What o Cotnsider Before You Decide to Adopt

What to Consider Before You Decide to Adopt

No matter the circumstances, adoption is always a major decision. Approximately 135,000 children are adopted every year in the United States. This includes an estimated 59% from the foster care system, 26% from abroad and 15% who are relinquished voluntarily.

Adoption Can Be Hard for Everyone Involved

The process of adoption may be overwhelming to the parents, and it’s often scary for the kids involved. It can also stir up a significant amount of fear and other emotions.

When you think about whether or not this life choice is right for your family, consider what’s at the heart of your desire to adopt. Make sure that the choices you make are truly for the child’s benefit. Although the vast majority of adopting parents have the best intentions, it’s still possible to lose sight of things in this complex and often lengthy process.

Anticipate Each Child’s Unique Challenges

Remember that no two children are the same, so all kids need different things from their parents. Make sure to consider your family’s limitations, and be realistic about what you’re capable of. If a child has a physical or mental disability, which is the case with numerous adoption candidates, their care will take extra time, care and effort.

Adoptive parents should also think about the child’s background, age and gender. These factors can play a significant role in how much work it will take for the adoptive family to provide a suitable, healthy environment for the child to grow up and thrive in.

In addition to gearing yourself up emotionally, you have to keep the logistical concerns in mind. If you have never had a kid in your house, try to think of everything you’ll have to do in order to child-proof the space. Some hazards might not become obvious until it’s too late if you don’t give it enough forethought. In addition to safety, ask yourself if you can make changes in decor or in your home’s layout to make it more inviting to a child who may be feeling fragile.

It Takes a Village

When you adopt a child, community support is essential. It’s difficult to raise a well-rounded child in isolation. Before you adopt, think about who you can turn to for help. This includes family, friends and neighbors. Who will watch your child if you get stuck at work or have to go out of town?

You can also see if there are groups in your area that you can join. It might be helpful to talk to a New Jersey adoption attorney. Sometimes, just the feeling that there are others around who are on your side can make all the difference.

Help is crucial for all new parents, and adoptive parents shouldn’t feel the need to try to shoulder everything themselves. It’s not just important for the parents but also the child you’re adopting. Strong community support can help them to feel like they’re supported in every way and that they have access to everything they need.

Think About What the Child Has Lost

What some adoptive families don’t realize is that the adopted child starts the experience with the loss of their previous family and household. It may take some time for them to fully grieve this loss. You might notice an adopted child act out in various ways.

It’s helpful to anticipate this type of behavior and attempt to understand why it’s happening. Adoptive parents have to rise to this challenge and keep their cool so that they can work through issues as they come up. An adopted child might not be ready or willing to talk about their trauma right away, and they may still have yet to learn the emotional tools to express these kinds of complex feelings. Family therapy sessions could allow everyone an outlet to discuss their feelings and get advice about how to move forward.

Before adoption, it’s best to figure out whether you’d prefer that the adoption be open, where the child can have contact with their biological parents, or closed adoptions, where they can’t. Each choice presents different challenges and advantages and depends on your situation and family. In dome cases, you won’t have full control over the relationship that your adopted child has with their biological parents.

At Cofsy & Zeidman, you’ll find a New Jersey adoption attorney who will walk you through every step of the process. Call (856) 429-5005 to reach us in Haddonfield or (856) 845-2555 for our office in Woodbury. We also serve clients in Pennsylvania.

Choosing an Adoption Agency

Selecting the Right Adoption Agency for Your Family

Once you have made the decision to adopt, choosing an adoption agency can seem like a hurdle that you need to clear as quickly as possible in order to achieve your true goal. New Jersey adoption lawyers caution against rushing the decision and warn that many people who end up dissatisfied with their adoption process regret the organization that they chose. Your agency will serve as your guide, and your connection with that team will be as much a personal relationship as it is a business exchange.

