Adoption As An Infertility Solutionby: Michael Russell Platinum Quality Author
Until recently, adoption, like infertility, rarely received much national attention. Thanks to television, however, millions of people, including many future adoptive parents, saw the beaming faces of men and women who had become the legal parents of babies form South America, Romania, China and other parts of the world where the children, almost always girls, might otherwise have been consigned to lives of neglect or outright starvation.
In unwelcome contrast, we also saw a screaming child forcibly snatched away by a stranger from the only parents she had ever known. That "stranger" was her biological father, who had been granted the legal right to claim her after she had been given up for adoption by her mother.
It is estimated that in the United States, approximately fifty thousand children are adopted every year. At least five times that many people are trying to become adoptive parents. Adoption has always been a hazardous enterprise, but no more so than parenthood itself. During a time when definitions of the family are yielding to social change, practically all the established pronouncements of family law are in a state of contention. The laws affecting adoption vary from year to year, from state to state and from city to city within the same state.
One cheerful note: in response to widespread outcry against judges whose decisions ignored the well-being of the child, the interests of the child are now represented by social workers, psychiatrists and lawyers with at least as much passion and determination as the interests of the embattled adult litigants. (The interests of the child have almost always been represented in divorce and custody cases.) Potential adoptive parents needn't be discouraged by these battles. They should try, however, to keep informed of how legal decisions might affect them.
Having made the decision to investigate the options of adoptions, you may scarcely know how and where to begin. If you don't want to be at the mercy of experts, try to collect as much information as possible on your own and make a habit of jotting down useful names, addresses and phone numbers in a purse-size notebook.
You might begin at your local public library, where you're likely to find several useful books covering all aspects of the subject of adoption. You can find out how to contact state and national non-profit referral organizations, as well as how to get started on the adventure of adopting a child from a foreign country. The librarian can also tell you how to get in touch with adoptive parent support groups in your community. Contact the office responsible for social services in your city or county for additional information.
All prospective adoptive parents are advised to postpone their efforts to locate a child to adopt until they have consulted a lawyer. Find a lawyer who knows everything there is to know about your state's current adoption laws and who might eventually become the intermediary for the adoption itself. To locate such a practitioner, family members and close friends or the state or county bar association can be helpful. If you trust your judgment about character an decency, you can also look in the local Yellow Pages for an attorney who is a specialist in adoption law and arrange a consultation.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Adoption
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