Author Archive

Birth mothers: Behind the scenes (Part 1)

Posted on June 17th, 2009 in Adoption | No Comments »

In my private law practice, I represent birth mothers throughout New York State quite often.  Maybe it’s just the diversity we have here in New York, but I’ve found that the birth moms I have been privileged to work with really do come from all walks of life.  A representative sampling – over the years – includes an investment banker, a jewelry designer, the daughter of a banker, a waitress, two Orthodox Jewish women, several unemployed single moms, a woman struggling to get off drugs, and a graduate student in the humanities (throw in a hedge fund trader birth father client, too).

To be sure, there is virtually always an economic disparity between the adoptive parent’s means and those of the birth mother.  But what may surprise many people is that not all birth moms are looking to “back up the truck” and load-up on living expense money to the maximum extent permitted by law.  More than a few – with legitimate financial needs and claims – choose to tough it out because NOT asking for the help actually makes them feel better about themselves and the circumstances surrounding their decision to provide their baby for adoption.

Madonna’s pursuit of her second adoption from Malawi

Posted on May 26th, 2009 in Adoption, Popular Culture | No Comments »

It is hard to criticize someone who wishes to adopt, especially when the child of choice is from an impoverished African nation and would otherwise languish in an orphanage or foster home for most, if not all, of his or her childhood.  And I think that Madonna’s heart is in the right place.  But only someone with as public a profile as Madonna (Angelina Jolie, for instance) could stir-up such controversy when attempting to do such good.  While others focus on the fast-tracking of Madonna’s procedural obligations (recently dealt a setback by a Malawian judge), the more interesting issue, to me, is the potential to exacerbate an already damaging (because it is largely true) public perception issue that exists in the world of international adoption: the sense that being selected by an adoptive parent who is choosing among waiting children in an orphanage or foster home is analogous to winning the lottery.  Each child who makes it out is lucky beyond measure and the ones who go unpicked have to stick it out where they are.

But with Madonna, everything is more intense.  She swoops in with her entourage and identifies a child she wants – the others are not selected – but she also provides significant and desperately needed funding through her Raising Malawi Foundation to help make the day-to-day lives of those left behind much better.  So it’s hard to begrudge her what amounts – to some – as a trophy, no?

Introducing ACARAL

Posted on April 6th, 2009 in ACARAL News | No Comments »

The American College of Assisted Reproduction and Adoption Lawyers (ACARAL) is a not-for-profit organization formed to share ideas, advance understanding, promote ethical standards and serve as a public resource in these constantly evolving areas of law.

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