Monday, September 14, 2009

Adoption Law Institute 2009

PEAR is posting the below announcement concerning the upcoming Adoption Law Institute 2009 being held at PLI for informational purposes only. We do not support the PLI and have had no input into this Institute. We find some of the language (adoptive parents as "consumers") and lack of viewpoints (adoptees, reform advocates) on the panels to be of great concern.

Adoption Law Institute 2009
New York City – December 18, 2009
Live Webcast – December 18, 2009
Cost: $599 (scholarships and group discounts available)

Why You Should Attend

By attending PLI's sixth annual Adoption Law Institute you will learn from a distinguished and experienced faculty from throughout the United States about the latest developments in the fast-changing field of adoption law, and the implications of these developments for your practice. The faculty and the course handbook materials will provide practice tips and practical solutions to a broad range of issues that legal, medical and social work professionals commonly confront in adoption cases.

What You Will Learn

- Representing birth parents in termination of parental rights and voluntary relinquishments/ surrenders: state and national practice and issues
- Adoption from the "Consumers" Perspective by adoptive parents
- Adoption of adolescents from foster care
- Ethical issues in adoption: the costs of both domestic and international adoptions, a panel discussion of standards for international adoptions.
- Financial support for adoption: the Family Medical Leave Act, adoption tax credits, social security, and health care coverage

Who Should Attend

This program is designed especially for family law attorneys, social workers, adoption advocates, adoption agency professionals, mental health professionals, and other related professionals seeking to expand their knowledge of this growing field.

Douglas H. Reiniger, MSW, JD,
The Reiniger Law Firm, New York City & Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Past President, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys

Program Attorney: Janet L. Siegel

9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Introduction & Welcoming Remarks
Douglas H. Reiniger

9:15 AM – 10:15 AM
Representing Birth Parents in Termination of Parental Rights & Voluntary Relinquishments/ Surrenders
• Practice considerations in representing birthparents in defense of termination of parental rights proceedings
• Counseling and legal and ethical issues in representing birth parents who wish to voluntary surrender their parental rights
• Identified adoptions and post-adoption contact agreements
• Comparisons of adoption laws and birthparent representation practice in California and New York
• National policy issues related to the rights and legal representation of birthparents

Michelle Cortese
Elizabeth A. Thornton
A view from the bench: Hon. Edwina Richardson-Mendelson

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM
Networking Break

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Adoption from the Consumers' Perspective
• Panel discussion by parents who have adopted children within the United States (in New York and in other states) through adoption agencies and foster care agencies, and from other countries
• Discussion of the adoption experience in finding a child and working with agencies and adoption attorneys

Rebecca L. Mendel
Kim Susser
Tom Chiodo
A view from the bench: Hon. Edwina Richardson-Mendelso n

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Adoption of Adolescents from Foster Care
• A discussion of the resources available for adoption of older children in foster care
• Strategies for recruiting adoptive parents for adolescents
• Private and government grants and financial support available to recruitment programs and individuals for adoption of older children from foster care

Pat O'Brien
Douglas H. Reiniger
A view from the bench: Hon. Edwina Richardson-Mendelso n

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM
Serving Vulnerable Children at Home and Abroad: A Medical and Legal Perspective
• National experts in adoption law and children's health discuss their opinions on the ways government and non-governmental agencies can help orphans and dependent children
• The legal and medical significance of nurturing and early permanency on the long-term development of children
• A discussion on the proper consideration of heritage and culture when matching children and adoptive parents
• The obstacles to permanency: politics and attitudes

Prof. Elizabeth Bartholet
Dr. Jane Aronson,

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Costs of Adoption: A Survey and Ethical Considerations
• Survey results in comparative costs of domestic and international adoptions
• Review of the comparative costs of adoption in some foreign countries
• Budgeting for adoption in Russia, China, and for independent domestic, agency domestic and foster care adoptions
• Discussion of individual cases that may have deviated from averages
• Ethical and practical concerns about the high cost of adoption

