bestowing them upon you, the adoptive parent(s).

The Albuquerque family lawyers at Terry & deGraauw, P.C. are experienced in handling a variety of child adoption cases. They possess an in-depth understanding of New Mexico and federal laws governing the termination and transferring of legal parental rights, so they can provide you with experienced counsel during the process by which you expand your family. Contact us for an initial consultation about your plans to adopt.