The Initial Phase

Area adoption experts recommend hiring a New Jersey adoption lawyer early in the process because your attorney can help you avoid the many legal and practical pitfalls associated with agency adoption. With representation secured, the next step is to finalize some important decisions about how you want to adopt. You may want to consider:

  • International vs. domestic adoption
  • Local vs. national adoption agencies
  • Size of the adoption agency
  • Pre- and post-adoption resources
  • Birthmother support and humanitarian aid

The Interview Phase

After considering those topics and deciding what is important to you, you will have a set of criteria through which you can determine if an agency is worthwhile exploring further. New Jersey adoption lawyers and other adoption experts tend to advise against email interviews, which are impersonal. Interview in person if possible or at least by phone. Historically, one of the disadvantages of national adoption agencies was the lack of personal touch, but video conferencing has largely overcome that downside.

Have a series of questions prepared beforehand that you ask the representative of each agency you are considering. Facts like average wait time and the number of adoptions completed annually are important, but adoption specialists encourage you to look beyond the numbers to whether you like this agency and trust them to help you achieve your goal of creating or expanding your family. This is an important relationship, and there is nothing wrong with moving on from an agency because of a gut feeling.

Avoid any quick decisions. After an interview is complete, take some time to digest it. You can then evaluate how you feel. Ask yourself questions, such as:

  • Did you feel rushed?
  • Was the communication comfortable?
  • Did you feel like the representative understood your concerns?
  • How clear and concise was the information?
  • Was there a prompt turnaround on sending you additional materials?

The Selection Phase

At this point, you have one or more agencies that you feel good about. The goal now is to ensure that everything is as good as it seems.

The reason to save adoption agency vetting until now is to avoid getting bogged down earlier in the process. It is much easier to vet a handful of agencies than the dozens you may initially consider. That said, if you have hired a New Jersey adoption lawyer early in the process, then your attorney will have likely handled much of the vetting as it unfolded.

Begin with state licensing. While licensing standards are not necessarily rigid, an agency that is not licensed or in good standing is a major red flag. Accreditation by the Council of Accreditation is a mark in favor of not only international but domestic adoption agencies. If adopting internationally, you’ll want to consider Hague accreditation and likely move on from agencies that were denied it.

Assistance Choosing an Adoption Agency

If you want to adopt and are considering doing it through an adoption agency, Cofsky & Zeidman is here to help. We are a law firm with extensive agency adoption experience and can assist you in navigating this process, including selecting your agency. To schedule an initial consultation with an adoption lawyer in New Jersey, call our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555. We also have an office in Philadelphia to better serve our Pennsylvania clients.

Adopting Your Foster Child

Process of Adopting Your Foster Child

Deciding to adopt your foster child is an effective way to provide them with a more permanent family. The number of children who are waiting to go through the adoption process is well over 100,000. While foster children are often able to be adopted, there are several restrictions and guidelines that should be taken into account.

Can You Adopt Your Foster Child?

Adopting a foster child is allowed through the foster-to-adopt process. However, it’s not an option in every situation. Foster care is considered a temporary solution in the event that a child’s home isn’t currently stable or safe. When children are placed in the care of the state, the goal will be to eventually reunite them with their birth parents. As a foster parent, you agree to provide children with temporary care until reunification is possible.

While there are times when the birth parents of foster children will have already had their legal rights terminated, this isn’t true with every foster child. For some foster children, adoption is never an option. Before you first accepted a foster child, you may have been told if the goal is adoption or reunification. This information should help you determine if you’re able to adopt your foster child.

Why Fostering Is Often Considered Before Adopting

State governments are encouraging many parents who want to adopt to first become foster parents. There are numerous benefits of fostering a child before you adopt them, the primary of which is that you’ll be able to begin parenting sooner. Placement in foster care can occur in just a few days. In comparison, finalizing the adoption process may take upwards of six months or longer.

An important component of fostering is that foster parents are required to actively support the goal of reunifying children with their birth parents if that is the child’s current permanency plan. This plan is set by the court system. Even if reunification is the goal, “concurrent planning” may occur, which means that work will also be done to have an alternate permanency plan in place. This alternate plan usually involves adoption by foster parents if reunification isn’t successful.

When Can Foster Parents Adopt Foster Children

Even if a child’s biological parents have had their rights terminated, it’s not guaranteed that foster parents can adopt their foster child. In most situations, caseworkers first search for other biological relatives who may be able to adopt the child. If the caseworker is unable to find a relative who’s willing to provide the child with a safe home, foster parents are often given the opportunity to do so.

