Articles Posted in Adoption

blog_rainbowflag1-300x199While surrogacy is not legal in many parts of the world, there are also countries, like Israel, that allow some, but not all citizens, to become parents through surrogacy.  Under current Israeli law, only heterosexual partners can enter surrogacy agreements, with an amendment in the works that would allow single woman to legally use surrogacy. This means that in Israel, same-sex couples and single men cannot become parents using a surrogate.

In 2015, two activist groups filed a petition to get rid of the ban on surrogacy for same-sex couples. The hearing was scheduled for July 20, 2017, but has been pushed back to September 19, 2017. The Israeli Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry has said they “will take the position that the prohibition on same-sex surrogacy is not about discrimination, and it is more complicated.” They are suggesting a complete redo of the current foster care system, and argue that “only after the reform should lawmakers be asked to change the laws in favor of additional groups.” Udi Ledergor, Chairman of the Associates of Israeli Gay Fathers, said “We will continue to fight until we have removed the darkness and discrimination.” Check back on our blog in the coming months for more information on the Ministry’s decision, as it becomes available.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

videoblocks-foster-care-word-cloud-text-design-animation-kinetic-typography_sfucn7jnx_thumbnail-medium08-300x169Adoption is an excellent form of creating a family for those affected by infertility. This post focuses specifically on foster care adoption. There are more than 110,000 children in the foster care system, but nearly 20,000 of these children will never find their adoptive home according to the US Foster Care System. Rita Soronen, the chief executive of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, states, “Foster care adoption hasn’t always been an easy conversation, but all of us in the child welfare stratosphere have tried to educate the public to change misconceptions about foster care.” This awareness effort seems to be paying off, because according to the 2017 US Adoption Attitudes Survey, nearly 80% of people looking to adopt for the first time would consider a child in foster care, which is 7% more than in 2012. Denise Henderson, a single mom who adopted through the foster care system, says, “My daughter came to live with us as a newborn. It took three long years before the courts freed her for adoption. The weight that lifted off me in that moment was incredible.” This is a similar story for many parents who adopt through the foster system. The adoption process may be lengthy at times as it is conducted through the juvenile court systems, but is very rewarding in the end and makes a huge difference in children’s lives.

There are many organizations working toward making the process easier by placing children in homes that are best suited for them and making the transition easier for them. One organization in Indiana, Children’s Bureau, has helped more than 46,000 children and families since 2014. The Villages, another foster agency, serves more than 3,000 kids a day across Indiana. For many parents the happiness that comes with adoption overcomes the struggles that often accompany the foster care system.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

nevada-43769_960_720-215x300Nevada recently passed a new law that significantly improves surrogacy and adoption laws in the state. First, it gender neutralizes all adoption and assisted reproductive technology statutes. The law, effective July 1, 2017, will now refer to an “acknowledgment of paternity” as an “acknowledgment of parentage.” This strips away the old language and allows the law to recognize the variety of family types and structures that exist today. Nevada attorney Kimberly Mae Surratt, who helped get these laws passed, commented, “we gender neutralized every single statute in the State of Nevada and it was done with bipartisan support.” The changes in adoption laws include that petitioners to an adoption don’t have to live in the state of Nevada to adopt in the Nevada, which used to only allow non-residents petitioners to adopt if the child was in custody of an agency which provided child welfare services.

This new statue also expands the ability to obtain a parentage order in the state. In surrogacy arrangements, parentage orders can now be obtained in these situations: the child was born in Nevada or is anticipated to be born in Nevada; the Intended Parents reside in Nevada or resided there when the contract was executed; the Gestational Carrier resides in Nevada; the contract was executed in Nevada; and medical procedures were performed in Nevada. This long list of ways to obtain a parentage order largely facilitates the surrogacy process for all parties involved. Nevada is one of few states that have recently made large leaps in dispensing with old laws that address family building; replacing them with much more progressive ones.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

ME_23_00_sm-150x150Earlier this year, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld the Rockland District Court’s decision that found a de facto parentage relationship between Jessica Lisio’s two biological children and her transgender domestic partner, Tammy Thorndike. Lisio and Thorndike, who identifies as male, began a relationship and decided to have a child together. In 2009, Lisio and Thorndike registered as domestic partners and later Lisio gave birth to their daughter. Their relationship began to fall apart a few months later, but Thorndike and Lisio maintained their existing parental roles. Thorndike finally moved out and two years later, filed a complaint for a determination of paternity and parental rights and responsibilities, which Lisio opposed, arguing that Thorndike had no parental rights. The Court found that “Thorndike undertook a permanent and responsible parental role in the children’s lives”, and that the children would be negatively affected if Thorndike was removed from their lives.

