While each of Bonnie's clients rely on her expertise, there are some basics about the adoption process which each family should know.
Most families come to adoption with a ton of questions - about California's laws, the role of an adoption attorney, and the challenges families may face during the adoption process. To learn how our office can help your family, click here.
Bonnie's years of experience with California adoption law offer a significant benefit to families beginning the adoption process.
Perhaps you have an adoption question that wasn't addressed on our website. That's why we've set up this section, where you can submit your question directly to Bonnie and receive a personalized response.
There's no experience quite like adoption. It's a unique and rewarding journey, from the moment you match with a birthmother through to the birth of your child. The adoption process, however, can be a difficult one, and along the way families can expect challenges — emotional, legal and financial. That's why it's so important to have the right attorney, one who understands the legal details of adoption and is driven by a sense of compassion.
It's those features that have distinguished Bonnie Johnson. The adoption lawyer has established her reputation by being a true advocate for her families. "It's my job to guide families through the process, step by step," she says. "I understand the law, so they don't have to."
Still, says Johnson, there are some basics that every family should know as they enter the adoption process.
First, she encourages families to think about what kind of adoption is right for them. Are you looking for continued contact with a birthmother, or are you looking for more limited contact? Either way, it is important to learn about your birthmother.
Bonnie makes that easy by pre-screening birthparents for you. She collects information about the birthparents' lives — their financial status, their education, their thoughts on adoption. Johnson also requests a birthmother's medical records to gain important info about the child's health. With this information, Johnson's families are well-prepared to decide whether or not an adoption situation is right for them.
After her families match with a birthmother, Bonnie guides them through a second key aspect of a successful adoption: assisting the birthmother. Many birth moms come to adoption without the income to handle basic needs, like food or shelter. To insure the health of the birthmother and the baby, it's important for families to assist with these pregnancy-related expenses.
For financial matters like these, having a knowledgeable attorney is especially important. "In California there are very strict laws governing what assistance is legal and what is not," says Johnson. A specialist in adoption law, Johnson maintains the legality of every match by managing all the adoption-related expenses. When a birthmother has financial concerns, she goes directly to Bonnie.
"In my experience, this does more than maintain the legality of each adoption. It's also a great relief to my families, having me resolve all the financial questions as they come up." Finally, says Johnson, the most significant thing for a family to know before heading into an adoption is the importance of a good attorney.
"To do an adoption right, an attorney has to be there for her families. She has to be the go-to person when any questions pop up," says Johnson. "To be there for my families, I keep my cell phone on at all times — because I know, adoption is a 24/7 practice."
Below are some frequently asked questions about our legal services. If your question was not answered here or you'd simply like more information, feel free to contact us at (925) 943-5400.
1. To adopt a baby, do we need an adoption attorney?
2. What services does an adoption attorney provide?
3. What services does an adoption attorney provide?
4. We understand that Ms. Johnson is well-known for her connection with adoptive families. How did she earn that reputation?
5. Does Ms. Johnson work with single-parent and gay and lesbian families?
6. What gives Ms. Johnson her unique understanding of adoptive families' needs?
7. After matching with a birthmother, how can we assure the health of our baby?
8. If our birthmother needs special assistance, will Ms. Johnson be able to help?
9. We have concerns or questions about the adoption process, and we're looking for someone knowledgeable to answer those questions. Can we turn to Ms. Johnson for answers?
10. We're ready to begin the adoption process, but we're nervous about adoption's emotional ups and downs. How would Ms. Johnson assist us?
11. We're ready to get started. What's the first step?
Every family comes to the adoption process with questions. For families who are new to the process, those questions can seem overwhelming. That's where Bonnie Johnson can help. Johnson focuses on adoption law and for years has been working to help families build successful adoption plans. She knows from experience that the structure of an adoption can be complex, and it takes a steady hand to insure that the legal, financial and emotional pieces fit together.
"I've always believed that success in adoption is more than helping couples to grow their family," Bonnie says. "It's also being there for couples from the beginning, answering all their questions, making any adjustments, helping the adoption proceed as smoothly as possible."
"I want my families to be comfortable from the very beginning," she says. For Johnson's families, a large part of that comfort comes from seeing firsthand her expertise with the intricate laws of adoption. Financial matters, for one, are often an uncomfortable concern for adoptive families. California has strict regulations covering precisely what type of support a family can and cannot offer a birthmother. Bonnie defuses those worries by handling all pregnancy-related expenses and working directly with each birthmother, setting up solutions to every financial concern.
Johnson's experience plays a key role in other matters as well, like resolving issues of parental rights. For example, in some adoptions the identity of the birthfather is not immediately clear. In those cases, once more there are important nuances to California's laws, differentiating the rights of the presumed birthfather from those of the alleged birthfather.
Among other strengths, Bonnie is known for her ability to resolve such matters smoothly and quickly.
"Often," she says, "you can judge the success of an adoption by what doesn't happen. If a complication, say, regarding parental rights comes up and we can resolve the issue right away, then the adoption can proceed without a hitch. It's times like that when I'm glad to be there for my families."
Families come to Bonnie at every stage in the adoption process. Because of her expertise, she's able to help those at the very beginning, as they craft their "Dear Birthmother" letter, or those nearing the end, as they prepare for their child's birth.
"I make it my duty to be there for my families at every stage. I'm their guide, their advocate, the go-to person for their concerns," Johnson says. "I keep my cell phone at all times, 24/7. My families know that if they need me, I'm there."
**Everything you submit through this form is not confidential.
The Law Office of Bonnie L. Johnson
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