Some foster parents wonder if it is possible to fight relatives for the ability to adopt if the foster family has been together for months or years. In this scenario, each case differs. Call our New Jersey adoption lawyer today if you would like to speak about your case.

The process for adopting a foster child is similar to the process for all other types of adoption. Birth parents typically have around 6 to 12 months to finish their reunification plans. However, extensions are often given. Once parental rights have been terminated by the court system, this system will also evaluate who the best fit is to raise the child in question.

Since adoption is a more permanent scenario, social workers usually conduct post-placement visits to assess how the foster family is adjusting to the changes. Once every potential requirement has been met, a court date is set to finalize the adoption.

Potential Roadblocks During the Adoption Process

The path to adopting a foster child isn’t always straightforward and can be made more challenging if certain issues arise. For instance, a foster parent’s financial situation can play a role in identifying if they are capable of providing for the child’s essential needs on a long-term basis.

A person’s residence can also be taken into account. While adoptive parents can rent or own, a social worker may indicate that the living environment isn’t suitable for the child. Social workers are usually tasked with approving every aspect of the adoption. If the post-placement study mentioned earlier is negative, securing the adoption may be difficult.

If you’re currently thinking of adopting your foster child and providing them with a loving home, you will want to understand your legal rights. To learn more about what the process entails, call our New Jersey adoption lawyer today at (856) 429-5005 to schedule a consultation at our Haddonfield office.

Adopting an Adult

How Do Adult Adoptions Work?

There are many different types of adoptions. One of the lesser-known options is adult adoption. There are certain criteria that must be met in order to adopt an adult into your family.

What Is Adult Adoption?

Adult adoption is a legal procedure that allows a couple or individual to bring a person over the age of 18 into their family. Although not all states recognize this type of unconventional adoption, New Jersey does. It allows people to enrich the lives of adults who need the permanent connection of a loving, nurturing family.

Why Do Families Choose to Adopt an Adult?

Adult adoption is still a new concept to many people, but there are many reasons why more families are going this route. Just like adopting a child, adult adoption helps to secure a person’s family situation. If you are interested in adopting an adult, a New Jersey adoption attorney can help you with the process.

One of the most common reasons for adult adoption is that a person wishes to leave an adult an inheritance, and one way to do that is to establish a legal relationship. Adoption solidifies that familial relationship so that the adult can receive the inheritance that the person wishes to leave them.

A stepparent may want to adopt their adult stepchild to create a closer, loving family bond. This form of adoption can occur on the same day that the petition is filed with the court. Because the person is already an adult, there is no worry about having to get their other biological parent’s consent.

Adult adoption can occur when a person who was adopted or went through the foster care system has reconnected with their birth family.

Adult children who lived with a foster family but were never adopted as a minor can be adopted by their foster family.

Some adult adoptions involve adults with disabilities so that they can receive care for their lifetime. The person who adopts them oversees their care and makes all decisions affecting their welfare.

What Are the Laws on Adult Adoption?

In order to adopt an adult, there must be at least a 10-year age difference between you and the person you wish to adopt. If you are married, your spouse may have to give consent to the adoption. However, in some cases, the court may allow an adult adoption without your spouse’s consent if they are unavailable or unreasonable.

One of the strictest laws regarding adult adoption is that there must not be a sexual relationship between the adopter and the adoptee. At any point, if the two people engaged in a sexual relationship, the adoption cannot take place. Adult adoption also cannot occur for criminal reasons. If the court suspects that fraud is involved in the adoption, it will prohibit it from happening.

Although there’s no reason to get consent from the person’s biological parents for adult adoption, you should give them notice of the adoption.

What Is the Adult Adoption Procedure?

If you have decided that you wish to adopt an adult, you must visit your local court to obtain the right documents. An experienced New Jersey adoption attorney can provide all the information needed to fill out these forms. If you are adopting an adult with limited mental or physical capacity, you must fill out and file additional documentation.

Completing and signing the paperwork should be done in the presence of a notary who should then sign and emboss it. Pay careful attention to all instructions, and submit your paperwork accordingly. You will have to wait to be notified of a court date at your local family court where a judge will hear your adult adoption case.

