After my book, The Complete Guide to International Adoption, was published I received a lot of questions and heard a lot of comments about the complexities of adoption laws in other countries and the hoops they made adoptive parents jump through in order to adopt. This always made me smile when I thought about how confusing adoption laws are in the US.
Rather than one set of adoption laws, as is the case in many other countries, the US has 50 sets of adoption laws, and not a one of them are the same. Each state has different laws governing how to adopt, who is allowed to place children for adoption, and what is allowed.
Case in point: who can handle adoptions, provide adoption services, and work with expectant parents. In some states, facilitators are allowed and even licensed (California), while in other states they are forbidden. In some states attorneys can handle all aspects of adoption, including matching expectant mothers with adoptive families, while in other states they are restricted to doing only the legal work. This makes it hard to make blanket statements about who adoptive parents should work with, since so much depends upon where they live.
The burden falls on adoptive parents to do their homework ahead of time and talk with several professionals, adoption agency, and adoption lawyers in their state to find out what is allowed. This week’s Creating a Family show will help you begin to make sense of the use of adoption consultants, adoption facilitators, and adoption attorneys.