Adoption

Poverty and a series of bad decisions led to my daughter’s adoption

In 2005, I fell in love with a woman and moved across the country to be with her. She was having problems, and I wanted to help. I had no idea she was running from the Department of Children and Family Services because she had wrecked her car with her daughter, Casey, in it.

What I soon learned was that my girlfriend had a mood disorder and when she wasn’t on medication she could be violent … Read More

Influencing Adoption

I froze. My head was pounding and I felt like that should have been my last day working in child welfare. I just wanted to go home and lock myself in my room.

I was in Bronx Family Court, being yelled at because a parent on my caseload had missed a visit, even though up until that point, she had always made all her visits.

“What happened? Why didn’t this visit happen?” the judge asked, over and … Read More

3 legal options to consider when facing termination of parental rights

If you’ve been off track in bringing your children home, you may feel that you’ve already lost. But it’s important to talk to your lawyer about exceptions to the Adoption and Safe Families Act that may allow you to continue working toward reunification. Each state has different rules. Below are some New York state exceptions you should talk to your lawyer about.

Termination of parental rights is not always mandatory:

Agencies can decide not to change the … Read More

A new bill aims to preserve family bonds after TPR

A coalition of NYC lawyers and advocates has proposed a new bill, Preserving Family Bonds, which would give New York City family court judges the power to order contact between adopted children and their biological families after the termination of parental rights (TPR). Right now, biological parents and children have no legal rights to see each other after a TPR if the adoptive parent doesn’t want it, even if a judge believes it’s in the … Read More

Mothers handle post-adoption grief

The grief parents suffer when they lose children to foster care and adoption is “invisible and often goes unacknowledged,” explains Toronto-based social worker Kathleen Kenny and parent advocate Sheryl Jarvis, who run a 15-week support group for women who use drugs and have experienced having one or more children removed or adopted.

Q: How would you compare the grief of a parent who loses a child to adoption to a parent whose child dies?

Jarvis: When a child … Read More