Susan Caughman
Gregory A. Franklin
Mirah Riben

3:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Networking Break

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Financial Support for Adoption: update on FMLA, Adoption Tax Credit, Social Security, Health Care Coverage
• An update of Federal Adoption legislation, with special emphasis on financial issues
• Recent amendments to the Family Medical Leave Act relating to adoption
• The end of the Adoption Tax Credit? Current status and benefits, and the possible termination of the program
• Discussion of other financial support for adoptive parents and children: social security, health care coverage

Mark T. McDermott
Brendan C. O'Shea


Douglas H. Reiniger
The Reiniger Law Firm
New York City & Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Past President, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys


Jane Aronson, M.D.
International Pediatric Health Services, PLLC
New York City
Founder, Worldwide Orphans Foundation
Maplewood, New Jersey

Elizabeth Bartholet
Morris Wasserstein Professor of Law
Faculty Directpr, Child Advocacy Program
Harvard Law School
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Susan Caughman
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Adoptive families Magazine
New York City

Tom Chiodo
New York City

Gregory A. Franklin
Ashcraft, Franklin & Young, LLP
Rochester, New York

Michelle Cortese
Deputy Director
Center for Family Representation
New York City

Rebecca L. Mendel
Rosin Steinhagen Mendel
New York City

Mark T. McDermott
Law Office of Mark T. McDermott
Washington, D.C.

Pat O'Brien
Founder and Executive Director
You Gotta Believe!
Brooklyn, New York

Brendan C. O'Shea
Gleason, Dunn, Walsh & O'Shea
Albany, New York

Mirah Riben
Author of "The Stork Market"
Dayton, New Jersey

Hon. Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelso n
Administrative Judge
New York City Family Courts
New York City

Kim Susser
Director, Matrimonial & Family Law Unit
New York Legal Assistance Group
New York City

Elizabeth A. Thornton
Staff Attorney
ABA Center on Children & the Law
Washington, D.C.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.


MaraRigge said...

And people cannot understand why adoptees are sick and tired of being treated like chattle.

Word examples in this article alone:

"tax credit"
"comparative costs"
"grants and financial support"


When is it going to be about helping families keep their babies?

Answer: NEVER, because MONEY flows when people want babies.

PEAR said...

We couldn't agree with you more. We were very happy to see Mirah Riben on the panel of speakers but disappointed at the lack, once again, of an adoptee voice, and for that matter of anyone involved in serious adoption reform protecting every member of the triad. We posted this notice for two reasons:

1. Mirah asked us to.
2. PEAR feels that triad members need to be aware of conferences and seminars like these so they can either attend and speak up in person or demand a voice in the materials and presentations before they are created.

PEAR is also tired of seeing the "stakeholders" of adoption being referred to as adoption agencies, attorneys, and organizations (like JCICS and National Council on Adoption) who represent the interest of "service providers". Ahem, the true stakeholders are members of the triad - most importantly the children.

~Gina Pollock

carol said...

I heard about PEAR awhile back – about 2 years into my reunion with my son - and thought, "oh, at long last, someone who cares about ETHICS in adoption." I am so sorry to see that you are nothing more than a fresh vein for people to tap into regarding the separation mothers and babies.

"Adoption from the "Consumers" Perspective by adoptive parents."

Wow, just WOW!

Until you advocate for laws (similar to those in Australia) that inform mothers of the life-long suffering that mothers AND their children endure at the hands of adoption lawyers and advocates you are involved in the suffering of innocent people. I am surprised and amazed to read that a so-called ethical organization is advocating for the consumerism of our children.

You just took about 200 steps backwards from what I *thought* you were all about. I am disgusted that you use the word ethics in your title at all.

PEAR said...

Carol, PEAR is NOT holding this conference!!! We did not come up with the program or panels or have anything to do with it. We are also appalled at the language used in this brochure - as I stated earlier, we published this for informational purposes and to hopefully get people to provide comment to the program coordinators, to attend the conference and provide their perspective. PEAR does NOT condone this thinking, nor the marketing of children, nor the coersive separation of children from their mothers!!

Gina Pollock