Heimer Law can facilitate an agency adoption for you.
We are proud to partner with Shared Beginnings, a nonprofit Arkansas adoption agency with a unique model that solely supports expectant and birth parents. In our partnership, we represent hopeful adoptive parents and guide you through the process. Shared Beginnings provides legal representation to the expectant mother and ensures the best ongoing support for her as she considers her parenting options. The result is an agency adoption that meets the needs of all parties.
We work with a limited number of adopting families from all over the country and offer personalized care. We recommend Open Adoption rather than a closed adoption. You will see more information on this below.
How does it work?
Fill out our inquiry form to begin the conversation. We will contact you and schedule a call.
An adoption through Heimer Law and Shared Beginnings costs $30,000. For out of state families, additional costs include a home study fee and travel costs. The $30,000 fee includes
- Matching services
- Your legal representation
- Home Study for those hopeful Adoptive Families in Arkansas
- The cost of the expectant mother’s legal representation
- The cost of her social work case management, living arrangements, and prenatal care as determined by Arkansas law
- The adoption finalization process with both attorneys representing their clients (expectant mother and hopeful adoptive parents) at the court hearing
What resources offset the adoption costs?
The adoption tax credit is a tax benefit to qualifying families that helps offset the cost of adoption. Currently, the adoption tax credit is $14,300 per child. This means that you may be entitled to that amount for each child you adopt as long as your tax liability is also that high.
There are many grants available for hopeful adoptive parents. Heimer Law can provide you with information. We are happy to help with the application process.
What do we need to get started with an agency adoption?
To begin the process, schedule a meeting with our team. During this free inquiry call, you will be able to ask your questions. We carefully select our client list to best meet our partner agencies’ criteria regarding their expectant mothers’ needs. If you are offered a client spot, the intake process begins seamlessly through our team. The initial fee requirement is a total of $5,000.00 due at intake.It will be split between Heimer Law and Shared Beginnings.
What’s the timeframe for adoption?
Your engagement letter with Heimer Law covers an 18 month term. However, since beginning our work with Shared Beginnings, we haven’t had any family wait more than one year from sign-on to be selected by an expectant mom.
What if the birth mother changes her mind?
In Arkansas, a woman who makes an adoption plan for her baby has five or ten days after the child’s birth to decide to parent. We call this the revocation period. If she continues with her adoption plan, Heimer Law works closely with the courts to schedule the final hearing where the adoption is finalized in front of a judge. If she does decide to parent within the five or ten day period, the adoption is considered disrupted. Any fees you have paid to Heimer Law or Shared Beginnings (that haven’t been used to directly pay for the mother’s expenses) will be applied to a future match. This will include all legal fees and most agency fees.
What does Open Adoption Mean?
An open adoption is one where you get to know the expectant mother and carry on a relationship after the adoption. This can be meeting occasionally and exchanging emails or texts. It could also mean becoming close to her and welcoming her into your family. We believe that open adoption is best for the child and placing parents when it can be done in a healthy way. We are happy to share incredible stories of success as we’ve seen a multitude of families grow in this way.
How do we ensure the birth parents know their rights?
Shared Beginnings provides every expectant mom considering adoption the opportunity to speak with her own legal representation. Adoption is a legal process and therefore we believe it is best to have separate representation. It protects you against allegations of undue influence.
What community resources are available for expectant moms?
Northwest Arkansas has a tremendous community and resources for expectant moms. Every expectant mom in Arkansas is eligible for Arkansas Pregnancy Medicaid. Shared Beginnings will help her find food, clothing, housing, transportation, and other necessities. It is their goal to help establish her with the care she will need long after the adoption is completed.
Will the birth mom be drug or alcohol tested?
No, unless the doctor has a specific concern, we do not ask for the expectant mother to be tested for substance abuse. During pregnancy an expectant mother has all rights to privacy and we work to balance baby’s health while respecting that. A newborn screen is run immediately after birth.
What about medical needs?
Shared Beginnings will help the expectant mother use her insurance or apply for Medicaid. They will also help her get the prenatal care she and the baby need.
Do expectant moms see a counselor during or after the pregnancy?
The Shared Beginnings program strongly recommends that expectant moms receive at least two counseling sessions, one pre-birth and one post birth. However, expectant moms are able to access counseling services for free as often as desired. As a licensed adoption agency, Shared Beginnings is required to provide grief and loss information to every expectant mom.