Drafting and Enforceability of Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
Post-adoption contact agreements are agreements between the adoptive parents and the birth parents that allow birth parents to enjoy a continued relationship with the adopted child after the adoption is finalized. Research has shown that post-adoption contact can be especially beneficial for children adopted from foster care, as they are generally older and have established relationships with birth families. An opportunity to connect with the birth family of the foster child can help the child deal with “attachment issues,” feelings of guilt and sadness that can prevent a foster child from bonding to a new family.1
Post-adoption contact can also be helpful for any adopted child to deal with identity issues. Most adopted children are curious about their background and maintaining some sort of contact, by sharing photographs, family histories, home videos or other birth family documents can be comforting for the adopted child. Understanding the birth family may also help the adopted child deal with feelings of rejection.2 Post-adoption contact can also be helpful for children in transracial adoptions. A child of one race being raised in a family of another race can lead to feeling of loneliness. Contact with the birth family of the same race may help the adopted child appreciate their cultural identity and help in forming bonds with other individuals of the same race.3
The agreement may include other people close to the adopted child, such as the adopted child’s siblings or grandparents, especially in the case of a foster adoption. Agreements must consider the best interests of the child. The agreement can be informal, or a written contract.4
Before advising clients whether to propose or agree to a post-adoption contact agreement, be sure to review the laws in your state. Like many adoption issues, the enforceability of a post-adoption contact agreement varies from state to state. A written agreement can provide grounds for legal enforcement in some states. As with any legal document, the terms and provisions of the post-adoption contract should be carefully considered and clearly defined.
The agreement should state the type and amount of contact, much like a schedule of parenting time in a custody case. The “contact” may be anything from exchanging photographs annually to actual time spent with the birth family. The parties to the agreement must also be clearly defined. You will not want your clients, as adoptive parents, to be subject to the demands of every relative of the adopted child. The agreement should clearly state which relatives are parties to the agreement, and only those who had a relationship with the child in the past should be included.
In states where post-adoption contact agreements are not enforced, but the parties would prefer this arrangement, a written contract is not necessary. However, it may provide the parties with an outline regarding what is expected, to support the continuing relationship between the adoptive and biological parents. Remember that these agreements are voluntary and make sure your client, adoptive or birth parent, is comfortable with the arrangement.
In states where post-adoption contact agreements are enforced, the agreement is negotiated prior to the finalization of the adoption. This is an opportunity for the parties to the adoption to negotiate what will be an acceptable amount of contact. This can put biological parents or their family members more at ease and aid in the completion of a full adoption plan.
Much like a custody agreement, the court must approve the post-adoption contact agreement, and the adopted child may have input depending on state law and the adopted child’s age.5 Again, the child’s input may be helpful in easing the transition into the adoptive family once the adoption is complete. In states where agreements are enforced, any petitions to enforce or modify the agreement must be brought before the court, and the best interest of the child will be considered. Be sure to advise clients that should they feel that the ongoing contact between the birth family is not in the child’s best interest, they have the opportunity to modify the agreement.
