PDA

View Full Version : Adoption Question


06-03-1999, 10:57 AM
I was watching an episod of "Dharma (sp?) and Greg" last nite. The basic plot was that Donna, a girl who works at the grocery store the title couple frequents and with whom Dharma has an unhealthily close relationship, is pregnant and her boyfriend has left her. She wants her baby to grow up in a two parent household, so Dharma and Greg (actually, just Dharma, but that's a whole other hilarious subplot. . . .) decide to adopt the baby. Could this happen in non-sitcom life? Can you legally choose someone to raise your child (before your death)? And would this kind of agreement be legally binding? Could the biological mother change her mind after two years and raise the child on her own?

06-03-1999, 11:11 AM
Well, you can always decide that you want your sister or friend to adopt your child, but you still have to file adoption papers with the state in order to be recognized as the legal guardians.

Thanks to the new liberal (and foolish) adoption laws, it's very easy for the birth mother/father to change their minds and call off the whole thing. I think the birth mother has one year after the birth to change her mind, but this probably differs from state to state.

06-03-1999, 11:20 AM
Yes, you can choose someone to adopt your children. My husband's aunt adopted and raised two of his half-sisters, at his mothers request. I think this sort of thing was very common before "adoption agencies" came into being.

As for the mother changing her mind, well, as far as I can tell, adoption laws are in turmoil about that. There have been several painful cases publicized about children who lived with their adoptive parents for years and were then "given back" to a biological parent who changed his or her mind. The courts seem to favor the biological parent, no matter how small the role he or she has played in the child's life up to that point. That's why I don't think I could ever adopt, even though I and my brother were adopted as infants. It would just be too painful to raise a child as your own and then have him or her taken away.

06-03-1999, 11:32 AM
Most states now have "cooling off" periods written into their adoption laws to allow for a birth mother to change her mind, but I don't know of any where it's as long as a year. They try to strike a balance between the need of the adoptive family to be sure of the adoption in order to bond with the child, and the obvious need to make sure that the mother does change her mind. Usually it's a few weeks. Of course, if you adopt a child through a government agency or even a private adoption agency, in most cases the child is not placed for adoption until the cooling off period has passed, so that the adoption can't be challenged later. As far as government placements are concerned, the baby may spend the intervening days or weeks in a separate foster home. (Unless its a "fos/adopt" placement--foster care and adoption--where the family with which the baby is placed intends to adopt it.)

But to answer the questions: Yes, you can choose who you want to raise your child and, yes, the agreement would be binding. What we generally think of as simply "adoption" is really a two-step procedure: first, the rights of the biological parents must be terminated (for abandonment, or non-support, or--rarely--voluntarily) and then the child may be adopted. In the case of a voluntary termination, a parent may make termination of his or her rights contingent upon the adoption of the child by a particular person, which would be what you mean by "choosing" who raises the child. Once a parent's rights are terminated, that's it; there's no way to "restore" them or to rescind the termination. (Assuming the termination itself was legal; it may be rescinded if it was illegal -- if, for example, the court found a mother had abandoned a child when in fact she had not.)

The adoption itself is the assumption of responsibility for the child by a party other than the biological parent. Once a child has been adopted, it is considered to have the same legal status as the adoptive parent's natural children -- the same rights of inheritance, the same right to child support, etc. If BOTH steps are done -- termination of parental rights and adoption -- it is extremely difficult for the biological parent to come back later and say "I want my child back." The harsh truth is, by that point, it isn't that person's child anymore.

06-03-1999, 11:34 AM
Amazing to me that the anti-abortion lobby hasn't taken a stronger stand in promoting adoption, and in pushing for legislation that protects adoptive parents. It seems to me a logical consequence of opposing abortion, to try to make a better environment for "unwanted" children, by enabling adoptions. Who would want to bother with adoption if the biological parent could undo the whole thing years later, on a whim.

06-03-1999, 05:24 PM
[[Amazing to me that the anti-abortion lobby hasn't taken a stronger stand in promoting
adoption, and in pushing for legislation that protects adoptive parents. It seems to me a logical consequence of opposing abortion, to try to make a better environment for "unwanted" children, by enabling adoptions. Who would want to bother with adoption if the biological parent could undo the whole thing years later, on a whim.]]

