Prior to an adoption taken place, the rights of the natural parent(s) must be terminated. This may occur via consent, voluntary relinquishment or involuntary termination. Regardless of the method of termination, each county is responsible for keeping a list of qualified counselors who are available to assist natural parents contemplating voluntary relinquishment or facing termination of parental rights. There is a filing fee due for each adoption petition that is filed. The amount of the filing fee varies by county. A portion of the filing fee goes to support the county counseling fund which subsidizes the costs for counseling where the natural parent(s) desire to participate but are unable to afford it.

If the natural parent(s) appear at the termination hearing the court must ask the natural parent(s) if counseling services were utilized prior to any decree terminating their rights. If the natural(s) have not received any counseling, the court may briefly postpone a decision on the termination to allow the natural parent(s) an opportunity to seek counseling. The Center for Adoption Support and Education is a national leader in counseling services including counseling for natural parents whose children have been adopted or placed in foster care. For additional information visit https://adoptionsupport.org/.