Legal representation of birth parents and adoptive parents.
Vol. 9, No. 4 , p.73-80
Taylor and Francis Group
530 Walnut Street Suite 850
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Domestic infant adoption has two primary goals: (1) preventing the unnecessary separation of family members by ensuring that birth parents make informed and deliberate decisions and (2) protecting the finality of adoptive placements. Ideally, these goals are complementary and can be balanced. There is, however, a danger of the second goal eclipsing the first. Many state laws appear to value an increase in infant adoptions over the goal of encouraging careful deliberation. Most domestic infant adoptions involve powerful market forces as well as powerful emotional pressures, and they occur in the context of a national commitment to encourage adoptions of older children and children with special needs. Infant adoption service providers? livelihoods or profits generally depend on successfully arranging adoptions for their primary clients, who, for the most part, are relatively prosperous, well-established, and socially favored married couples whose desires to bear children have been thwarted by infertility. In their efforts to adopt, these couples often face great difficulties and pay high fees. By contrast, birth parents in the stressful situations that lead them to consider placing their infants for adoption are not an organized group and are relatively powerless and socially disfavored. This article examines the role that legal representation of these parties may or may not play in independent adoptions in promoting the deliberate decision making and finality that characterize ethically and humanely conducted adoptions. (Author abstract)
birth parents; adoptive parents; decision making; legal processes; infant adoption