Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category

Reaction to Russian Adoption Ban

Posted on December 29th, 2012 in Adoption, Ethics, Legislation, Noteworthy Decisions | No Comments »

For years, the international adoption program in Russia has offered thousands of children facing bleak futures the chance to thrive in the homes of loving US adoptive parents. To make a political statement [filled with collateral damage], Russia has now closed this avenue. Additionally, Russia’s throw-in comment that part of its reasoning for this decision is that children have been abused in significant numbers after arriving in the US is nothing more than a nonsensical attempt at justification.

But the Russia ban also raises other issues and exposes long-held myths regarding international vs. domestic adoption. Some adoptive parents are drawn to international adoption out of a fear that domestic adoption means a less secure adoption: one that involves the continued threat that biological parent(s) will “take the child away” after placement. The reality is that if properly handled – with separate lawyers for biological and adoptive parents – and complete documentation/court proceedings, this is beyond a remote possibility. Other times, adopters here in the US are under the false belief that it takes years to locate a suitable situation [birth mother] or that the costs of a domestic adoption far exceed the costs of an international adoption. With smart marketing, the time to placement can be months and not years [though it is hard to gauge with more specificity] and costs – on average – are on a par with most international adoptions.

New Jersey – Woman Who Conceived Child With Donated Sperm and Turkey Baster Could Not Terminate Sperm Donor’s Parental Rights

Posted on June 13th, 2011 in Adoption, Assisted Reproduction, Noteworthy Decisions | No Comments »

A New Jersey Court refused to terminate the parental rights of a sperm donor at the request of the donor and the mother of the child who was conceived with the aid of a turkey baster.

Opinion available below:


New Jersey: Intended Mother Not Biologically Related to Child Must Adopt

Posted on February 24th, 2011 in Adoption, Assisted Reproduction, Egg Donation, Embryo Donation, Legislation, Noteworthy Decisions, Surrogacy | No Comments »

The appellate division held that a married woman had to adopt her husband’s child.

The child was created with her husband’s sperm and a donor egg.   The resultant embryo was then transferred into a gestational carrier who gave birth to the child.   The married woman argued that if she was artificially inseminated with donor semen, her husband would be considered the legal father pursuant to New Jersey statute.   While the statute does provide for legal recognition of the husband, the Court distinguished this case and required an adoption.

Gay Adoption Case Originating in Louisiana Back Before Federal Appeals Court

Posted on January 19th, 2011 in Adoption | No Comments »

Despite rulings from a Federal District Court and the Appellate Division of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Louisiana insists that the names of a child’s parents cannot be placed on their son’s birth certificiate because they are unmarried and Louisiana does not allow unmarried parents to adopt.  The adoption was finalized in New York.   A sixteen judge panel is scheduled to rehear the case today.

ACARAL Members on Albany Law School Panel

Posted on October 14th, 2010 in Adoption, Egg Donation | No Comments »

Theresa Erickson and Sanford Benardo will be speaking at the Albany Law School on October 28.  The Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology has dedicated its 20th anniversary symposium to assisted reproductive technology.

The topic of Theresa’s talk is: “The Practice of ART Law from a Practitioner’s Perspective – How Law and Science Interact in the Real World.” Sanford’s talk will be on the concerns of recipients and concerns of donors in egg donor contracts.

Click here for more info.  (The symposium can always be viewed live via web.)

Embryo Donation: No “Adoption” Required

Posted on December 2nd, 2009 in Adoption, Assisted Reproduction, Embryo Donation, Embryo Storage | 1 Comment »

With the advent of IVF, what to do with excess (or leftover) embryos became a surprising problem for infertile couples. Previously, they had no family; now, they have a family of embryos! Embryos that may be donated, without the need for adoption.

After creating a family with a few of the embryos, many of those couples (or single parents) choose to donate the excess embryos to other individuals for conception. This is a real alternative to destruction and donation to scientific research.

The legalities of donating embryos to another infertile person(s) is relatively simple: it involves a contract between the donating and recipient parties. The parties’ identities may be guarded by the respective attorneys. It is viewed as any other donation of genetic material. However, some intermediaries call this process “embryo adoption.” That is a misnomer – no adoption is necessary. As the ASRM stated this month, the correct term is, in fact, “embryo donation”. “Home visits, judicial review and other adoption procedures are not necessary and not appropriate for a patient whose case entails what is most accurately characterized medically as a tissue donation,” stated in December issue of the journal Fertility & Sterility.

Parties with excess embryos should not be dissuaded from giving their unwanted embryos to another infertile person and couples should not be discouraged from receiving them because of inaccurate beliefs that they would have to undergo an adoption.

Adoption advocates up in arms over Orphan movie

Posted on July 21st, 2009 in Adoption, Popular Culture | 1 Comment »

In this movie, a husband and wife lose a baby and adopt a nine-year-old girl who is “not nearly as innocent as she seems.”

The social work and adoption advocacy community have reacted to the trailer (the movie does not open until Friday, July 24) by calling for boycotts of Warner Bros.  There is little doubt that this film does not cast adoption in a positive light, though I don’t believe it is as reprehensible as they are making it out to be.  It’s a simple summertime horror film, not some incisive documentary about the dangers of adopting an older child.  In fact, the protagonist herself is the one who issues the taunt on the trailer (see below).

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?