Choosing an Attorney

Why Hire an Adoption Attorney?

Whether you are adopting independently or through an agency, almost all adoptions require an attorney. You will need an attorney to finalize your adoption, as well as to prepare all of the legal documents and forms required in the adoption process.

In Independent Adoptions: The adoptive parents and the birth parents must be represented by separate attorneys. The adoptive parents are responsible for paying the birth parents’ legal fees.

In Agency Adoptions: The adoptive parents must be represented by an attorney for the finalization process and for any other legal issues that arise. The birth parents rarely need a lawyer to assist them with an agency adoption; if they do have one, the adoptive parents are responsible for paying their legal fees.

How to Choose an Adoption Attorney

Choosing an attorney is an important and personal decision, especially for a process as complicated and emotionally significant as adoption. We recommend that you ask any attorney the following questions, and make sure that you trust and feel comfortable with the attorney you choose.

  • Is your practice focused on adoptions?

    Adoption law is a complicated area of law with unique issues that are not always well known or understood by general domestic relations attorneys. John Chally has focused on all areas of adoption law for over 35 years.

  • What is your philosophy on adoption?

    We are dedicated to openness in adoption, including some degree of contact between birth parents and adopted children throughout their lives. We believe that open adoptions are the most rewarding form of adoption for everyone involved.

  • How long have you been in practice?

    John Chally was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1975 and has focused on adoption law since the beginning of his practice. Sandra Hodgson was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1987 and has been practicing adoption law since 1988. Tabitha Koh was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 2009 and has been practicing adoption law since then. They have a combined experience of over 60 years.

  • How many adoptions did you handle within the past year?

    Our attorneys handled approximately 150 adoption-related cases last year.

  • Can you assist if a complication arises and the adoption is contested?

    John Chally has extensive experience as a litigator representing adoptive families and agencies in adoption litigation in Oregon and Washington.

  • Do you have any special legal memberships or affiliations?

    John Chally, Sandra Hodgson, and Tabitha Lundberg Koh are members of the Oregon and Washington State Bar Associations. They are also members of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, which is a national organization of attorneys who focus their practice in the field of adoption. There are extensive requirements for practical experience, ethics, competence, and professionalism to be considered for admission to the Academy. In addition, they are also members of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys. Please see our About Us page for more information.