Indiana has a very specific law with regards to post-adoption contact for birth parents, which provides: (1) the grant of post-adoption contact privileges is in the best interests of the child; (2) the child is at least two years of age and there is a significant emotional attachment between the child and the birth parent; (3) each adoptive parent consents to the granting of the post-adoption privileges; (4) the adoptive parents and the birth parents execute a post-adoption contact agreement and file the agreement with the trial court; (5) any licensed child-placing agency sponsoring the adoption or other such entity, coupled with any special advocate or guardian ad litem appointed under Ind.Code § 31-32-3-1 et seq., recommends the post-adoption contact agreement; (6) the adopted child, if over twelve years of age, gives consent to the post-adoption contact; and (7) the post-adoption contact agreement is approved by the court.6
Indiana courts have ruled that this statute is the exclusive means of securing post-adoption contact, and should be followed to secure the rights of the birth parent. An appellate court evaluated the requirements of the statute in a case where the birth mother, who consented to her child’s step-parent adoption, later petitioned the court for visitation as a non-parent (under the statute granting visitation rights to grandparents or others). The biological mother did not follow the statutory requirements at the time of the consent and adoption, and attempted to secure visitation as a non-parent at a later time. The appellate court denied her request, reasoning, “we do not believe that the legislature intended that a birth parent’s failure to comply with Ind.Code § 31-19-16-2, resulting in the forfeiture of his or her newly-created right to post-adoption contact, should subsequently act as a means for that birth parent, under the guise of a non-parent third party, to circumvent the statute’s requirements.”7
A birth mother in Indiana agreed to termination of her parental rights after intervention from the Indiana Department of Child Services (Department), on the condition that she would be able to visit with her children after the adoption.8 Subsequently, the birth mother’s visitation privileges were terminated, based on a therapist’s opinion that the continued visits were not in the children’s best interests, as the visits impeded the children’s ability to bond with their new family.9 The decision to terminate visitation was ultimately remanded back to the trial court, based on the Department’s failure to notify the birth mother of the hearing to terminate visitation. The Court did affirm that the birth mother’s visitation rights (as part of her voluntary termination of parental rights) were not unconditional, and would only continue for as long as the visits were in the children’s best interests.10
No state bars post-adoption contact agreements – but many states will not enforce such an agreement. As such, do not encourage adoptive families to make, “false promises,” to birth parents, if you know that your state will not enforce such an agreement or that your clients do not intend to honor one. Additionally, strongly advise any client considering consent to step-parent adoption that regardless of promises made, once parental rights are terminated, a state that does not enforce post-adoption contact agreements will leave the birth parent with no legal recourse if the adoptive parents deny visitation.
Foster adoptions occur when a child cannot be reunited with its birth parents due to abuse, neglect, incarceration or other serious issues. Due to the circumstances leading to foster care, clients seeking foster adoptions may deal with attachment disorder, or other physical or mental health issues of the adopted child. Foster adoption services and publications often refer to, “attachment issues.” Practitioners, while being supportive of clients hoping to foster (and ultimately adopt), need to advise clients of the serious issues that foster children may deal with. Attachment issues include:
- The idea of permanence with a foster/ adoptive family and the termination of the birth parents’ parental rights may trigger intense grief or a sense of loss.
- Bonds with caregivers, even abusive caregivers, are extremely strong. Additionally, past abuse or neglect may be difficult to detect as children in a temporary environment may not have felt comfortable enough to confide in others.
- Children or youth may experience conflicting feelings between love for the biological family and growing affection for and a sense of security with their foster/adoptive parents.
- Sometimes, children or youth struggle to fully commit to adoption unless they know their birth families are all right and that being adopted is acceptable. Connections and contact between foster/ adoptive parents and birth parents can sometimes ease the transition.”11
The attorney should advise prospective foster parents that the best way to handle the unique needs of foster children is to ensure that exhaustive preparation is performed. The foster parents will be able to deal with challenges much easier if they know what to expect. Advocating for your clients includes working with child welfare agencies, social workers, teachers, doctors and the birth parents to ensure that the foster parent client has as much of the following information as possible. The US Department of Health and Human Services, through its Child Welfare Information Gateway, recommends in its literature that foster parents find out:
- What is the general physical description of the child’s birth parents, siblings, and other close relatives? Are there pictures?
- Is there a family history of drug or alcohol abuse?
- Is there a family history of mental illness or other genetic conditions, or predispositions to diseases such as diabetes or heart disease?
- What was the age and cause of death of close relatives in the birth family?
- What is known about the educational background of the birth parents and the child’s siblings?
- What are the special skills, abilities, talents, or interests of birth parents and family members?
- Are there letters, pictures, videotapes, or gifts from the birth family?
- What was the birth mother’s health like during pregnancy, and what was the health of each parent at the time of the child’s birth?
- What is the birth family’s racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious background?/li>
- Is the family of American Indian or Alaska Native heritage?
- How many placements did the child experience? What were the reasons for any placement changes? What does the child remember about his or her placement experiences? What does the child believe about why he or she moved from one caregiver to another?
- What prenatal care did the child receive, and what was his or her condition at birth?
- When did he or she achieve developmental milestones, and have there been any developmental assessments reflecting deviation from typical development?
- Are there prior medical, dental, psychological, or psychiatric examinations and/or diagnoses for this child?
- Are there records of any immunizations and/or health care received while the child was in out-of-home care?
- What is the child’s current need for medical, dental, developmental, psychological, or psychiatric care?
