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Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA)

 

September 11, 2010

Section: Opinion

Edition: Main; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Page: A15

A good adoption attorney is hard to find

Craig Allen

 

For the AJC

The AJC reported recently that a Stockbridge attorney is alleged to have forged a judge's signature to advance four adoption cases she was handling for Catholic Charities in Atlanta. The attorney could be in deep trouble.
How can anyone -- Catholic Charities or individuals -- predict who can best handle their needs in an adoption case given the array of attorneys out there?

I've concluded that dumb luck plays a big part.

Our intent in 2003 was to adopt my wife's 11-year-old grandson. His mother had let him live with us during a rough patch she'd been going through and, as time went on, we determined for his well-being and legal protection that we should adopt him.

The first attorney we visited seemed unsure about adoption law in Georgia because he'd just moved here.

He said he'd take the case, but it could cost $10,000 or more to finalize. This seemed a steep price to pay someone new to the state.

The next attorney we consulted was recommended by a lawyer who advertised in our church bulletin.

He advised that adoption wasn't his thing, but the attorney he could recommend was experienced in adoption cases.

Turns out, she was experienced enough to get a $1,500 retainer out of us, but that was about it.

We soon canceled this arrangement after witnessing her "standard" contract, which included some items we thought unnecessary, but which the attorney refused to remove.

Enter dumb luck. (What else is the Internet for?) My wife searched local attorney websites and came up with a golden name: Josie Redwine.

She practices adoption law in Cobb County and handled our case competently and without delay.

She is well-credentialed and has completed more than 3,000 adoptions. Ours went without a hitch and cost far less than $10,000.

One of the things we liked about Redwine was how she told us about her personal experience with adoption and that this was the reason she became an attorney. Another was her involvement within the adoption community -- with education and outreach.

Josie Redwine told me recently that her focus is 99 percent adoptions and it's best not to hire inexperienced attorneys, who may charge a "huge fee to cover their learning curve," she said.

The best advice we gave ourselves was not to rush it. Attorneys are out there who care enough to represent you every step of the way. Josie Redwine, along with her fine staff, is one of them.

Copyright 2010 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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