If you need help with an adult adoption, contact contact a New Jersey adoption attorney at Cofsky & Zeidman LLC in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 at your earliest convenience.

Telling Your Children That They Are Adopted

How to Tell Your Children That They Are Adopted

In 2020, there were approximately 442,995 children in foster care and over 125,000 children adopted from the U.S. foster care system, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Although the number of adoptions from the foster care system has been consistently decreasing over the years, with a 5% decrease from 2019 to 2020, adoptions still happen every day.

If you have adopted your children, telling them that they were adopted can be a difficult and emotional process for everyone. However, it is important to have open and honest communication with your children about their adoption so that they can understand their identity and feel secure in their family.

Timing Is Important

First and foremost, it is important to consider the timing of when to tell your children about their adoption. It’s probably a good idea to wait until your child is old enough to understand the concept and can ask questions about it. For some children, this may be as young as 4 years old while for others it may be older. You should also consider the individual needs and maturity level of your child when determining the right time to have this conversation.

When you are ready, choose a neutral and comfortable setting. A quiet room in your home or a park on a sunny day are both good options. You may want to have the conversation when both parents are present. This gives an opportunity for both parents to provide support and answer any questions that may arise.

Explain Their Adoption Process in Detail

When you begin the conversation, try to use simple, age-appropriate language that your child can understand. Explain to them that they were born to a different family and that you were chosen to be their parents. You can also use books or videos about adoption to help explain the concept in a way that is easy for your child to understand.

You should also try to address any potential feelings of confusion or loss that your child may experience after learning about their adoption. Let them know that it is normal to have these feelings and that you are there to support them and help them process their emotions. Encourage them to ask any questions they may have, and be honest with them in your answers.

Emphasize that they are loved and valued, regardless of how they came into your family. Remind them that they are just as much a part of your family as any biological child would be and that you will always be there for them.

Talk About Their Birth Family

Additionally, it is important to be open and honest about their birth family when and if the child is ready. Let them know that they have a birth family and that they can ask you any questions that they have. Have a plan if the child wants to know more about their birth family and why their birth family couldn’t raise them. You may not know all the answers, but you should be willing to research the answers together. A New Jersey adoption lawyer may be able to help you facilitate contact with the family or review the terms of the adoption if the child would like to know more.

Another thing to consider is that adoption can be a lifelong journey, not just a one-time conversation. As your child grows and develops, they may have new questions and concerns about their adoption. It’s important to be open to discussing it with them and addressing any new issues that may arise.

Seek Support for Your Family

Lastly, seek support for yourself and your child during this process. This may include counseling or support groups for adoptive families. As the journey may uncover old hurts, it’s a good idea to find a way to process these emotions.

In conclusion, telling your children that they are adopted can be a difficult and emotional process. However, with the right approach, you can help your child understand and accept their adoption in a positive way.

Contact a New Jersey adoption lawyer if you have additional questions on these types of matters. We can help you navigate the process. You can contact our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555.

Egg Donor Contracts

How Do Egg Donor Contracts Work?

Many people looking to conceive struggle with infertility and require help. Often, that fact only becomes known after trying to have a child for six months to a year or even longer. An egg donor might be the best solution for starting a family in that situation.

What Is an Egg Donor Contract?

An egg donor contract is a legal document that explains the rights and obligations of all the parties involved when someone seeks donor eggs to start a family. All parties are also protected under the terms of the contract. Egg donor contracts also state that the donor has no legal or custody rights to children born from their eggs.

What Is Included in Egg Donor Contracts?

If you need fertility assistance and are leaning toward donor eggs as an option, a New Jersey adoption attorney can help you once you find a donor and need to finalize a contract. The following are the details included in any such formal agreement.

All egg donor contracts include clauses that outline the intended parents’ rights and control over the donor eggs and any embryos that may result. This gives them the right to determine how and when to use any eggs, when to have their children through in vitro fertilization, when to donate the eggs to other people, or for medical research purposes if they so choose. In some cases, the donor might wish to know what happens with the eggs; if a part of the contract allows it, the donor has the right to see how the eggs are used.