This case is a prime example of how the laws and court system are delayed and could have been avoided had the two parties taken proactive steps to establish their parental rights and responsibilities. In this case, a second-parent adoption lets the non-biological parent adopt a child without the biological parents losing their rights. Also, if the relationship ends, it still allows the adoptive parent to have custody and visitation rights. It’s important to keep in mind that Indiana has become one of a handful of states that now puts both biological and non-biological married same-sex parents on the birth certificate. Therefore, a second-parent adoption is not always necessary in this scenario. Meet with an experienced adoption and reproductive law attorney to learn more about when a second-parent adoption may be required.

In the many states that don’t recognize second-parent adoption, there is the option of a co-parenting agreement which lays out the intentions of the parents regarding the care of the children. This will help protect the intent of the non-biological parent toward the care of the child in the event that the relationship ends. This decision also strengthens the case for establishment of parentage in non-biological parents that use donor egg, which can sometimes arise in a gestational surrogacy. Many states don’t have clear laws on whether parentage can be established using donor egg, so taking intent into consideration fortifies the argument for establishment of legal parentage in non-biological parents.

Workplace
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption recently released its annual “100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces” list. The Foundation has compiled a yearly list of workplaces that offer the best policies for employees growing their families through adoption since 2007. The criteria involve benefits such as financial assistance and paid leave for adoptive families. Employers submit applications and complete surveys, and the Foundation analyzes their data to create the list. The highest amount of financial reimbursement offered by this year’s applicants was $25,000.00, and the longest duration of paid leave was eighteen weeks. The average amount of financial assistance employers offered was $8,000.00, and the average duration of paid leave was five weeks.

Ferring Pharmaceuticals topped the 2016 list, with adoption policies that include reimbursement of up to $25,000.00 in adoption expenses, up to five and a half weeks of paid leave, and adoption counseling resources.  The rest of the top ten is comprised of:

  1. Citizens Bank ($23,460.00 in reimbursement of adoption expenses and 1 week of paid leave);

MJ NCFA Advocacy Day.jpgAs National Adoption Month wraps up, we wanted to share a photo of attorney Michele Jackson and Congresswoman Susan Brooks taken this summer at the National Council for Adoption’s Advocacy Day. Ms. Jackson spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with several members of Congress to promote adoption and advocate for the adoption community.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients throughout the Indianapolis area and the state of Indiana in all areas family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy and other areas of assisted reproductive technology law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

Remember, these blog posts are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult an adoption attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

family.jpg In honor of National Adoption Month, our November blog posts are focused on adoption. Today’s blog explores open vs. closed adoptions. These terms are often thrown around in discussions surrounding adoption. Simply put, they refer to the agreed-upon relationship between the adoptive parents and the birth mother before and after the placement. However, the meanings of these terms are not as definitive as they may seem.

Open adoptions encompass a broad variety of relationships. While many people understand them as continuing a relationship between the child and the birth mother after the child has been adopted (through visits and communication, for example), this is only one example of open adoptions. The common thread in all open adoptions is that some kind of in-person contact exists between the adoptive family and the birth mother, and the parties share identifying information. However, the degree of openness between the parties is different in every adoption. Some families may elect to have regular visits with the birth mother, while others may choose to arrange phone calls during the holidays.

Closed adoptions involve limited contact. Identifying information is not shared between the parties, nor do relationships exist between the parties before and after the placement. Typically, the only information shared in closed adoptions includes medical records. However, in this age of electronic communication and social media, it may be nearly impossible to conceal the other party’s identifying information.

internationaladoption.jpgAccording to the U.S. Department of State’s 2014 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption, American adoption of foreign-born children is dramatically declining. The report, released last week, found that the number of foreign-born children adopted by American families has dropped to its lowest level since 1982. Americans adopted 6, 441 foreign-born children in 2014, which constitutes a greater than 9% reduction from the 7, 094 adoptions reported in 2013. The report’s findings indicate a 74% decline over the past ten years, when 22,991 foreign-born children were adopted in 2004.

Various adoption agencies surveyed in this Wall Street Journal article attribute the reduced numbers to several factors, including “policies meant to promote domestic adoption and foster care in countries such as Ethiopia; nationalist sentiment against adoption in emerging economies like China and South Korea; and increased U.S. scrutiny of some countries and individual cases.” For example, China recently began advocating for domestic adoption and instituting stringent qualifications for foreigners to adopt. Additionally, the U.S. discontinued adoptions in Cambodia and Guatemala due to “evidence of baby selling and document fraud.”

Another potential contribution to the steep decline is the improper implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The United States implemented the Convention in 2008. The Convention ensures that each intercountry adoption aligns with the best interests of the child and protects children from abduction, exploitation, and trafficking. According to the article, some countries, such as Cambodia, signed the Convention prior to creating procedures enabling their compliance.

Attorney Michele Jackson, who serves on the Governor’s Adoption Committee, is among other Adoption professionals, adoptive parents and adoptees who attended Indiana’s Third Information and Awareness Adoption Fair. The fair provided education and celebration for adoption.

Here is Michele’s son, Thaxton, with Governor Pence.

New Picture.pngHere are more moments from the Fair: