Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Dispute over Adoption of Native American Child

From The New York Times:

The 3-year-old boy who could upend a 40-year-old law aimed at protecting Native American children barreled into the suburban living room, merrily defying his parents’ prediction that he might be shy. He had a thatch of night-black hair and dark eyes that glowed with mischievous curiosity. As he pumped a stranger’s hand and scampered off to bounce on an indoor trampoline, his Superman cape floated behind him, as if trying to catch up.

Read more here.

June 8, 2019 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Man Sues Judge Who Ruins Wedding Day

From The Pocono Record:

A man who says he was unlawfully detained on his wedding day by a Pennsylvania judge who wrongly suspected he was in the United States illegally filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging violations of his constitutional rights.

Alexander Parker sued Camp Hill-based District Judge Elizabeth S. Beckley, two court entities and an unidentified court officer who, Parker says, told him he was not free to leave.

The federal lawsuit claims Guatemala-born Parker and his fiancee went to Beckley’s court office to get married in May 2017, but Beckley’s suspicions prompted her to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Read more here.

March 3, 2019 in Adoption, Current Affairs, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Hardship of an Open Adoption

From The Atlantic:

In America today, it’s quite normal for a family to adopt a child and maintain some degree of contact with the child’s birth parents. But as accepted as this is now, it’s a significant departure from the adoption practices that dominated for most of the 20th century, when “closed” adoptions were preferred (that is, adoptions in which children’s biological parents cease to be a part of their life after the adoption).

Slowly, in the later decades of the century, experts came to favor these more open processes. As the journalist-turned-adoption-advocate Adam Pertman wrote in his 2006 book, Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming Our Families—And America, “Social-work and mental-health experts have reached a consensus that greater openness offers an array of benefits for adoptees—from ongoing information about family medical issues to fulfillment of their innate desire to know about their genealogical histories, even if the expanded relationships prove difficult or complicated for some of the participants.”

Some 13 years later, Vanessa McGrady’s new book, Rock Needs River: A Memoir About a Very Open Adoption, reads like a real-life manifestation of Pertman’s theory on open adoptions—but it sheds some revealing light on the “difficult or complicated” part. Like Pertman, McGrady posits in her book that “open adoption is better … for the mental health of all involved,” but what Rock Needs River does most effectively is lay bare the stressful, painful, psychologically taxing situations that can result from open adoption. (Full disclosure: I am adopted, and my adoption is closed.)

Read more here.

February 10, 2019 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Transracial Adoptees On Their Racial Identity and Sense of Self

From NPR:

The story Nicole Chung was told about her adoption was always the same: "Your birth parents had just moved here from Korea. They thought they wouldn't be able to give you the life you deserved."

Her adoptive parents were white Catholics living in Oregon who told the story with joy: explaining that Chung was born 10 weeks premature, that her birth parents worried she would struggle all her life, that they believed adoption was the best thing for her.

As a child, Chung, the editor-in-here.chief of Catapult and a founding member of The Toast, accepted this story much in the same way all of us accept the narratives presented to us about the lives our families had before us. Chung writes that the story was a "kind of faith, one to rival any religion, informing our beliefs about ourselves and our families and our place in the world." Though she liked the prepackaged myth of her birth parents as selfless, wanting only the best for their daughter, as she became older Chung started to wonder if the story was the entire truth.

Read more here.

October 28, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Georgia Adoption Process Made Easier

From Politically Georgia:

A major overhaul of Georgia’s adoption laws went into effect this month, lifting some of the hurdles facing couples who want to adopt a child.

The adoption law, which took force Sept. 1, will ensure that Georgia residents can stay in-state rather than traveling elsewhere to adopt, said state Rep. Bert Reeves, the sponsor of the House Bill 159.

"It will make it easier for prospective parents to navigate the adoption process and adopt a child right here in Georgia,” said Reeves, R-Marietta.

“This law makes it easier for Georgia’s most vulnerable children to find permanent, stable and loving homes,” said House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. 

Read more here.

September 14, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Childhood Trauma Brings its Own Health Problems for Foster Families

From The Washington Post:

“Raise your hand if you think every child deserves a loving home,” the social worker said.

She held up a photo of five brothers and sisters, all teenagers.

I glanced around the room and tried to read the eyes of other potential foster-care parents at the information session. A dozen couples and a handful of singles ranging in age from late 20s to mid-50s sat in the conference room of a private nonprofit agency in Maryland that handles foster placements. Did they feel as uncertain as I did?

