Introduction To My Firm

family attorney servicesI started my law practice with the intention of assisting clients in independently adopting children. In 1980 I adopted my son independently and was familiar with the different services available to individuals and couples who choose to adopt an infant. Based upon my own experiences and my recognition that true personalized service in this area was lacking, I developed a specialized approach to assist clients in locating birth mothers who choose to place their children for adoption.

The primary goal of my firm is to provide a comprehensive adoption service to my clients. I personally speak with all the birth parents who contact my office both to learn as much about them as possible and their needs and wishes, and to determine if there are any legal or practical obstacles to adoption. I will secure from the birth parents (most often the birth mother alone) as much information as she is willing to share with me. I will inquire as to her personal circumstances, financial needs, medical care, physical description and appearance and any other information that you may desire in order to make a decision as to whether this birth mother is the one you want to work with. I will inquire as to why she is placing the child for adoption, explain to her the adoption process and ask her what is important to her in an adoptive family. I contact her physician and the hospital where she will deliver the child to make certain that the mother and child are in good health and, to the extent possible see that there will be no delays in having the newborn baby released to the adoptive family.

Most of my clients locate their birth mothers by means of newspaper advertisements in the personal ads section of the newspaper. While it is not legal to advertise for adoption in California, it is legal in at least thirty other states. The calls from the ads come directly to me. I do the screening for you. In the past eighteen years I have spoken to more than fifteen hundred respondents to my clients' ads, and have completed more than 1000 adoptions. One of the major benefits that my clients receive is my breadth of experience in dealing with pregnant women who are planning to place their children for adoption. While I am not a mind reader, I have enough experience to know a good situation from a bad one. Keep in mind that not all good situations conclude in a successful adoption, and not all bad ones fail, but most good situations lead to successful adoptions and most bad situations are more trouble than they are worth.

In most cases I have the direct day-to-day contact with the birth parent(s). My practice is set up this way to reduce the emotional stresses that are inherent in the process (for both my clients and the birth parents) from interfering with the successful placement of the child for adoption. Of course, there have been situations where the day-to-day contact between the parties has been direct with limited involvement by me, beyond the initial contact and necessary legal work. In these cases, the contact is handled in the direct manner because the adopting parents and the birth parents wanted it that way. I am always available to be the primary contact and intermediary if that is what the parties want (and in my experience, most do).

One of the benchmarks of true independent adoptions, and one about which I feel very strongly, is that there are no “rules” or “requirements,” beyond compliance with the law. All of the age, income, marital status and other restrictions that you may have heard about simply do not apply to independent adoptions. I am careful in my office to see to it that we do the adoption that you and your chosen birth parents want, and not the one that someone else thinks you want or, worse, “should” have.

Another feature of my firm is that my clients have direct and unlimited access to me. Purposefully, there are not layers of staff between my clients and me. When you call, if I am not otherwise engaged, I will answer the telephone myself. I know that my clients have retained me to represent their interests and I do so personally. Another feature of my practice is that I have structured my fees so that my clients are not charged for any time I spend speaking with them on the telephone, meeting face-to-face or writing to them. I recognize that adoption can be an emotional, difficult and often frustrating process for the adopting family, and I don't want a family to hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns because they are afraid that the legal fees are mounting. Therefore I have implemented a policy where after the modest initial retainer is paid, I do not bill for time spent with my clients in meetings, telephone calls or correspondence. This policy allows the clients to have all their questions addressed without fear of a large legal fee.

I recognize that the decision to adopt can be a difficult one, and that the process itself can be fraught with uncertainty. My goal is to help my clients through the process with consideration, advice, expertise, understanding and humor. My goal is to help you achieve the adoption you want in the manner that works best for you. I welcome the opportunity to discuss my approach to adoption, my policies or fees with you at any time.

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Stephen Ravel Attorney At Law
25 Central Ave., Los Gatos, CA 95030

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Contact Information

Stephen Ravel Attorney At Law

25 Central Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Phone: 408-399-4611
Fax: 408-399-4610
Email: sraal@earthlink.net