Advocacy for Adoptive Children
As adoption professionals, IAAU members, their adoptive families and our public affairs team have work tirelessly year round with members of the Indiana General Assembly and with local and state agencies to educate policymakers and enact meaningful adoption reforms so that all parties involved in each adoption do what is in the best interest of the child.
Since 1995 we have given our collective voice and professional experience to the promotion of positive adoption laws and education events. We continue to advance the ethical and best practice standards for those touched by adoption. Over the years our efforts have resulted in legislation that has benefited the adoption community in the following areas.
- The adoption search process. It established respect for the rights of both the birth family and the adult person adopted. Penalties were formed for organizations or individuals who were not following the laws or using ethical practices during the search procedure.
- Living expenses paid to birth mothers. It established standards that would be both sufficient to help the birth mother and be fair and reasonable. It set a maximum amount of money that could be paid to birth mothers during her second and third trimesters and for up to six weeks after the birth of the child. Living expenses were defined for essentials or necessities, such as rent, food, and utilities etc. It established adoption deception as a crime such as when a women who was not pregnant and/or was accepting living expenses from more than one prospective adoptive family.
- Safe Haven legislation which addressed the increase in the abandonment of newborns, ( i.e. the"trash can" babies) by providing a dignified and safe method to see the child receives the care they need. Decreased time frames for a child who is in the State foster care system before obtaining a permanent family.
- Prohibiting Adoption Facilitators, "match making services" primarily motivated by profit from advertising in the telephone directories. Birth and adoptive parents suffered from such facilitators who did not know Indiana adoption law and /or used unethical and unprofessional practices. Advertisements in telephone directories for adoption services must now be sponsored by a licensed child placing agencies or attorneys. It established a Class A misdemeanor as the penalty for facilitators who violate the law.
- The sharing of non-identifying information between birth and adoptive families or the adopted person. Legislation now requires all Licensed child placing agencies, attorneys, doctors or any other organization to provide non-identifying information to adult adoptees when requested. This law also includes a requirement for the length of time files must be maintained.