Legal Issues in Adoption

Since adoption is a process by which a child becomes a permanent legal member of your family just as if they had been born into the family, an attorney is needed to file the required legal pleadings with the court to complete this process.  For any adoption, you need the social work services (the home study, birthparent counseling, emotional support, adoptive placement for agency placements, and post placement services) that Adoption Assistance Agency can provide and an attorney for the legal services.  You can think of it as a relay race where a portion of the race is run by each part of the team.

At Adoption Assistance Agency, we do not have an attorney on staff, nor do we force you to work with a particular attorney.  This is an additional protection for your adoption.  You are free to choose the attorney you wish to work with, although we do seek to give you guidance in this area.  We provide you with an attorney referral list that has the names and contact information of attorneys that we have worked with in many adoptions and that we know and trust to help you in this process.  No matter who you decide to work with, however, it is crucial that the attorney you choose to hire knows New Mexico adoption law and the agency adoption process well.  Please keep this in mind as you choose the attorney who will help bring your adoption to finalization.  You may wish to call a few attorneys prior to placement of your child just to compare fees and choose a good fit.  Please find our current referral list below.

Your birthparent/s will also receive the services of a different attorney to advise them of their legal rights and to help insure that they understand the legal ramifications of their choice to relinquish their parental rights and consent to the adoption of their child.  Though the cost of these legal services is passed along to you as the adoptive parents, it is a wise investment in the stability and security of your adoption.  

The vast majority of infant adoptive placements in New Mexico fit in the category of a “risk placement”.  This is the legal name for the adoptive placement of a child for whom there are intact birthparent rights.  No one will force you to take a “risk placement” but most adoptive families recognize that adoption brings with it some risks.  Think about it this way, the birthmother and baby will typically be released from the hospital between 24 and 48 hours after the birth, about 72 hours for a C-section.  Birthparents in New Mexico may not relinquish their parental rights in court until a minimum of 48 hours after the birth.  If the baby is getting out of the hospital and the birthparents have not been to court, the baby has to go somewhere.  The baby could go home with the birthmother to await her going to court, but few people involved in the adoption think that is the best alternative.  The baby could go to Cuddle Care (and does on occasion) but most birthmothers are uncomfortable with this since they have chosen you to care for and parent the baby.  For the baby it is not best because the baby begins to bond with the Cuddle Care parents rather than you.  For these reasons most adoptive parents are willing to take a risk placement of the baby while the legal processes for birthparents rights are implemented.  Also consider this; there are many situations where the birthfather cannot be located (for a variety of reasons).  New Mexico has excellent laws for fully addressing his rights so that a stable adoption may occur.  However, the legal processes take time and could delay your bringing your baby home and bonding with him or her for a few months.  The overwhelming majority of our adoptions are done as risk placements and it works out over and over again.

Attorneys Albuquerque Area:
Maria Montoya-Chavez 505-883-2500
P.O. Box 1945
Albuquerque, NM 87103
(Some Spanish Speaking/Translators Available)
Jalynn Clayton 505-249-1704
6901 Sandalwood Place NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
Richmond Neely 505-243-3727
P.O. Box 1787
Albuquerque, NM  87102
Lisa H. Olewine 505-858-3316
4801 Lang NE, Suite 110
P.O. Box 93216
Albuquerque, NM 87199
Melchior Savarese 505-228-2533
38 Vista Alta Dr
Tijeras, NM 87059
(Spanish Speaking)
Lauren Baldwin 505-247-9262
P.O. Box 10032
Albuquerque, NM 87184
Judith Ferrell-Holbrook 505-232-9440
6901 Sandalwood Place NE
Albuquerque, NM 87199-3997
Jamie McKenna 505-884-2550
6000 Indian School Rd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Allison P. Pieroni 505-883-3070
P.O. Box 3070
Albuquerque, NM 87190-3070
Santa Fe Area:
Ross Randall 505-424-0322
2416 Camino De Vida
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Shannon Bulman 505-820-1014
701 W Alameda St
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Across New Mexico:
Donna Quinn 575-762-4484
120 W 11
P.O.Box 490
Clovis, NM 88101
Randy Roberts 505-326-4583
4991 N. Butler
Farmington, NM 87401
Mark Taylor 575-624-2000
P.O. Box 898
Roswell, NM 88202-0898
Marci Byer 575-526-2101
2100 N. Main St. Suite 1
P.O. Drawer 2857
Las Cruces, NM 88004-2857


Adoption Assistance Agency | 2800 Eubank Blvd. NE | Albuquerque, NM 87112 | 505-821-7779


Adoptive Parents | Legal Issues | Is Adoption Right For Us?