* Your Oct. 17 editorial "Proceed with Caution on Adoptions" made several important points.
As an adoption attorney who is an adoptive parent and a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers, I applaud The Times' efforts to inform the public about established resources to help adoptive parents safeguard their emotional and financial well-being while adopting.
However, your editorial may misled those interested in adoption about the time involved in the process. Contrary to your statement that adoptions can take five to seven years, my experience in my adoption law practice has been that most couples can adopt in far less time.
While some adoptive parents have requirements that result in a longer search for a birth mother, the majority are able to adopt within three to 12 months. If handled by a skilled and competent adoption attorney, the post-birth finalization process through the county takes no more than six to nine months.
Many local agencies charge substantially more than private attorneys who assist adoptive and birth parents through the adoption process. Some of those agencies also have age restrictions that prevent adoptive parents from using their services. The wait to adopt from those agencies and from the county, it is true, can take years.
Finally, clients of qualified attorneys are able to obtain "change of mind" insurance to protect them financially in the event of a birth mother's change of mind or fraud. No amount of such insurance ever makes the sting of a failed adoption easier to bear, nor should adoption insurance be viewed as a substitute for careful deliberation and the assistance of competent qualified legal counsel throughout the adoption process.
DAVID H. BAUM