A confidentiality clause prohibits all parties from disclosing one another’s identity without consent. In addition, egg donor contracts include timelines for medical procedures based on the intended parents’ and donors’ schedules and availability.

If the donor must travel to the fertility clinic of the intended parents’ choosing to undergo a screening and egg retrieval, travel expenses must be decided. The donor can then have periodic appointments for monitoring at a fertility clinic closer to her location. The intended parents pay the expenses for the donor’s travels.

All egg donor agreements include information about compensation paid to the donor. This is done through an escrow account. Fees are paid based on egg retrieval or after the donor receives fertility medications. Donors are paid even if a cycle fails or is canceled.

The intended parents and donor decide how much contact, if any, they want to maintain in the future. Egg donors are required to inform the intended parents of any changes in their health. This can extend into the future based on how future contact is handled.

There is also a provision regarding potential complications the egg donor might experience. Although many egg donor cycles occur without incident, this clause is necessary if something goes wrong. The intended parents are responsible for buying health insurance coverage for the donor.

Who Are Good Donor Egg Recipients?

There are many distinct reasons why a person or couple would make good donor egg recipients. Fertility issues and other reasons might make it challenging or impossible for some women to have biological children. Donor eggs are ideal for those who are over the age of 40. Once women pass 40, the number and quality of their eggs decrease. Even if a pregnancy does occur naturally, there is a higher risk of miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities. This is why donor eggs are a good option.

Women with primary ovarian insufficiency are good candidates for donor eggs. The condition causes the ovaries to fail between the ages of 15 to 44, making it difficult to become pregnant naturally.

Women are also good donor egg recipients if they have already reached menopause, and suffer from certain genetic disorders they don’t want to pass on to their children. In addition, some LGBTQ couples are good candidates for donor eggs. Women who have undergone a hysterectomy are also good candidates if they use a gestational carrier in combination with donor eggs.

If you need legal assistance entering an egg donor contract, contact a New Jersey adoption attorney at Cofsky & Zeidman LLC at your earliest convenience at (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield or (856) 845-2555 in Woodbury.

An Overview of Assisted Reproduction

A Comprehensive Overview of Assisted Reproduction

Assisted reproduction involves the use of different technologies to help improve a person’s chance of becoming pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that just under 2% of U.S. children were born by using one of the assisted reproduction techniques. These techniques include everything from in vitro fertilization to intrafallopian transfer.

What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology?

All assisted reproduction technologies (ART) are administered to people who would like to use an alternative method to become pregnant. The complicated treatments are designed to influence the sperm and eggs in a manner that boosts the likelihood of fertilization.

While many people can request the use of ART, these technologies are mainly provided to those who have attempted to become pregnant with other infertility treatments without success. Another reason to use ART is to avoid the complications that can occur during a pregnancy. Health care professionals and fertility specialists can help you determine if assisted reproduction is right for you.

IVF Method

In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves the extraction of eggs to have them fertilized in a lab. Specialists are able to combine this technology with the embryo transfer technique to move the embryos directly to an individual’s uterus. Currently, around 99% of assisted reproduction procedures involve IVF. Success rates for this technology are:

  • 35 or younger: 52%
  • 35-37: 38.1%
  • 38-40: 23.5%
  • Over 40: 7.6%

If IVF isn’t successful the first time, it’s possible to pay for another cycle. While this technology improves the chances of pregnancy, possible complications include fertility drug side effects, an ectopic pregnancy, and multiple pregnancies.

Frozen Embryo Transfer

Frozen embryo transfer (FET) is a relatively modern technique that occurs when IVF embryos are frozen before being inserted into an individual’s uterus. This technique is considered to be just as safe and effective as using unfrozen embryos. However, there’s a risk that some of the embryos won’t survive during the thawing process.

Intrafallopian Transfer

An intrafallopian transfer is similar to IVF but is designed to use a laparoscopic surgery for the delivery of gametes into a person’s fallopian tube. The main complications with this form of assisted reproduction involve surgical issues, which extend to anesthesia side effects and infection. These transfers are rarely used because they cost more than in vitro fertilization.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

An intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a special procedure that may be performed with IVF to fertilize one or more eggs. An embryo specialist will place a small needle directly into the egg’s center. This injection process allows the sperm to be placed in an area that might increase the chances of pregnancy.

