Announcing New Unified Name

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”), and its subsidiary academy The American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (“AAARTA”), are now unified under one Academy name: The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. The organization will retain the well-known acronym “AAAA” and looks forward to a new, fresh unified logo and website. You may continue to find us at our current websites, www.adoptionattorneys.org and www.aaarta.org.

“The Academy is pleased to now have one unified name that reflects our international reach as well as our credentialed presence in the law of family formation – whether that formation be via adoption, ART, or both. AAAA was formed in 1990. The subsidiary AAARTA was formed in 2009. The new unified name represents a blend of a well-established method of family building and securing parentage for children through adoption with the newer technologies of building and securing families through assisted reproductive technologies.”
- AAAA President Debra Guston

Committed to Promoting Adoption Reform and Sharing Information

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys is a national association of approximately 460 attorneys who practice, or have otherwise distinguished themselves, in the field of adoption law. The Academy's work includes promoting the reform of adoption laws and disseminating information on ethical adoption practices.

Distinguished Adoption Attorneys

Academy Fellows must be licensed for at least five years and have acted as lead counsel in at least 50 adoption proceedings, including 10 interstate (ICPC) placements in the two years prior to being invited to join the Academy.  They must maintain their practice according to the highest standards of ethics, competence and professionalism.

Adoption Attorneys Provide Legal Advice and Protections

Adoption laws across the United States are statutory and they must be followed to the letter in order for a successful adoption to occur. An attorney is your best advocate to ensure a successful adoption by examining the laws involved and providing you with an successful adoption plan.

Find an Attorney

Working with an expert in adoption law will help ensure that your adoption proceeds smoothly. The Academy Directory is a listing of the current fellows of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys in each State.  Find an Adoption Attorney.

Find an Agency

The Agency Directory provides you with information about adoption agencies that have an affiliation either directly or indirectly with one or more current AAAA members. The fact that an agency is listed in the Agency Directory should not be construed as an endorsement of that agency by the Academy.  Find an Adoption Agency.

Considering Assisted Reproductive Technologies?

You may also want to learn about building your family through the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology.  For more information about this option please visit us at the Aaart Alogo Onlywebsite.

FOCUS ON A FELLOW  

To learn a little in depth information about some of our Fellows, check out this link where we have detailed interviews just click FOCUS!

2017 National Moot Court Competition

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys has supported the Capital Law School National Moot Court Competition focusing on adoption and child welfare law since 2007.  This year's final round held Saturday, March 11, 2017, selected as the 1st place team and Ryan Ramos and Kendra Tovey of the University of San Diego School of Law.

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Academy President, Colleen Quinn, one of the final round judges is pictured above with the winning team.  Congratulations to the runner-up team from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Heather Nelson and James Naughton.  The Academy extends its thanks to Capital Law School and all participating 23 teams for the excellence demonstrated throughout this competition.

Interested in joining AAAA?  

If you are interested in becoming a Fellow of the Academy follow this link for member qualifications to join the Academy

Provisional Membership Program for Adoption Attorneys

An opportunity for younger, less experienced adoption lawyers to have access to AAAA programs and begin the path to full Fellowship.
Provisional Membership Information is now available. For information review our Bylaws.

News

Adoption Tax Credit Preserved in the House and Senate!

The Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys would like to thank all of you who have worked so hard over the past few weeks to spread the word about the importance of the ATC. Our persistence has paid off! The Adoption Tax Credit was reinstated in the House tax reform bill and preserved in the Senate's tax reform proposal. 

Here’s the official statement from the Save the Adoption Tax Credit Coalition:

WASHINGTON: Save The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group issues the following statement in response to the House Ways and Means Committee’s updated tax reform bill and the release of Senate Republicans’ proposed tax reform bill:

“We are deeply appreciative that the House Ways and Means Committee has reversed its proposed elimination of the adoption tax credit and has taken a step to support American families by retaining the adoption tax credit as part of H.R. 1, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Additionally, we are pleased the Senate Republican’s proposal has also retained this important tax credit.”

“As the legislative process for tax reform moves forward, Congress should ensure that any final bill maintains the current availability and amount of the adoption tax credit for all Americans that currently qualify. Anything less would result in Congress picking winners and losers among children and their families. Beyond retaining the current credit, improvements should include reinstating refundability of this credit so more middle and lower income families can benefit as they welcome a child into their home.”

“On behalf of the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group, a coalition of more than 150 adoption and family building advocates, nonprofits, attorneys, and religious organizations across the United States, we appreciate the work that Chairman Kevin Brady and Representatives Mike Kelly, Diane Black, Trent Franks, and Danny Davis did to reinstate the adoption tax credit in the House bill. We look forward to working with all Members of Congress to preserve and enhance the credit. All children deserve a forever family.”

If you are one of the many people who sent a letter or made a call to your Member of Congress, be sure to thank them for listening! You can easily do this by going to the Adoption Tax Credit Website's "Take Action" page which will link you directly with your Members of Congress. 

Although this is indeed a victory, the work is not done yet. The Academy will continue to fight to preserve and enhance the credit! We look forward to your continued help and support. #SavetheATC

     Adoptiontaxcredit

Academy IAC Volunteer or Reduce-Fee Attorneys

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys recently learned of the bankruptcy filing by the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) which is licensed in California, Florida, New York, Indiana, Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. The announced permanent closing of all IAC offices and its programs nationwide has left many families in dire straits. Some may be in the middle of an adoption and are now left without supervision of the placement in order to complete and finalize the adoption, while others have paid substantial sums of money to participate in the IAC adoption program, which money will now likely be lost. This is a situation which should never happen.