- Why did the birth parents make an adoption plan for the child, or why was the child removed from his or her birth family?
- Did the child suffer any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect? How old was he or she? How often did these traumas occur? Who were the perpetrators of the abuse?
- Are there significant events (early separations, multiple caretakers, abuse/ neglect) in the child’s life that could affect his or her capacity to relate to a new family?
- What are the past and existing relationships in the child’s life with people he or she has regularly lived with or visited? How has the child responded to visits with these persons in the past? If future contact is planned with any of them, how often does it occur? Who is responsible for seeing that it happens? How will our adoptive family be involved in these visits?
- Where is the child currently enrolled, and what is his or her performance at school?
- What are the results of any educational testing?
- Does the child have any special educational needs or outstanding abilities?
- What are the child’s strengths? What activities does he or she enjoy? What are his or her talents, interests, or hobbies? 12
There are over 100,000 children in foster care eligible for adoption in the United States.13 As such, becoming qualified to foster (and potentially adopt) a child can be a rewarding experience for a potential adoptive family. The requirements to be eligible to care for foster children vary from state to state. Each state licenses, or approves, individuals and / or families for foster care, after the individual or family has shown that they meet the safety standards set by the particular state. In most states, applicants to accept foster children must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age. Some states have requirements that the foster parent(s) be U.S. citizens. Make sure when advising clients that you are aware of requirements in your state. In addition to age and residency, an approved foster parent will need to show that they can financially support a foster child, that they are in good enough health to care for a child, that they have no mental health conditions that would interfere with caring for a child, and that they have reliable transportation.14
Most states also require prospective foster parents complete a certain number of hours of training, to prepare for the challenges of caring for a foster child. This training can certainly help clients understand the important role that they will be playing in a child’s life. It can also provide support for dealing with some of the emotional needs of a child in foster care. Most importantly, prospective foster parents need to be advised that their home will undergo an in-depth inspection before they are allowed to accept foster children into their home. At a minimum, the foster home must meet all building and safety codes, and provide appropriate living space for children.15 It is imperative to be able to advise clients on what they can expect when attempting to become licensed foster parents. The Child Welfare Information Gateway (US Department of Health and Human Services) is an invaluable resource, and offers information on requirements state by state.16
Foster adoption is an attractive option for clients who, aside from wanting children, want to make a difference in society, as it provides stability for children without a permanent home.17 Foster adoption is not for every prospective adoptive parent – many clients will tell you that they are only interested in adopting a baby and may not be interested in the unique challenges of foster adoption. However, it is worth discussing the possibility with clients.
Any couple hoping for a child but unable to afford alternative family creation methods like artificial insemination and surrogacy may be interested in foster adoption. The federal government has tried to increase the number of foster children adopted by passing laws to help foster families and foster children. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act Of 2008 is a federal law to improve access to education, medical care and workforce development for foster children. This Act supports increased adoptions by providing financial incentives for adoptive families.18 The Child Welfare Information Gateway lists specific financial assistance information for each state on its website.19
Prospective LGBT foster parents and families will first need to determine whether they qualify to foster in their state, based on the advice of the attorney pursuant to statutory and case law. If the LGBT parents are able to foster children, they then must be approved based on their state standards, as discussed above. Once an individual or family is approved to accept foster children into its home, there is a possibility that if the foster child becomes eligible for adoption, the foster family could adopt the child. Some states even require that a foster family petition for adoption if the foster child becomes available.20 Be sure to make clear to your clients what options are available, should the foster child become eligible for adoption. Most importantly, advise clients that the child may be returned to its birth family, pursuant to juvenile court procedures. Adopting a foster child gives the foster parent full legal parental rights, just as with any other adoption. 21
LGBT clients should be forewarned that even after being approved to foster and being paired with a foster child for adoption, the court must still approve the adoption as being in the child’s best interest. Unfortunately, the best interest determination leaves the LGBT family open to the prejudice of child welfare agencies and even the courts. Although most states have enacted or accepted same-sex marriages, many in society still argue that children should only be raised in traditional households with one male and one female parent. However, many studies have shown that children raised in same-sex households have developed similarly to children in traditional households.22 Based on the large number of children in foster care and the LGBT community interest in adoption, the government has encouraged child welfare agencies and social workers to reach out to LGBT communities to establish much needed foster families.23
For LGBT families interested in foster adoption, RaiseAChild.US is an excellent resource. In their own words,
“There are not enough parents to care for all of the children in the U.S. foster care system. Every leading child welfare organization concludes that successful families come in a variety of configurations. Research supports equality. Together, we can decrease the number of children in the system, by increasing the number of qualified prospective parents. You can make a difference.