People often say they can’t be a foster parent because it would be too painful to grow close to a child only to say goodbye. But with more than 430,000 kids in foster care in the United States and a decline in the number of available beds in licensed foster homes, according to the Chronicle of Social Change, I wondered whether the real reason for the shortage of foster parents stems from the unspoken fear I harbored: concern about the health and behavioral challenges of kids who had experienced trauma.

Read more here.

September 4, 2018 in Adoption, Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ireland Repository Refuses Release of 70,000 Adoption Records


Tusla has refused repeated requests from the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) for access to certain adoption records it holds.

Tusla is the largest repository of adoption records in the country, holding around 70,000 records from former adoption societies. A further 30,000 are held by the AAI, and some 50,000 are held by accredited agencies.

As the regulatory body for adoption in Ireland, the AAI has the power to inspect and copy all records held by bodies accredited under the Adoption Act 2010.

However, despite holding almost 50% of all adoption records in existence, Tusla is not an accredited body under the act and the AAI has no power over how it holds these records.

Read more here

August 28, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Australia Revokes Ban on Adoption of Children from India

From Sputnik International:

India's Ministry of Women and Child Development confirmed on Tuesday that Australia has revoked a ban it imposed eight years ago on the adoption of children from India over trafficking concerns.

Earlier on Monday, Australia's Assistant Minister for Children and Families David Gillespie said that India had "improved its processes" to comply with The Hague Convention on Adoption and could rejoin the 13 countries still on Australia's approved adoption list. 

Indian law mandates that adoption shall be finalized by a court order within a period of two months from the date of filing of the application. To address a delay in the adoption process, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed empowering local level administration (District Magistrates), instead of "Courts" for issuing orders under adoption proceedings.

Read more here.

August 24, 2018 in Adoption, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Migrant Children Face Threat of International Adoption

From The Intercept:

WHEN NEWS REPORTS first began to emerge that 81 of the migrant children recently separated from their parents had been sent into the care of one of the largest adoption agencies in the country, the response was swift alarm. Was the government planning on creating “social orphans” out of the children, then offering them up for adoption?

Horrified observers had already drawn parallels between the separation crisis and the blatantly assimilationist treatment of Native American children, starting with their mass removal to boarding schools in the late 19th Century and continuing through the Indian Adoption Project, which from the late 1950s to early 1970s removed 25 to 35 percent of all Native American children from their families. Or how U.S. slavery systematically broke apart families, selling children away from their parents. A number pointed out that the forcible transfer of children from one group of people to another fits the United Nations definition of genocide.

To adoption reform advocates, who monitor unethical and abusive practices in child welfare, it looked like any number of adoption crises in the past, like the airlifts out of Haiti in the wake of its cataclysmic 2010 earthquake. Then, masses of unaccompanied children were suddenly labeled orphans and became the focus of a deafening campaign in the U.S. to rescue them through inter-country adoption, even as Haitian adults were being warned not to try to come themselves.

Read more here.

August 4, 2018 in Adoption, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Religious Adoption Agencies in Philadelphia Can't Exclude Gay Couples

From Metro Weekly:

Last week, a federal judge ruled that religiously-affiliated child placement agencies do not have a right to refuse to place children with same-sex couples by citing religious beliefs.

Judge Petrese B. Tucker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that the city of Philadelphia can keep in place its policy requiring all the foster and adoption agencies with which it contracts to abide by the city’s nondiscrimination policies, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Tucker found that because CSS refuses to place children with same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals, they had violated the city’s nondiscrimination law, and are therefore not entitled to continue to receive taxpayer dollars. Currently, the organization has a $19.4 million contract with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, reports NBC News.

Read more here.

July 23, 2018 in Adoption, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Couple Adopts Baby Through Instagram

From WSB-TV Atlanta:

Some people hoping to adopt a baby are turning to social media rather than traditional agencies.

Jaimie and Brian Dorn of Long Island in New York, who have two children from his previous marriage, used Instagram to help them expand their family.

After struggling to have a baby together, the Dorns started pursuing adoption. When they decided that traditional adoption agencies weren't for them, a friend suggested that they try independent adoption and advertise using Instagram, they said.

Read more here.

July 18, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Indiana Unseals Thousands of Adoption Records


For the first time in decades, thousands of adoption records are unsealed and available to adoptees across the state after a new state law went into effect on July 1.

She was born at Riverview Hospital in Noblesville: That's about all Indianapolis resident Barbara Allen, who was adopted, said she knows about where she came from.

"I've never been given a lot of information about me. I don't know anything, other than my father was Greek. That's what I was told," Allen said.

Allen said she has searched for years to answer questions such as why her eyes are so distinctly green.

"My son can say 'Oh, I get it from my mom, or I get it from my dad.' I have no idea where I got it (her green eyes) from. I don't know why they're like that. I wish I knew," said Allen.