I agree. I also think anti-abortion people should support availability of family planning methods and sex education in the schools, but usually most of the most vocal ones don't. As for adoption, my perception is that many anti-abortion folks are only interested in protecting children before they are born. Not all feel this way, but a disturbing number do. Otherwise they would allign their organizations with adoption rights organizations, those supporting services for disabled (hard-to-adopt) children, education and work training for teen parents, support for single mothers, subsidized day care, etc. etc. etc...
Jill

06-03-1999, 10:13 PM
You all have indeed found the Achilles heel of the anti-aborts. As one myself, I have found it almost repulsive how abortion is preached against so hard, with no corresponding promotion of adoption.

I want to stand up in front of my church and yell, "What are these orphanages and state wards doing in business?!" If the church would follow up on its "commitment" to the kids, they would be making a point to take care of all the ones that are all ready born, and are indeed unwanted. We should be putting these gov. agencies almost out of business.

Sheeeesshh...

06-03-1999, 10:40 PM
>>As for the mother changing her mind, well, as far as I can tell, adoption laws are in turmoil about that. There have been several painful cases publicized about children who lived with their adoptive parents for years and were then "given back" to a biological parent who changed his or her mind. The courts seem to favor the biological parent, no matter how small the role he or she has played in the child's life up to that point. That's why I don't think I could ever adopt, even though I and my brother were adopted as infants. It would just be too painful to raise a child as your own and then have him or her taken away.<<

If you're referring by "well-publicized" cases to the Baby Jessica and Baby Richard cases in Illinois, neither of those was a case of the mother changing her mind. Both were cases where the father was not informed of the existence of the child until after it had been placed with the adoptive family.

In both cases, the father asserted his rights, and had not had the opportunity to do so before.

It happens that in Illinois (as in most states since the beginning of the last decade), a father has to sign away his rights "when he is known."

The Illinois law is a very poorly written law, the writers of which failed to anticipate a situation where a father did not know about his child at all until well after its birth.

Prior to the last decade, a father simply had no rights to the child when he was not married to the mother.

Thanks to "fathers' rights" groups, now a father can block an adoption, without assuming full responsibility for the child.

Don't get me wrong-- if the mother has decided to go through with the pregnancy, but doesn't want to raise the child, and the father does, he has absolutely every right to be a single parent.

He doesn't have the right (OK, IMHO ::sigh: :) to force the child into custodial limbo, just so he can visit it one weekend a month, which believe it or not, does happen sometimes. I know a couple who is foster parenting just such a child.

But I digress.


------------------
------------
--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-04-1999, 04:51 PM
[[I want to stand up in front of my church and yell, "What are these orphanages and state wards doing in business?!" If the church would follow up on its "commitment" to the kids, they would be making a point to take care of all the ones that are all ready born, and are indeed unwanted. We should be putting these gov. agencies almost out of business.]]

Start something in your church, Dave! Put together a fund to assist people who want to adopt (it's an expensive proposition), and why not raise some money for orphanages overseas, too, to buy shoes and books for kids? I bet there's an adoption agency in your area that could give you some ideas.

06-04-1999, 05:52 PM
[[If you're referring by "well-publicized" cases to the Baby Jessica and Baby Richard
cases in Illinois, neither of those was a case of the mother changing her mind. Both
were cases where the father was not informed of the existence of the child until after
it had been placed with the adoptive family.]]

Yes, I think those must have been the cases I was thinking of.

It still really appalls me, though. There simply must be a point where biological parents' rights are not the main issue. Sorry, sir, I'm sure you would have been a great parent to the child if you had know about his existence, but, in fact, what you are is a sperm donor. The people who adopted and raised him are his parents.

06-04-1999, 05:58 PM
One nice thing is when employers step in to help with adoption. No way they should HAVE to do that but some do.
I used to work for a major brokerage firm and they not only provided for "maternity/paternity leave" for adoptive parents, they also helped foot the bill for part of the adoption costs. Corporate money grubbing greed aside, a pretty nice program I thought.

06-04-1999, 06:39 PM
>>It still really appalls me, though. There simply must be a point where biological parents' rights are not the main issue. Sorry, sir, I'm sure you would have been a great parent to the child if you had know about his existence, but, in fact, what you are is a sperm donor. The people who adopted and raised him are his parents. <<

The Baby Richard case was pretty appalling, and there's no way around that.

The Baby Jessica case was a little different. The father stepped in just a few weeks after the adoption placement, but the adoptive parents contested the father's right to, well, have rights, and a judge allowed the adoptive parents to keep her until the case was settled.

The child was almost two when the court finally decided to uphold the law, and the adoptive parents had to give her up. It was pretty traumatic-- or at least seemed so when the TV cameras filmed the screaming little girl being taken away from her home.