RaiseAChild.US is a national nonprofit that promotes family building to a broad spectrum of prospective parents to solve the U.S. foster care crisis. We do not discriminate based on sexual orientation, marital status, gender, age, or income.
RaiseAChild.US is a nonprofit organization that believes all children deserve a safe, loving and permanent home. We educate and encourage the LGBT community to build families through fostering and adoption to answer the needs of the 400,000 children in our nation’s foster care system.” 24
RaiseAChild.US encourages foster adoption by LGBT parents and promotes its mission via social media, radio and television campaigns, partnering with media like the ABC Family program, “The Fosters.”25 RaiseAChild.US provides the following information on its website regarding LGBT parents (all cites taken from RaiseAChild.US):
15 Facts About LGBT Parents
1. Over 65,000 adopted children and 14,000 foster children in the U.S. are being raised in homes headed by non-heterosexual individuals or couples. 26
2. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the number of same-sex couples who have adopted children in the past decade more than tripled, from 6,477 couples in 2000, to 21,740 in 2009. 27
3. Two million GLB people have expressed an interest in raising a child. 28
4. Foster kids do equally well when adopted by gay, lesbian or heterosexual parents. 29
5. Same-sex couples raising adopted children are older, more educated, and have more economic resources than other adoptive parents.30
6. Public support for allowing gays and lesbians to adopt children has steadily increased. While in 1999, only 38% favored gay adoption and 57% opposed it, in July 2012 52% favor gay adoption while 42% were opposed. 31
7. Six million American children and adults have an LGBT parent.32
8. 41% of lesbians and 52% of gay men have considered adoption.33
9. LGBT parents may be judged more harshly than heterosexual parents. 34
10. LGBT-headed families are not a new phenomenon. 35
11. Lesbian, gay or heterosexual adoptive parents raise equally well-adjusted children. 36
12. Lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents bond equally well with adopted children. 37
13. Adoptive parents’ ability to work cooperatively with each other is more important than sexual orientation in raising children with fewer behavior problems. 38
14. Teens with lesbian mothers are psychologically well-adjusted, academically successful, and report strong family bonds and quality social relationships with their peers. 39
15. Lesbian and gay couples are adopt transracially more often than heterosexual couples; transracial adoptions also occur more often among interracial rather than same-race couples. 40
In almost every state, an adult may legally adopt another adult. This process of adult adoption has the same legal effect as the adoption of a child – the adopted adult is considered as a child of the adoptive parent. The consent of the adult adoptee is required. The adoptee’s “best interests,” are not considered, as the adoptee is an adult and can presumably decide for themselves whether the adoption is appropriate. The adoptive parent’s fitness is not considered. Again, because the adoptee is an adult, the adoptee will not depend on the adoptive parent, and so the parent’s fitness is not at issue. The main reasons that adult adoptions are performed are to create inheritance rights, to formalize the parent-child relationship of a step-parent or close relative, and to secure the care of, or insurance coverage for, a disabled adult.41
In some circumstances, adult adoption can be used as a realistic solution to a problem. For instance, a client that would like to secure inheritance rights for a family friend may do an adult adoption to avoid more complex estate planning or in an attempt to avoid a probate issue. Other reasons include access to health insurance coverage and other employee benefits, allowing recovery in tort actions and survivor benefits, life insurance, Social Security payments, visitation privileges to hospitals, or jails, attainment of immigration status, taking advantage of rent control, and permitting an adopted child of a university employee to enroll free of charge.42
Adult adoption has also been used to create a legal relationship for same sex couples in states where same sex marriage is not recognized. In some cases, the courts have denied the petition for adoption. In a New York case, the court required that the parties prove a parent-child relationship, even thought the statute had no such requirement.43
Parties have attempted to use adult adoption in more unusual ways. For instance, a New Jersey case involving the adoption of a fifty-two (52) year old woman by a fifty (50) year old man and a fifty-three (53) year old woman. New Jersey state law requires a ten (10) year age difference for adult adoptions. The adoptive “parents” (a married couple) testified that the three lived together as a single unit, and that the adoptive parents felt an adoption would seal the close bond that they shared, although they had no stated legal reason for the adoption. Meaning, it would secure no property for the adoptee, as the adoptive parents owned no property. The Court found no basis to waive the age requirement. The parties could act as a family without the need for the adult adoption.44
In the above case, the parties were unable to complete an adult adoption as they did not meet the age requirement and could give no reason for the court to waive the age requirement. In the following case, and adult adoption was approved – and led to less than desirable results for the adoptees children. Justine Critzer died intestate, with no spouse, siblings or children of her own. The administrator of her will, Nancy Donak, determined that Justine Critzer’s closest living heirs were her sister’s (Mary Kummer) children (the Kummer children). The Kummer children normally would have been able to divide the estate amongst them, as they were Justine Critzer’s closest and only living heirs. However, Nancy Donak filed a motion to prevent the Kummer children from inheriting. The basis for the motion was that the Kummer children’s mother, Mary Kummer, was adopted as an adult at the age of fifty-three (53). As a result of the adult adoption, Mary Kummer was no longer Justine Critzer’s sister. Because Mary Kummer was no longer Justine Critzer’s sister, the Krummer children were no longer Justine Critzer’s niece and nephews. The Kummer children could not inherit from their former aunt’s estate.45 This case clearly illustrates that adult adoptions cannot be performed without serious consideration of the legal relationships that could be affected, even for future generations.
Attorneys also need to advise their clients that the adult adoption is generally irrevocable.46 So, the client needs to seriously consider whether the adult adoption is the best solution. Certainly with the rapidly changing laws regarding same sex marriage, the LGBT client may elect to marry in an available state, rather than proceed with an adult adoption. The marriage can be dissolved, should the relationship of the parties end. In the case of an adult adoption, it is possible an adoptee / partner could enjoy benefits discussed above or inherit from the adopter, long after the relationship ends.
FMLA Certification to Request Leave to Adopt a Child
The basic leave provided by the FMLA is twelve work-weeks of leave in a leave calculation year. Employees will be eligible for FMLA leave if they have been employed twelve months and have worked at least 1250 hours in the twelve months prior to the leave. Employees must also work for an employer with at least fifty employees in a seventy-five-mile radius. While an employee is on FMLA leave, a replacement employee may not permanently fill the employee’s job unless the employer offers the employee reinstatement to an equivalent job.47 Attorneys should advise prospective adoptive parents that they are treated as biological parents under the FMLA.48
The Family Medical Leave Act allows new parents up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve (12) month period in order for a child to be placed for adoption or foster care, and to care for the adopted or foster child.49 The leave is intermittent, and adoptive parents may take leave before the actual placement of the adopted child, for court appearances, counseling, or any other absence necessary for the adoption to proceed. The source of adoption (agency, foreign country, etc.) has no impact on eligibility for leave. Ability to take FMLA leave expires 12 months after placement of the adopted child.50
The forms used for certification (used with medical leave) are not relevant to the adoption. An employer may ask for a letter from an attorney or adoption agency to certify that the adoption process is underway. The employer may request recertification if the adoption process takes many months. The employer should allow the employee to attend the birth of the adopted child.51
The attorney must advise clients of their eligibility for FMLA leave, and assist with notifying employers of the statutory requirements. The adoption process is unique enough that even a well-meaning employer may not be familiar with the law. An attorney can also assist the client in drafting appropriately worded certification letters to satisfy an employer’s request.
Indian Child Welfare Act after Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was passed in response to an unusually high number of Indian children being placed through child welfare agencies with non-Indian families. In the 1970s, there were several reports of Indian children being hastily removed from Indian communities without due process. The Indian communities demanded fairness for Indian families and preservation of Indian culture. As a result, the ICWA was passed. The ICWA requires that 1) termination of parental rights will only be granted when rehabilitative efforts prove unsuccessful, and 2) it is determined that continued custody by the Indian parent will result in serious damage to the child. If placement is necessary, preference should be given to family, tribe members or other Indian families.52 The ICWA is similar to the requirements of juvenile court acts in many states, requiring that the state give parents rehabilitative opportunities before parental rights are terminated. The ICWA has the added protection of placing an Indian child within their community or at least with another Indian family and / or community.
In the case of Couple v. Girl, Birth Mother and Birth Father were engaged for several months, but the relationship ended before the birth of Baby Girl. Birth Father informed Birth Mother via text message that he wished to relinquish his parental rights. As a result, Birth Mother arranged to have a couple from South Carolina adopt Baby Girl. Adoptive Couple were present at the birth of Baby Girl in Oklahoma and returned to their home in South Carolina with Baby Girl. Birth Father signed papers stating he would not contest the adoption.53
After signing the adoption papers, Birth Father hired an attorney and stayed the proceedings, seeking custody of Baby Girl. The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the Family Court’s decision to return Baby Girl to Biological Father (at 27 months old) pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act. Attorneys for Adoptive Couple checked the Cherokee nation database for Birth Father’s name before proceeding with the adoption, but his name was not found due to a clerical error. Birth Father is a member of the Cherokee Nation and Baby Girl is 3/256 Cherokee.54
The case was appealed and eventually heard by the United States Supreme Court. The Court found that Section 1912(f) of the ICWA applies ONLY to “continued custody,” by Indian parents. Birth Father did not establish any type of custody prior to contesting the adoption. Similarly, Section 1912(d) does not apply (requiring rehabilitative services prior to “breakup” of Indian family), as no family unit was ever created.55
The US Supreme Court cautioned that the ICWA could be invoked “at the eleventh hour,” under South Carolina’s ruling and discourage people from adopting children with Indian heritage. Several justices dissented, criticizing the Court’s literal reading of the ICWA term, “continued custody,” and the perceived view that, “…a family bond that does not take custodial form is not a family bond worth preserving.”56
Regardless of opinion on the outcome of the case, the outcome is potentially catastrophic for the child and families involved. In this particular case, the adopted child spent twenty-seven (27) months with the adoptive family, and was reunited with a biological parent that she’d had no contact with. Ultimately, the child was returned to the adoptive family. Disrupting the stability of a child is not an ideal outcome. For the attorney involved, careful consideration must be given to all steps in the adoption process. Had the error regarding Birth Father’s Cherokee heritage been avoided at the outset of the case, the outcomes (especially for the child) would have been vastly different. As an attorney handling a delicate process like an adoption, the utmost care must be utilized to avoid impeding birth parents’ rights and disappointing adoptive parents’ expectations.
The Supreme Court’s literal reading of the ICWA led to easing the restrictions against placing Indian children outside of Indian families. The Couple v. Girl opinion held that in order for Indian tribes to be given placement preferences under § 1915(a) of the ICWA they have to actually file a petition for adoption rather than just intervening in the child custody case.57 As such, the Indian family or community of the adopted child would need to file a competing petition for adoption to be considered for placement.58
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Couple v. Girl clearly played out in a case that immediately followed. In Native Village of Tununak v. State, Baby Dawn was placed with a non-Indian family, the Smiths, after a hearing. The Court found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there was, “good cause,” to deviate from preferred placement, as Baby Dawn had been with the Smiths for an extended period. Additionally, Baby Dawn’s maternal grandmother failed to convince the Court that she desired to adopt Dawn, as she had not kept in contact with Baby Dawn while she lived with the Smiths.59 The case was remanded by the Alaska Supreme Court, requiring that “good cause” be proven by clear and convincing evidence, rather than just a preponderance of the evidence. Four days after the Alaska Supreme Court remand, Couple v. Girl was decided. Applying the decision to the case at bar, the Alaska Supreme Court found that no, “good cause” finding was necessary, since the maternal grandmother never filed an adoption petition.60
1 Solangel Maldonado, Permanency v. Biology: Making the Case for Post-Adoption Contact, Capital University Law Review, 37:321 at 329 (2009).
2 Id at 325-27.
3 Id at 330-35.
4 Child Welfare Information GateWay. Post-Adoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families. US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. (2014). Available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/cooperative.cfm
6 In Re Visitation of AR, 723 N.E.2d 476, 478-9 (Ind. App. 2000).
8 In Re M.B., 921 N.E.2d 494, 495 (Ind. 2009).
9 Id at 497.
10 Id at 501.
11 Child Welfare Information GateWay. Foster Parents Considering Adoption. US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. (2012). Available at http:// www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f fospar.cfm.
12 Child Welfare Information GateWay, Obtaining Background Information On Your Prospective Adopted Child, US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. (2012) available at: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_background.pdf
13 Child Welfare Information GateWay. Foster Parents Considering Adoption. US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. (2012). Available at http:// www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f fospar.cfm.
14 Child Welfare Information GateWay. Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents. US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. (2014). Available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/homestudyreqs.pdf
16 See Appendix A.
17 Child Welfare Information GateWay. Foster Parents Considering Adoption. US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. (2012). Available at http:// www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f fospar.cfm.
18 Implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 Working Document. (September 10, 2013). Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/implementation-of-the-fostering-connections.
19 Adoption Assistance by State https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/adopt-assistance/ (last visited April 11, 2015). See Appendix C.
22 Patricia Brown, Homosexual Adoption and the Law, The York Scholar v. 6.2 at 17-20 (Spring 2010) available at https://www.york.cuny.edu/academics/writing-program/the-york-scholar-1/volume-6.2-spring-2010/homosexual-adoption-and-the-law.
23 Child Welfare Information Gateway, Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families in adoption. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau (2011) available at https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_profbulletin.pdf.
24 https://www.raiseachild.us/why-we-exist/ (last visited April 10 2015).
25 https://www.raiseachild.us/campaigns/ (last visited April 10, 2015).
26 Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, Expanding Resources for Children III: Research-Based Best Practices in adoption by Gays and Lesbians, October 2011. http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/publications/2011_10_Expanding_Resources_BestPractices_ExecSumm.pdf
27 The Williams Institute, Gay Adoptions Skyrocketing in United States, October 25, 2011.
28 The Williams Institute, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, March 2007.
29 American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, October 2012.
30 The Williams Institute, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, March 2007.
31 Pew Research Center, 2012.
32 The Williams Institute, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, March 2007.
33 The Williams Institute, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States, March 2007.
34 Journal of GLBT Family Studies, March 2013. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1550428X.2013.765257#.Uc44UOuVymE
35 http://www.mombian.com/2012/10/30/milestones-in-lgbt-parenting-history/ See Appendix B.
41 Joanna Grossman, The Potential Consequences of Adult Adoption for Inheritance: A Recent Virginia Supreme Court Ruling, Verdict, October 20, 2011 at 1. Available at https://verdict.justia.com/2011/10/20/the-potential-consequences-of-adult-adoption-for-inheritance.
42 Jackie Messler, The Inconsistent Inheritance Rights of Adult Adoptees and a Proposal for Uniformity, Marquette Law Review, Vol. 95 1042 at 1054-55 (Spring 2012) available at http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5121&context=mulr.
43 Id at 1056.
44 In re the Matter of P.B. and S.B. for Adoption of L.C., 920 A.2d 155, 157 (N.J. Super., 2006).
45 Kummer v. Donak, 715 S.E.2d 7, 8-10 (Va. 2011).
46 Jackie Messler, The Inconsistent Inheritance Rights of Adult Adoptees and a Proposal for Uniformity, Marquette Law Review, Vol. 95 1042 at 1058-59 (Spring 2012) available at http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5121&context=mulr
47 Nancy J. King, The Family Medical Leave Act, Marquette Law Review, Vol. 83, 321 at 329 (Winter 1999) available at http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1377&context=mulr.
49 Family Medical Leave Act, http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/ (last visited April 7, 2015).
50 Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR, When Supervisors Often Make and FMLA Mistake – Adoption and Foster Care. February 20, 2012. available at http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2012/02/20/when-supervisors-often-make-an-fmla-mistake-adoption-and-foster-care/#
52 Couple v. Girl, 133 S.Ct. 2552, 2557 (2013)
53 Id at 2558.
54 Id at 2559.
55 Id at 2560-64.
56 Id at 2565-86.
57 William N. Smith and Richard T. Okrent, The Washington State Indian Child Welfare Act, American Indian Law Journal, Vol. II 146 at 165 (Fall 2013) available at http://www.law.seattleu.edu/Documents/ailj/Fall%202013/Okrent-Final.pdf.
59 Native Vill. of Tununak v. State, 8-11 (Alaska 2014).
60 Id at 15-28.