I recently worked with a couple seeking to adopt a child to be born to a northern Virginia mother. Coordinating with a Virginia attorney whom I knew as a colleague from the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, arrangements were made to provide some financial assistance as permitted by the laws of Wisconsin and Virginia. The birth mother was somewhat elusive at times and was raising several of her own children. No father around. The couple flew to meet her and came away anxiously anticipating bringing home their first child. As time went by, the behavior of the birth mother raised concerns with me, our clients and the attorney in Virginia. It was decided that eventual placement was unlikely and our clients made the sad and difficult decision to withdraw.
As rarely happens, within days our clients were contacted concerning a possible placement from a birth mother in North Carolina. A NC Academy attorney was retained to coordinate the legal part of the placement. Our clients hopped in their car and drove straight through from Wisconsin to NC, met the baby boy, completed the NC and ICPC requirements and returned to Wisconsin with the little guy.
The story didn’t end there for me or our clients. Several weeks later my wife and I attended the 25th anniversary Gift of Adoption Fund dinner in Milwaukee. As many of you may know, the Gift of Adoption Fund raises money to give grants to adopting couples who need financial assistance to complete their adoptions. My wife and I were assigned to the table which was reserved for a grant family. GOAF honors a grant family at its annual dinner and has them talk about their adoption journey including how GOAF played an important role. I hadn’t met my clients in person for the VA and NC cases but communicated only by phone during our representation of them. We exchanged names and began chatting. It suddenly occurred to me that they were my clients. I was meeting my clients for the first time. The baby could not been better behaved for the entire evening, was absolutely adorable, and was cared for lovingly by both parents. Reflecting on the evening reminds me why I am so privileged to be an adoption attorney.
— Steve Hayes is a Fellow of AAAA and practices adoption and ART law in Wisconsin.