There is a must-read article at SFGate.com which has some alarming statistics on the number of children in foster care in the U.S. According to the article, which was written to commemorate November as National Adoption Month, on any given day:
“…[M]ore than 423,000 children are in the foster care system,
[N]early 115,000 of them are available for adoption, just waiting for the right family to find them.”
The article goes on to quote another interesting statistic from the National Adoption Attitudes Survey, which found that nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults have considered adoption. That’s 81.5 million people who have considered. If 1 out of every 500 of those people actually followed through and adopted a child in need, every child
in foster care would (at least mathematically) be placed in adoptive
If you are thinking about adoption, or are interested in doing more to promote adoptions in this country, you may want to check out the Dave Thomas Foundation
, which is dedicated to increasing the numbers of adoptions in the U.S. Give some serious thought to adoption, particularly in times where we are looking at a world that is likely to have insufficient resources for the people already populating the planet.
If you are interested in legal issues involving foster care and adoption, particularly large scale public policy issues, you should consider contacting the National Center for Youth Law (NYCL)
, one of the foremost legal advocates in the area of foster care. I was fortunate to have done an internship with NYCL during law school, and know the enormous contribution they are making to improve foster care conditions for children all over the country.
In particular, NYCL publishes a “Foster Care Reform Litigation Docket” that details their important work in this area, which is just one of their many areas of work on behalf of poor children.
Gestational surrogates in two states, New Jersey and Michigan, have successfully won custody of the children to whom they gave birth. Unlike standard surrogacy arrangements, gestational surrogacy is an arrangement where the birth mother agrees to carry the pregnancy to delivery after having been implanted with an embryo to which she typically has no genetic relationship. For an excellent discussion of surrogacy laws and arrangements, both in the U.S. and internationally, you can link to a Wikipedia article here.
In the New Jersey case, Angelia G. Robinson agreed in 2006 to carry a fertilized embryo for her brother and his same-sex partner, which they had fertilized with the partner’s sperm. Subsequently, raising allegations that she was coerced into the arrangement, Angelia sought custody of the child. Superior Court Judge Francis Schultz sided with Angelia, relying primarily on an earlier New Jersey Supreme Court case, In re Baby M. (1988) 109 N.J. 396, 536 A.2d 1227. A PDF copy of the Baby M. case is in the Box for those interested.
In a similar development, Michigan couple Amy Kehoe and her husband Scott arranged for the use of a gestational surrogate, Laschell Baker, after acquiring an egg and sperm from third parties. Baker successfully sought custody of the twins borne of the pregnancy, claiming that she took action upon learning that one of the parents had been treated for mental illness.
An excellent discussion and comments on these cases can be found at Jonathan Turley‘s blog here. Another excellent article can be found at The Huffington Post, written by Jacob M. Appel, here.
What are your thoughts on these kinds of cases? Should Angelia have won any custody rights when she was not biologically related to the child? Are these cases examples of CIVIL RIGHTS or CIVIL WRONGS?