Read more here.

July 10, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

California Bans Travel to Oklahoma Based on its Discriminatory LBGT Adoption Law

From USA Today:

Add Oklahoma to the list of states to which California is banning state-funded and state-sponsored travel.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Friday that as a result of "discriminatory legislation" that became Oklahoma law last month, the western state will prohibit travel to its midwestern counterpart.

A 2017 California law requires that its attorney general keeps a list of states subject to a state travel ban because of "laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression," Becerra's office said in a statement.

Read more here.

June 16, 2018 in Adoption, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Louisiana Teachers Will Get Paid Leave Time After Adoption

From NOLA:

Louisiana's public school teachers will be allowed paid leaves of absence for up to 30 days after adopting a child.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed into law the measure by Rep. Rick Edmonds, a Baton Rouge Republican, requiring school districts to grant the leave time.

Schools already had been required to allow maternity leave for teachers and certain other school employees. Edmonds' bill extends the provisions to include adoption.

Read more here.


June 12, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act Passes Senate

From Senator Susan Collins:

Today, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA) celebrated the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S. 1091), which would create a federal task force charged with supporting grandparents raising grandchildren as the opioid epidemic increases their numbers. The U.S. House of Representatives must pass the legislation before it becomes law. The bill is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 15 senators and supported by a wide array of child welfare and aging organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics and AARP.

Approximately 2.6 million children are being raised by their grandparents and experts say this number is rising as the opioid epidemic devastates communities across the country. Senators Collins and Casey, who are both members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act last year after an Aging Committee hearing during which witnesses testified about the need for grandparents to have easy access to information about resources available to assist them.

Read more here.

June 10, 2018 in Adoption, Child Abuse, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Connecticut Encourages LGBT Families to Adopt

From The Hill:

Connecticut is working to actively recruit LGBT families to adopt and foster children, even as other states pass laws allowing agencies to ban them.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) has launched an outreach campaign and will begin working with LGBT organizations and community centers to encourage people to apply to become adoptive or foster parents, according to The Associated Press.

Similar efforts are also underway in New York City and San Francisco.

Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) said that he wants Connecticut to be known as a state that welcomes the LGBT community, adding that more than 4,000 children are in state care and about half of them likely won't return to their biological parents.

Read more here.


May 25, 2018 in Adoption, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Northern Territory Parliament Passes Same-Sex Adoption Law

From Australian Broadcasting Corporation: 

In the remote community of Hermannsburg, about 130 kilometres west of Alice Springs, married couple Kara and Bronwyn Blair-Stuart are celebrating.

The Northern Territory Parliament, overlooking the Arafura Sea in Darwin, might be a long way from the Red Centre, but a change in law has given this married bush couple more choice.

Last week both sides of Parliament agreed to axe an old adoption law that only allowed married heterosexual couples, or those in a traditional Aboriginal marriage, the right to adopt children.

Read more here. 


March 19, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

ACLU Fights Michigan Faith-Based Adoption Law

From The Wichita Eagle:

Kansas adoption and foster agencies could refuse placements that go against their religious beliefs — including placements with gay and lesbian couples — under bills in two legislative committees.

Opponents of the bills say they would allow discrimination against same-sex couples, decreasing the number of foster and adoptive parents in a system struggling to keep up.

Proponents say that many faith-based adoption agencies in Kansas would be forced to close if required to place children against their religious beliefs. The bill wouldn’t change anything, supporters say, but put into law practices that are already in place.

Read more here.

March 14, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Most Inclusive Adoption Grant Program:

From Forbes:

When Becky Fawcett and her husband pursued adoption twelve years ago, she quickly learned that the adoption process was suited for families defined as “a white woman married to a white man who worshiped a certain way and planned to adopt a certain way.” Fawcett didn’t accept this definition of family and was frustrated that more adoption agencies weren’t empowering families, including single and LGBTQ parents, to build the families they envisioned.

Feeling frustrated, Fawcett directed her energy into writing a business plan “for the nation’s only non-discriminatory adoption grant program that does not define family, does not define religion, does not define adoption and does not charge an application fee.” The result is, founded 2007.

Read more here.

March 10, 2018 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ethiopia Bans Foreign Adoption

From CNN:

Ethiopia has banned the adoption of Ethiopian children by foreign families, according to the country's state-run News Agency ENA, citing concerns over abuse.

Ethiopian officials previously suspended adoptions back in November, but allowed pending cases to continue through the process, according to the US Department of State.
Children adopted by foreign families in the past have been exposed to "various crimes and social crisis in the country they grew up in," ENA said.
Read more here.

February 20, 2018 in Adoption, International | Permalink | Comments (0)