March 19th, 2008
Posted By:
Categories: Education

First let me say: in this game, everyone is a winner. Why? Well, there are no physical prizes. Wait! Don’t walk away! Instead, everyone who plays (or, really, reads) will learn a little something! Learning is good. I try to learn something everyday, not necessarily about adoption but about life in general. So, I though I would help expand your knowledge about birth parents and their place in the adoption triad and process.

And, truth be told, I think I’ll make this a weekly occurrence! Learning things each week surely can’t hurt!

The preface of the game: I’ll present a question at the end of the post. You, the reader, are to avoid the temptation of opening another browser window and Googling for the answer. You are to put down your Very Best Guess in the comment. Even if you have absolutely no idea what the answer could be, offer up a guess. Feel free to comment back and forth with other commenting participants about their guess. Just keep things respectful, of course.

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The following day, approximately 24 hours after posting, I will reveal the answer to the question in a new post along with further explanation behind the post and an invitation to discuss things further if people so desire. In the end, we’ll all learn something interesting and get involved in the learning process.

But really? No Googling! Cheaters don’t win in the long run. Ask the New England Patriots. (Oh, that was a low blow. But what can I say? I’m still salty that my team didn’t make it very far this year. Le sigh.)

Anyway! Enough football commentary! Let me ask this week’s question.

What percentage of adoptions are contested?

Remember that contested means that a biological parent (or other pertinent entity) attempts to legally fight the adoption based on the laws that govern their state. This could be an accusation of fraud or duress or a father whose rights were not respected in the relinquishment of the child. Contested does not mean overturned. Contested simply means “legally challenged.”

Please leave your answer in a comment below. No Googling. No asking your adoption statistics professor. Best guesses only. (If you happen to know the actual statistic because you’re a numbers geek like me, please refrain from posting until tomorrows answer, which will hit around 12:30pm EDT.) Thank you!

Photo Credit.

6 Responses to “Let’s Play a Game!”

  1. BestLight says:

    Darn. And I have my adoption statistics professor on speed dial :-) .

    I’m gonna guess 1.5%. I think the number is probably pretty small.

  2. Lindy says:

    I’m going to guess 20%. I’d like to think that there are birth parents out there that are willing to really fight for their kids.

  3. Heather says:

    Actually get to the point of a legal challenge? I’m guessing it’s really, really small. Like 1% or less.

  4. Small note: one comment is missing because it was an accidental double post. I didn’t remove an answer because it was “right.”

    Anybody want to discuss why they picked the answer that they did? Like Lindy stated her reason?

    I feel all-powerful in knowledge right now. Muahahaha.

  5. KatjaMichelle says:

    Ok because I’m late to the party I’m sure it’ll look like I’m jumping on the low number bandwagon but I really was thinking 1% prior to reading everyone else’s response.

    I think though that it does depend I’m thinking 1% for domestic infant adoptions not foster care. I think there are many reasons including lack of knowledge about how to contest, not waking from the fog in time to contest, and not having access to legal representation to contest just to name a few.

  6. colgoo says:

    10% is my guess.

    Oh, I’m so out of this. I used to know this answer a couple of years ago, when I was researching contested adoptions all over the place (that’s how I started reading these blogs). We went through a contested adoption. It was heart-breakingly hard…the birth father who contested refused to mediate with us or get himself a lawyer after his objection was filed. A year after his objection was filed, the judge terminated his rights when he didn’t show up at the pre-trial hearing.

    So, I am going to guess that 10% of adoptions are contested for one reason or another, but I think that less than 1% actually go through the full-blown trial. There are so many steps in the process.

    Here are my tips if you’re a birth parent going through this process:

    If you want to contest an adoption, get a good lawyer very quickly, because the more time that goes by, the less likely you will be to overturn the adoption. If our daughter’s birth father had pushed for the trial right after his objection, we would have most likely lost the case because of pro-birth father rights in both of our states. And, he could have found a lawyer to represent him for free/reduced cost.

    Make sure to keep your cool and do show a willingness to mediate with the adoptive parents. If you lose your case, there is a hope that you may be able to still have a relationship with your child. Sure, the adoptive parents may be jerks. But, they could also be quite reasonable people who are willing to work with you. We were actually hoping to work out an open adoption arrangement, if things went well with mediation.

    If you’re an adoptive parent going through this:

    Make sure you have your own adoption attorney to check into whether or not your agency was unethical. Our attorney assured us that our agency hadn’t screwed up. We were in a highly unusual situation with our contested adoption because of some legal loopholes between our two states that made it possible for the situation to occur in the first place – that and the birth mom had been a little less than honest with people.

    Have positive thoughts about the birth parents. Try not to let your close friends and family belittle them for the situation you are in. Remember that they have qualities that are in the child you love and are raising right now. The mediation period before the pre-trial hearing is very important. If you want to avoid costly legal debts, don’t be jerks. Listen to the birth parents and try to work with them.

    Have hope that this child will remain with you; but if it looks like you will have to relinquish the child to the birth family because you don’t stand a chance, then try not to be bitter. See if you can build enough of a friendship that you would get updates if things did not turn out in your favor.

    Okay…sorry to hog the comments.

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