The Fellows of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys have pledged to assist those families that now find themselves in this untenable situation. The Academy will assist these families in order for them to obtain their files from IAC, or to have them transferred to other reputable licensed adoption agencies. The Academy will also assist in advising those families as to be best way to proceed with regard to their prospective adoptions. In most instances, there will be no charge, or a reduced charge, for these services. See list here:  Academy IAC Volunteer or Reduce-Fee Attorneys.  Alternatively, I, Colleen Quinn, Academy President, can be contacted at president@adoptionattorneys.org to provide referral to a volunteer attorney. We are very saddened by this situation and will endeavor to provide as much support as possible. 

The IAC Bankruptcy case was filed on 2/3/17 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California and assigned case no. 17-10427. The 1st meeting of creditors is scheduled for 3/14 in Oakland. Click here for a copy of  IAC Bankruptcy Petition and the  IAC Bankruptcy Petition Supplement.

Lexi's Case and ICWA

We are closely following the California case (Lexi's Case) that has been receiving international attention and support reform to ICWA that may result in the public's knowledge of how ICWA is being used. Unfortunately, Lexi is not alone. These types of situations have been happening for years - probably most well known is the Baby Veronica case (Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl). There are many more - many more families who were scared to go to the media as their families and lives were devastated. These public cases are not anomalies. Lexi’s case shows clearly the tragedy that ensures when the child’s best interest is not the ultimate test of where a child should be placed. Lexi’s case is now before the United States Supreme Court on a petition for writ of certiorari, which the Academy supported by filing an amicus brief in support of the appellant former foster parents to Lexi, arguing the child’s best interests must be the paramount consideration in ICWA cases.

As the nation’s largest constituent group of adoption attorneys, AAAA had a dramatic impact on proposed regulations published in 2015 governing the Indian Child Welfare Act. See  Academy Responds to New Indian Child Welfare Guidelines submitted to the BIA. In response, the BIA adopted a majority of the recommendations and concerns of Academy, for instance by affirming that voluntary adoption proceeding do not require notice to the tribes, and recognizing that parents have rights to make their own adoption plans for their children. The new regulations may be found on our ICWA page.   For detailed information please go to the Academy's webpage for ICWA in our section on Children's Rights.

Family Formation Charitable Trust Announces Grants

The Family Formation Charitable Trust is pleased to announce that an additional $8,000 in grants were awarded in the September 2015 funding cycle to several families and one 501c3 organization...for more information read the full summary on Family Formation Charitable Trust.

Academy Praises Supreme Court Decision as child friendly.

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys are gratified by the child friendly opinion embracing marriage equality, issued this morning by the United States Supreme Court.  To read entire press release click  Supreme Court Decision Press Release.

Academy Responds to New Federal Indian Child Welfare Guidelines and Proposed Regulations

Washington, DC – The nation’s largest constituent group of adoption attorneys, law professors and judges is reacting to the Department of Interior’s recently issued guidelines from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) concerning the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law established in 1978 to protect Native American children, families and tribes and to address the issue of the mass removal of Native American children from reservations by state welfare agencies. The law was enacted to protect “the relationship between Indian tribes and Indian children domiciled on the reservation.”  For Full Press Release: Academy Responds to New Indian Child Welfare Guidelines &  Webinar - BIA Guidelines.  UPDATE: The BIA took a dramatic and unfortunate step subsequent to publishing the new guidelines when it next announced its intention to propose regulations based on the new guidelines.  The Academy has voiced its strenuous opposition to this development in the  Academy Comments to BIA Proposed ICWA Regulations submitted to the BIA.

Events in 2017

December Webinar

The Academy’s next webinar is scheduled for December 5, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The 1.5 hour webinar, “Employment Law: What Every Adoption or ART Attorney Needs to Know” is being presented by Academy Fellow Colleen Quinn.

Employment law impacts adoption and ART law in many frequent ways. This webinar will address several of these employment law issues such as what leave may or may not apply to any persons giving birth or about to care for a newborn – including how and when the Family and Medical Leave Act applies? What is the difference, if any, between paternity and maternity? What is intermittent FMLA leave and who qualifies? How does short-term disability factor in for persons giving birth? How does COBRA or HIPAA work when carriers or expectant parents change jobs or health insurance? What constitutes pregnancy discrimination? Under HIPAA laws – just how much does the employer need to know? We will address these issues and many more. Sign up today!

Click on the link below to register. 

Employment Law: What Every Adoption or ART Attorney Needs to Know (Academy Fellows receive discounted pricing!)

Featured Youth from The Adoption Exchange

AAAA is committed to ensuring children find forever families. This week we have two children who through the Adoption Exchange are waiting for adoptive homes that we want to share with you. If you or someone you know has love and a home to share with one of this children please go to the Adoption Exchange page on our website to learn more about them and how to take the first step to providing one of them (or both!) a loving, forever home.

Academy 2018 Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri

Pioneering on the Plains:
Forging New Directions in Family Formation

The Academy’s 2018 Annual Conference is being held in Kansas City, Missouri, April 29 - May 2, 2018.

Please visit the Annual Conference webpage for more information and to register.  

Webinars for Purchase

For a List of Recent Webinars on Adoption, ART law, Surrogacy offered by the Academy click Adoption and ART Webinars.

2017-2018 Educational Opportunities

ABA Family Law Section 2017 Fall CLE ConferenceOctober 4-7, 2017Beaver Creek Mountain, CO

ABA Family Law Section 2018 Spring CLE Conference
May 9-12, 2018
Nashville, TN

For further information concerning the above ABA events, please contact: Cynthia (“Cindy”) G. Swan, Director – Section of Family Law, American Bar Association | 321 North Clark Street | Chicago, IL 60654, Office Direct: 312.988.5619 | Cell: 773.490.9320, cynthia.swan@americanbar.org | www.americanbar.org