When you opt for this technique, around 50-80% of all eggs will be fertilized. The success rate for ICSI is similar to IVF and is ideal for individuals who are currently experiencing infertility because of sperm-related issues. Keep in mind that ICSI is typically added to IVF, which means that the treatment costs must take IVF into account.

A couple risks of using this technology include the possibility that some of the eggs could be damaged and that the egg may not grow even after the injection takes place. In the event that an individual becomes pregnant through natural means, the potential for a major birth defect is around 1-3%. However, this doesn’t mean that the treatment is the cause of the defect. Instead, the underlying cause for the infertility could be the issue.

Third-Party Technology

Third-party assisted reproduction occurs when someone else donates their embryos, eggs, or sperm to a person or couple. This process might also involve a surrogate for the embryo. Since the use of third-party assisted reproduction means that another person will be involved in this process, you could seek legal assistance from a New Jersey adoption attorney like ours to help you navigate the situation and understand what your legal rights are.

Past results from these procedures indicate that around 50% of transfers from donated frozen embryos lead to pregnancy. There are several reasons why people choose to use this technique. For one, there’s a possibility that it might work even after IVF has failed. It could also help people who have been unable to produce a sperm or egg while trying to get pregnant.

Third-party ART can also help you avoid passing on a genetic health condition that you might have. If an individual has produced healthy eggs but hasn’t been able to reach the end of pregnancy, this procedure can assist them in carrying the pregnancy to term. Egg donation is the most inexpensive form of third-party ART. In comparison, a surrogacy arrangement can cost anywhere from $50,000-$150,000.

While the law regarding assisted reproduction technologies is still developing, you should consider having legal representation by your side when entering into an assisted reproduction agreement. Call our New Jersey adoption attorney today at (856) 429-5005 to set up your first appointment.

Adoption vs. An Embryo Donation

The Pros of Cons of Embryo Donation

In vitro fertilization has become far more common in recent years, which has given rise to a corresponding increase in embryo donations. The couples who choose IVF desperately want to have children, and many of them choose to donate their unused embryos to help others in the same predicament. Embryo donation remains fairly rare compared to adoption, but there are several reasons why prospective parents might find it an attractive option.

Embryo Donation Is Less Expensive Than Adoption

The adoption process can be grueling for prospective parents, and it can also be financially draining. The cost of adopting a child in the United States is usually between $15,000 and $40,000 when an agency is involved, and not all of this money is refunded if the adoption does not go through. Embryo donations often involve couples who know each other, so the only costs they face are fees charged by IVF clinics. Embryo donation agencies have started to appear, but the fees they charge are much lower than the costs of traditional adoption.

Embryo Donation Is Faster Than Adoption

The conventional adoption process can be particularly hard on couples that hope to adopt an infant. Couples wishing to adopt a newborn baby face a wait of at least two years, and couples who are open to adopting toddlers face waits almost as long. Thousands of embryos available for donation are being stored in IVF clinics all over the country, which means the wait times for prospective parents who choose this approach are usually measured in months rather than years.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Most of the couples who pursue traditional adoptions would prefer to get pregnant and have a baby naturally if they could. Embryo donation allows couples to enjoy this life experience, and it also gives them a level of control over the pregnancy that they would not have in adoption. When a child is adopted, the new parents can never be completely sure that the birth mother acted responsibly when she was pregnant.

The Risks of Embryo Donation

Speed, affordability, and the chance to experience pregnancy can all make embryo donation an attractive alternative to adoption for couples who want children but cannot conceive, but there are also risks to consider. Not all pregnancies go smoothly, and there is no guarantee that an embryo donation will lead to a live birth. With an adoption, prospective parents can expect a healthy child to be waiting for them at the end of the process.

Donated Genetic Material

Couples may choose donated sperm or eggs as an alternative to embryo donation. Embryo donation may seem the more attractive option because the donated embryos will be healthy, but there will only be a limited number available. Donated sperm and eggs are easier to acquire, and they may also cost less than healthy embryos.

