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Knoxville Adoption Lawyers

Adoption is a wonderful way to grow your family and provide a permanent, loving home for a child in need. While the adoption process is an incredibly exciting time for families, many people also find it very stressful. You will undoubtedly have a multitude of questions and concerns throughout the process. Our law firm is here to stand with you throughout the adoption process and address your questions and concerns as they arise. At Held Law Firm we handle many types of adoption cases, including adoptions from foster care, relative adoptions, private adoptions, and more. Our adoption lawyers are prepared to help you take the next steps in welcoming a new addition to your family.

What the Typical Adoption Process Looks Like at Held Law Firm:

Step 1: Determine if you are eligible to adopt in Tennessee.

To be eligible to adopt in Tennessee:

  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You must be a Tennessee resident.
  • You can be married, divorced, or single.
  • You may or may not have children already in the home.
  • You may or may not work full time outside the home.
  • You must be able to financially support yourself and your family.
  • You may rent or own your home.

Step 2: Complete a Home Study

The Department of Children’s Services (DCS) will conduct a formal home study through a licensed agency. The purpose of the home study is to ensure that your home is safe and suitable for a child to live in. It also includes a study of you as a potential parent. The home study agency will conduct a background check and will ask you to present various documentation, such as birth certificates, a marriage certificate if you are married, letters from employers to show financial stability, and references from people in the community. The home study agency will also interview you to help them determine your suitability as a parent. Home studies are anxiety-provoking for some families, but we can help demystify this process and prepare you for what you can expect when you participate in a home study.

Step 3: Participate in TNKey Training

TNKey stands for “knowledge empowers you.” TNKey Training is designed to help prospective parents learn to communicate effectively with children—especially children who may have experienced some form of trauma. Unless you are considering a kinship adoption, you will be required to complete this training before adopting a child.

Step 4: Finalizing the Adoption with the Court

Once you have completed all of the steps required by the state, and your child is legally freed for adoption, we will draft and file a petition with the court to grant you an adoption. Typically courts then require a six-month waiting period after the petition is filed, but this is sometimes waived if the court thinks it is in the best interest of the child. Once the waiting period has either ended or been waived, we will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the judge signs the final order of adoption to complete the process. Once the judge has signed the order, your adoption will be official! These hearings are typically joyous occasions and you may decide—as many people do—to bring in the whole family to help celebrate.

Of course, it is important to realize that the steps above represent only a very general idea of what the adoption process looks like for most people. Just as every family is different, the adoption process can look very different depending upon the type of adoption you are considering and what your family’s specific circumstances are. No matter what that process looks like for your family, we are there to guide you through it every step of the way.


If you are ready to take the first steps toward adopting a child, or if you have already begun the process but need legal help to see it through, call us at 865-637-6550. Our Knoxville adoption lawyers want to help you expand your family.