However, if the adoptive parents had relinquished her when first asked to, there probably would have been very little trauma.

Most of the people on this thread don't know me; those who were on the AOL MB probably, however, are aware that I take a very dim view of biological ties. My proper mother is my Aunt Chana, who is an aunt by marriage, so believe me, biology is not destiny. The people you are born to are necessarily the people who will love you best.

So the adoptive parents in both cases have all my sympathy.

However, in the Baby Jessica case, I really do believe that the legal system is what failed, and that the biological father is not the villain. First, a law was poorly constructed, then a court waffled on affirming the law. Finally, when a higher court took a firm stand in supporting the law, it did so without taking into account the child's current circumstances, and only looked at the situation when the father first spoke out.

But let's face it: adults always come before children in this world, and as long as that is true, when parents' rights come into conflict with their children's rights, the parents' rights will win.


------------------
------------
--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-05-1999, 04:33 AM
So, I have a question. Do most insurance plans in any way help pay for the cost of adopting kids? They'd have to pay plenty for the hospital costs incurred in having one of your own biologicals, so it seems only fair that they'd do the same for adopting.

What I'm thinking is that they might argue that adopting is a choice, and giving birth is a necessity brought on by pregnancy. But paying for a couple adoptions is a lot cheaper than paying for the twelve kids I could be having.

Any knowledge out there?

06-06-1999, 04:36 AM
>>So, I have a question. Do most insurance plans in any way help pay for the cost of adopting kids? They'd have to pay plenty for the
hospital costs incurred in having one of your own biologicals, so it seems only fair that they'd do the same for adopting.

What I'm thinking is that they might argue that adopting is a choice, and giving birth is a necessity brought on by pregnancy. But
paying for a couple adoptions is a lot cheaper than paying for the twelve kids I could be having.

Any knowledge out there?<<

They don't. They won't even pay for "pre-existing" conditions in most cases, for the kid.

A clever doctor and couple once got insurance to pay for infertility treatments (usually covered, if gounds available) on the grounds that childlessness was causing the couple extreme stress-- so extreme as to interfere with their lives, and it worked. When the couple decided later to adopt, they tried the same "Undue stess," to get adoption money-- the Judge wouldn't heat it.

Stated uneqivocally that adoption is not a medical proceduer.



------------------
------------
--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-06-1999, 01:41 PM
Being adopted, I am appalled by what flaming hoops of death propective parents must hurdle themselves through in this country to adopt a child. More children in 1998 were adopted from Russia than Korea, with the more relaxed international adoption laws going into effect. For the cost of airline tickets, hotel and the adoption agencies fee and legal stuff, parents can fly overseas and adopt a child in half the time that it takes here. Last I heard the waiting list is 7 years for a US baby.

I had a client that had a bunch of his co workers donate their frequent flyer miles so he could fly over to Siberia and his company paid for the hotel/ interpreter and transportation. All they paid for was legal and doctor stuff.

When I was adopted in 1966, my parents wanted a girl. After four (natural) boys they wanted some common sense brought into the family. In September of that year they filled out the paper work requesting twin girls and at the end of November they were told to come in and take a look at a special little girl that was born that they might like . ( I've been ribbed about being 'special" all my life.) It was instant love and by February, the paperwork was completed.

My mom says she could have gone through a room filled with cribs with kids in them for the " pick of the litter" but it would have been to hard to decide. I agree. I've seen some specials on the overcrowding in the orphanages in Russia and I find myself in tears.

Whenever the pro choice/ pro life arguement rears it's ugly head I remain silent and when someone asks me my opinion, I say, " I'm pro adoption." It usually deflates the entire argument right then and there.

06-06-1999, 11:33 PM
Rowan: They won't even pay for "pre-existing" conditions in most cases, for the kid.
Our insurance tried that. As it happens, however, the July before we adopted, a law was passed that requires the insurance companies to treat pre-existing conditions of adopted kids as though they were congenital with a birth child. (I don't remember whether that was an Ohio law or a U.S. law. Let me try to find our old correspondence.)

------------------
Tom~

06-07-1999, 12:23 AM
If that's true, I'm recommending that some of my friends move to Ohio. The want to adopt their foster child, who is autistic, but their insurance won't pay to continue the meds she's on until two years have passed.

Her meds are mostly new, and right now medicaid pays-- about $700/month; I'm not kidding.

The problem is, since she's a foster kid, she couldn't move out of state with them!

::sigh::


------------------
------------
--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny