Most adoptions are successful and the child and adoptive family blend to create a new whole. However, this is a process which takes time and expertise. Too often, families who adopt older children in particular experience unique challenges and receive little support. Without this support, we sometimes see desperate families seeking alternative placements for their adopted children which are not likely to be successful and may actually be dangerous to the child. The family may be charged with child abandonment and the child will not have services which are critically important to make the transition into the new family.
In 2014 and 2015, states have passed a number of laws to prevent these unregulated secondary adoption processes. Colorado, Florida and Wisconsin laws ban "advertising" of adopted children over the internet. In Louisiana and Oklahoma, if a family places an adopted child with a second family without legal oversight, they face criminal charges.
Virginia has taken a creative approach by encouraging adoptive families in crisis to seek help before they consider placing their adopted child in an unregulated way. The new Virginia law provides that when the Division of Vital Records issues a post adoption birth certificate, they must supply a list of post adoption support services to the individual family. Vital Records must update the list annually and maintain this list on its web-site.
View the law here
The hope is that families who are struggling will know where to turn to seek helpful services like respite care, adoption competent counseling, and support groups in their communities. We encourage families who are struggling to seek help from their adoption agencies and adoption attorneys to move forward in healthy ways.
Drafted by Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.
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