Legal Issues

The growing popularity of embryo donation has raised a few legal issues. Prospective parents in states like New Jersey where embryos are considered property should make sure that both parents consent to the donation, and the enforceability of embryo donation contracts is far from certain in some parts of the country. If you have questions about any of these issues, a New Jersey adoption lawyer may provide you with guidance.

Helping Couples Who Want Children

The experienced family law attorneys at Cofsy & Zeidman have helped hundreds of couples to experience the joy of welcoming children into their homes. If you are thinking about embryo donation but have some questions, you should speak with one of our New Jersey adoption lawyers with experience in this area. To schedule a free consultation, you can either call our main Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or use our online form. We also have offices in Woodbury and Philadelphia.

How A SCOTUS Ruling May Affect Native American Adoptions

SCOTUS Expected to Rule on Native American Adoptions

A lawsuit that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court may change the law surrounding the ability for people to adopt Native American children. In the U.S., upwards of 135,000 children are adopted every year. If you’d like to file for an adoption, our New Jersey adoption attorney can help protect your legal rights and understand what the adoption process entails.

The Indian Child Welfare Act and the Lawsuit Against It

In early November, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Haaland v. Brackeen, which is a series of cases that aim to have the Indian Child Welfare Act overturned. This law was officially enacted in 1978 and was designed to reduce the number of Native children who were being separated from family members. The law also provides tribal nations with a say in any child welfare case that involves a child associated with a federally recognized tribe.

Currently, this law has placement preferences that provide the child’s extended family with priority when it comes to adoption. The child’s tribe and other Native families also have priority over non-Native individuals. This case was brought forth by a white couple living in Texas who had difficulties adopting a child from the Navajo tribe that they were previously fostering.

Along with other foster parents throughout Texas, the couple states that the Indian Child Welfare Act puts them in last place to adopt Native children, which they believe is a form of racial discrimination. Before the Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted, thousands of children ended up being removed from their homes to go to boarding schools in an attempt to make them become more accustomed to white American society. In this situation, these children were unable to maintain their culture and speak the languages that their tribes spoke.

This problem was further exacerbated when the federal government created the Indian Adoption Project, which centered around placing Native children in white homes. Because of the almost immediate erosion of culture and language within the Native communities, Congress made the decision to pass the Indian Child Welfare Act to make sure that Native children were able to keep their connections to their communities.

What Opponents of the Law Say

Opponents of this law are mainly conservative organizations like the Goldwater Institute. They argue that this law imposes standards that make it much more difficult for Native children to get into stable homes with people who will love them.

At the moment, there are a large number of Native children in foster care, which critics of the aforementioned law believe is the result of there not being enough Native homes to place these children in.

While many Native children are placed in foster care, this arrangement is meant to be a temporary one. The primary goal of this process is to eventually have the child reunite with their parent or find a home that best suits them. Keep in mind that the Indian Child Welfare Act contains some exceptions for the permanent placement of Native children.

The proponents of this law state that the guidelines mentioned in the Indian Child Welfare Act are just preferences that still provide non-Native families with the means to adopt Native children. In most cases, the judge overseeing the adoption process has discretion over what the result of the case is. Some of the plaintiffs also state that this law is racist since it gives preference to Native relatives and Native families as opposed to non-Native individuals.

How Tribal Nations Have Responded

Representatives of many tribal nations state that the Indian Child Welfare Act is necessary to protect their future and the future of their government. In the event that the Supreme Court rules that Native American tribes are racial groups as opposed to political entities, the law would be considered unconstitutional. Tribal nations fear that the legal standing for their tribal sovereignty would then be in question.

The plaintiffs have also argued that the U.S. Congress overreached when they created the Indian Child Welfare Act, which tribal nations believe could make it easier for Title 25 of the U.S. Code to be disputed. Title 25 is a portion of the law that centers around Native Indians and tribes.

If you’re thinking about adoptiion, having an experienced attorney by your side should simplify the process and help you navigate any hurdles that arise. Call our New Jersey adoption attorney today at (856) 429-5005 to schedule an appointment at our Haddonfield office.