Committed to Promoting Adoption Reform and Sharing Information

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys is a national association of approximately 340 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.

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

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

April Webinar 

Our next webinar is scheduled for April 5, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. ET. “LGBTQ Cultural Competency for Adoption & ART Attorneys and Their Staff” will be presented by Academy Fellow and President-Elect Deb Guston. Words matter. As lawyers and social workers, we intrinsically know that words matter, but sometimes, we don’t know the “right” words to use. This may be especially true when working with LGBTQ clients. Our webinar will review culturally competent language and provide a knowledge base for effectively and respectfully working with members of the LGBTQ community.

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.

Montreal Sponsor/Exhibitor Registration

The Academy’s 2017 annual meeting is being held in beautiful, historic Montréal, Canada, May 7 - 10, 2017. We hope you will join us!

Please check out the Registration Form to see what is being offered this year! In addition to new and creative sponsorship opportunities, we have included increased sponsor benefits and, as a way to thank you for committing early to the success of our conference, we are offering EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS through December 31!

For sponsors and exhibitor who wish to commit to joining us at both our annual meeting and our Mid-Year in Anaheim, California - September 16 - 19, 2017, we are also offering discounts. The Mid-Year will be an ART conference for attorneys (Fellows and non-Fellows), and also include an ART Paralegal Program that will precede the Attorney Program. If you are interested, please give Jennie Sullivan a call at 317-407-8422 to discuss the additional incentives available.

As always, thank you for your generous support of the Academy - we value your friendship and contribution to the success of the Academy.

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 Spring CLE Conference
May 3-6, 2017
Savannah, GA

Centers for Excellence Conference
May 17-18, 2017
San Diego, CA
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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