Before perspective adoptive parents can accept a match, they must weight a variety of medical and legal issues. What risks should parents consider and how do you know if a match is right for you? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews James Fletcher Thompson, an adoption attorney in South Carolina and a fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys since 1993; and Dr. Lisa Prock, a pediatrician specializing in adoption medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard University, on the legal and medical risks in domestic infant adoption.

Highlights of the show (click to expand)


  • Is it possible to adopt on your own, or do you have to use an adoption agency or adoption attorney to adopt a baby?
  • What is the difference between an agency, attorney, facilitator and consultant.
  • Is it advisable to adopt without the help of an agency or attorney?
  • What is meant by an adoption friendly state? Is there a state that is better than others to try to find an expectant mom who may want to place her child for adoption?
  • What are the different time periods that expectant parents or birth parents have to change their mind?
  • As you assess legal risks of domestic infant adoption what are some factors you should consider?
  • Is it possible for a birth family to get the child back after an adoption is complete?
  • Who gets to make decisions for the baby in the hospital?
  • What are some of the legal issues with birth fathers?
  • Can a birth grandparent challenge an adoption?
  • What are some red flags that you’ve seen that adoptive families should be wary of when adopting a baby in the US?


  • What are the most dangerous drugs or substances that an expectant woman can take as far as impact on the fetus and baby?
  • Impact of alcohol on a fetus and baby, both short term and long term?
  • Impact of opiates (prescription and non-prescription) on a fetus and baby, both short term and long term?
  • Impact of methadone on a fetus and baby, both short term and long term?
  • Impact of heroin on baby, both short term and long term?
  • Impact of methamphetamines on a baby, both short term and long term?
  • Impact of marijuana on a baby, both short term and long term?
  • Is their an effect on the baby is the mother smokes tobacco during pregnany?
  • Is the impact to the child less if the child is not born dependent on the drugs?
  • Timing of exposure to drugs or alcohol during pregnancy.
  • If the birth mother stopped using drugs and drinking when she found out she was pregnant, will the baby be spared the worst of the impact?
  • What are the risks to the baby if the mother has Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C?
  • What is the heritability of certain mental illnesses?
    • Bipolar
    • Schizophrenia
    • Depression
    • Antisocial behaviors
  • Is ADHD inheritable?
  • Should adoptive parents worry if the expectant mom has not had prenatal care?

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Image credit: Sean Davis