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The Truth About Domestic Adoption

The Truth About Domestic Adoption

I keep hearing that adopting in the U.S. is rare, expensive, and risky. The statistics—and my own experience— argue otherwise. by Eliza Newlin Carney

From 2003 Adoptive Families Magazine.

"Not long after my husband and I adopted our infant daughter, we went to a summer barbecue where we met another couple with a young child. When it came up that we had adopted Beth domestically at birth, they were unbelieving. “We Read More

When You Adopt Under the Laws of Another Country

U.S. Readoption Explained by Peter Wiernicki

from Adoptive Families Magazine, May/June 2002

Q: My husband and I just completed an international adoption. Is it necessary for us to readopt our child in the United States?

A: Most adoption professionals recommend that adoptive parents readopt their child if their state permits them to do so. Readoption is the legal process of adopting a child again in the United States,

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It’s The Law: Health Insurance for Adopted Children

It’s The Law: Health Insurance for Adopted Children

BY MARK T. MCDERMOTT

Click HERE to View the Entire Article As a PDF

Q: Our health insurance carrier is refusing to provide coverage for the medical expenses incurred shortly after our newly adopted child was born. Is there any law that controls such situations?

A: As a result of Federal and state legislation that has been in place for several years now, discrimination by

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The Top 10 Secrets of Successful Adoption Travel

"The adoption trip is a defining moment in a family's life, the event that brings parent and child together at last.

Virtually all adoptive parents travel to meet their new child, to a nearby city, to another state, or to a distant country. The adoption trip is a defining moment in a family’s life, the event that brings parent and child together at last. This event usually takes place in Read More

How to Lobby Your Employer for Adoption Benefits

For working people who want to adopt, the need to take time off without pay doesn’t have to put adoption beyond your financial means. By Elizabeth A. Mair

From 2002 Adoptive Families Magazine

"If anyone is seeking an issue for which to crusade in his workplace, may I suggest employee adoption benefits? If you are “waiting,” this is the time to make a pitch to your employer to institute

Read More

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The Truth About Domestic Adoption


The Truth About Domestic Adoptions

I keep hearing that adopting in the U.S. is rare, expensive, and risky. The statistics—and my own experience— argue otherwise.

by Eliza Newlin Carney

From 2003 Adoptive Families Magazine.

“Not long after my husband and I adopted our infant daughter, we went to a summer barbecue where we met another couple with a young child. When it came up that we had adopted Beth domestically at birth, they were unbelieving. “We thought that didn’t happen,” they objected, seemingly incredulous that our family could exist at all.” – From the Article

Click Here to View the Full Article as a PDF

When You Adopt Under the Laws of Another Country


U.S. Readoption Explained

by Peter Wiernicki

from Adoptive Families Magazine, May/June 2002

Q: My husband and I just completed an international adoption. Is it necessary for us to readopt our child in the United States?

A: Most adoption professionals recommend that adoptive parents readopt their child if their state permits them to do so. Readoption is the legal process of adopting a child again in the United States, after the child has been lawfully adopted in another country. In a readoption, the adoptive parents, once back in the U.S., petition the appropriate court in their state of residence to adopt their child under the laws of their state. ” – From the Article – Click Below to Read More!

Click Here to View the Full Article as a PDF

It’s The Law: Health Insurance for Adopted Children


Health Insurance for Adopted Children

BY MARK T. MCDERMOTT

Click HERE to View the Entire Article As a PDF

Q: Our health insurance carrier is refusing to provide coverage for the medical expenses incurred shortly after our newly adopted child was born. Is there any law that controls such situations?

A: As a result of Federal and state legislation that has been in place for several years now, discrimination by health insurance carriers against adopted children is prohibited in most situations. Prior to 1993, numerous problems existed. For example, insurance carriers would delay coverage until an arbitrary date, such as the finalization of the adoption in court. Another problem resulted when carriers excluded coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA’93), Public Law 103-66, amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The amended law requires that any group health plan which provides coverage for dependent children must provide benefits to a child placed for adoption under the same terms and conditions as apply to a child who is the biologic child of a plan participant. OBRA’93 specifically eliminated any requirement that the adoption be finalized in court before there is coverage. The new law also prohibits carriers from restricting coverage of adopted children on the basis of a preexisting condition. The changes implemented by OBRA’93 apply to the medical benefit plans of all employers subject to ERISA. Since ERISA covers almost all employers except government employers, OBRA’93 provided broad coverage to families with adopted children.

Even the above gap in coverage has been closed. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-91, which also amended ERISA, extended the prohibition against discrimination to governmental employers. As a result, health insurance coverage for adopted children is now available to all families covered by group health plans as soon as those families assume financial responsibility for the child.

Several other things were accomplished by HIPAA. For example, HIPAA mandates that group health plans must offer the employee the right to enroll the new child in the plan immediately. Under prior law, immediate enrollment was sometimes not possible if the adopted child joined the family at a time when the employee was not eligible to elect coverage, i.e. when it was not “open season.”

Except in a small number of states that have special new laws, adoptive parents cannot purchase coverage for the birth mother’s medical expenses because she is not a dependent of the adoptive parents. The insurance coverage discussed in this article only covers the separate medical expenses of the child. If the adoptee is a newborn, he or she will have a medical bill, separate from the birthmother’s, reflecting the expenses incurred for the child’s care at the hospital from the time of birth until the child is discharged from the hospital. Those expenses are the ones which will be covered by the adoptive parent’s carrier. Under the law, as amended by OBRA’93 and HIPAA, coverage does not commence until the time of “placement.” The term placement, however, is defined in the statute as the time when the adoptive parent assumes financial responsibility.

Health insurance plans that are not employer-sponsored plans (i.e. individual plans) are not subject to Federal regulation. Those plans are regulated by state law. Fortunately, many states have their own laws that prohibit discrimination against adopted children in connection with health insurance. If you are covered by an individual plan, you should check the laws of your own state to determine your rights.

Mark T. McDermott, J.D., is a Washington,
DC attorney. He is a past president of the
American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and
currently serves as the Academy’s Legislative
Chairman. He is also an adoptive parent.

Click HERE to View the Entire Article As a PDF

The Top 10 Secrets of Successful Adoption Travel


“The adoption trip is a defining moment in a family’s life,
the event that brings parent and child together at last.

Virtually all adoptive parents travel to meet their new child, to a nearby city, to another state, or to a distant country. The adoption trip is a defining moment in a family’s life, the event that brings parent and child together at last. This event usually takes place in unfamiliar surroundings, which makes it all the more memorable—and stressful. Adoptive Families asked veteran adoptive parents, those who have made the journey and lived to tell the tale, for their best travel advice, suggestions that go beyond packing lists and sightseeing recommendations. They came up with a collection of ideas that are wise—and sometimes surprising.” – From the article by Carrie Howard for Adoptive Families Magazine.

Click Here to View the Full Article as a PDF

How to Lobby Your Employer for Adoption Benefits


For working people who want to adopt, the need to take time off without pay doesn’t have to put adoption beyond your financial means.

By Elizabeth A. Mair

From 2002 Adoptive Families Magazine

“If anyone is seeking an issue for which to crusade in his workplace, may I suggest employee adoption benefits? If you are “waiting,” this is the time to make a pitch to your employer to institute or improve these benefits. If you have already completed your adoption, you can certainly remember that your employer undoubtedly could have provided more support with paid leave, adoption fee reimbursement or both. ” – From the Article

Click Here To View the Full Article as a PDF

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