ACARAL Stands by Independent Adoption

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The American College of Assisted Reproduction and Adoption Lawyers (ACARAL) views the adoption lawyer as an integral part of the adoption process, and believes that the future of independent adoption in New York should not be endangered. New York adoption lawyer Kevin Cohen has allegedly stolen thousands of dollars from trusting, hopeful adoptive parents while promising them newborns that never existed (First District Court, Hempstead, New York, Docket No. 024872/09). ACARAL disagrees with some in the New York adoption agency community who appear to be exploiting this emotionally charged matter to call for the introduction of legislation that would serve to prohibit all private adoption in the state.

The American College of Assisted Reproduction and Adoption Lawyers (ACARAL) views the adoption lawyer as an integral part of the adoption process and believes that the future of independent adoption in New York should not be endangered. According to the Nassau County (NY) District Attorney, New York adoption lawyer Kevin Cohen has allegedly stolen thousands of dollars from trusting, hopeful adoptive parents while promising them newborns that never existed (First District Court, Hempstead, New York, Docket No. 024872/09). He was arrested on September 25 and has pled not guilty to charges which include second degree grand larceny and first degree scheme to defraud, and ACARAL has seen additional prospective adoptive parents from all over the United States come forward as complainants. A grand jury is considering additional charges. Cohen is currently being held on $500,000 bail.

These charges should not serve as an indictment of all adoption lawyers, however. ACARAL disagrees with some in the New York adoption agency community who appear to be exploiting this emotionally charged matter to call for the introduction of legislation that would serve to prohibit all private adoption in the state. Currently, more than half the adoptions in New York are done privately, without any agency involvement. State courts and administrative bodies regulate fees for both adoption lawyers and agencies, but agencies routinely make a great deal more money than lawyers for each case they handle. Ultimately, under the pretext of public safety, the risk is that adoption agencies will try to increase their revenues by advocating for the government to provide them with a virtual monopoly. (Lawyers in New York cannot match adoptive parents with birth mothers or babies; rather, they perform legal work.)

Independent adoption is often a more affordable choice for prospective parents. It also offers more control and access to information, shorter waiting times for locating a birth mother, and - most importantly - the safety and security of knowledgeable, ethical legal representation.

ACARAL maintains that the role of the lawyer in the adoption process is essential. The organization believes that a more responsible course of action is to educate the public about legitimate, experienced adoption lawyers with strong records of success and peer recognition. ACARAL's position is that there are many fine adoption agencies doing wonderful work, but the role of the adoption lawyer should not be diminished.

About ACARAL

The American College of Assisted Reproduction and Adoption Lawyers (ACARAL), a not-for-profit organization, was created to share ideas, promote and maintain ethical standards, provide resources to the general public, and advance understanding in these constantly evolving areas of law.

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