The business that we have formed is a private adoption agency. Formed in 1997, we have successfully handled over 600 adoptions. We are located in Clearwater, Fl and came about as a joint effort of six women who wanted to come together to help other girls and women in need of finding a home for their babies and for providing loving parents with a healthy child. Each of us are equal owners in the business and have invested financially in our company. We also strive to be wise and resourceful in seeing that all aspects of our business run smoothly.
We consist of four women, ducated with social work backgrounds and two of us are attorneys. This ensures that we can contribute to both the counseling that will be necessary and also cover the legal aspects of any binding contracts that will arise with the adoption process. (SH) In the world of adoption we understand that couples have many choices and agencies available to them. The media and other outlets are also an unending source of bad experiences about the adoption process.
Because of this we understand that our company will always face challenges in this industry. However, we approach our calling to this field by giving of our time, experience, and love of what we do. It is our hope that by giving of ourselves to our adoptee children, clients, and our community, our company will stand out not only in the adoption industry, but in the business community as well. (TR) Friends of Hope also specializes in the adoption of frozen embryos. This service enables the adoption of frozen embryos that are transferred by IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization.
This special adoption process gives adults with frozen embryos a chance to give them up for adoption rather than estroy them. It is also a great adoption alternative for some parents who would like to experience the pregnancy and birth process, but are unable to conceive through conventional methods. (TR) Three Proposed Moral Issues: 1. Frozen Embryo Adoption We have come to embrace and accept all the new changes in technology that affect our agency. There is a continuing debate on the new approach of adopting out frozen embryos.
Our agency has become one of only a handful of specialized organizations to openly agree with and condone providing frozen embryos to infertile couples. We have an established relationship with a doctor and his fertility clinic and we offer our services as needed in situations involved with this complex and often controversial issue. (SH) Our company understands that the adoption of frozen embryos presents some unique moral challenges to the parents that are giving up their embryos, as well as for the couples adopting them.
First and foremost, we recognize that the adoption of frozen embryos is not a conventional method of adoption. In technical terms these children are not yet born and are ot out in the world waiting for a home. For the parents that have frozen embryos that they do not wish to use, it is a very complex decision as to whether or not they should give up these embryos or have them destroyed. To them these embryos represent part of their hope for a family. Most of them resulted from a harvesting process in which the couple tried to conceive as many viable embryos as possible.
It is very common that after giving birth to some of these embryos, the couple does not wish to have any additional children. Since the use of these embryos for research is not idely accepted, giving them up for adoption is another alternative for them. (TR) We also comprehend the fact that couples who adopt and give birth to these children are in a very complicated situation that involves not only explaining the situation to their adopted children, but also justifying the fact that they adopted a “frozen” child instead of one that was already born and in need of a family.
It is common for the children in this circumstance to feel some confusion that is not experienced by normal adopted kids. After all, if they are adopted then how is it that their mom ave birth to them? (TR) For all of the above dilemmas, our company approaches each one of them with wisdom and understanding. Our staff carefully goes over all of the circumstances and expectations with both parties involved in the process. Our counseling services help these couples to deal with the emotions that are a normal part of the situation and help them to ensure that this is the appropriate moral decision for their family. TR) Who Gets? For many infertile couples desperate to bond with their adoptive child prior to birth, the process is worth it. Lucinda and John Borden of West Covina, Calif. tried to have children for almost five years without success. “The biggest attraction of embryo adoption is that I could carry the baby,” Lucinda Borden says. “I wanted to be pregnant and this was my opportunity. I also liked the fact that it was an adoption process, and not just a donation. We had to go through the same home study as any other adoption.
We know who the genetic family is, and so will our children. ” (SR) The Bordens keep in contact with the genetic family via e-mail and the families have met in person. “My advice is to find out from your doctor irst if this is even an option,” Lucinda Borden says. “We decided if it didn’t work, we wouldn’t have children. There were not a lot of cons to weigh. The cons were in adoption itself. It is a risk. It doesn’t work for everyone; you have to decide whether or not to take the chance. ” (SR) Doni and Jim Brinkman of Phoenix, Ariz. arried in 1994 and were very eager to start a family. After a year of trying to conceive, the couple began to seek out the cause of their infertility. In 1997, they were told that they were not likely to conceive a child without medical assistance nd were advised to consider IVF or to pursue adoption. (SR) “Devastation could not adequately describe the depth of emotion we experienced,” Doni Brinkman says. “Since childhood, my life goal was to be a mother. I remember days of grieving so intensely I felt like I had to remind myself to breathe. (SR) After several failed attempts at starting a family on their own, the Brinkmans turned to adoption. But they were disheartened with the wait time, and Doni still desperately wanted to be pregnant. “Finally, in 1999 we had a glimmer of hope,” Doni says. “Two different riends brought me information on Nightlight Christian Adoptions Snowflake Program. When I read the literature I knew instantly that this would be the perfect opportunity for us. The fact that any children born to us would not be genetically related was never of any consequence to either of us.
Families are about choice and commitment, not genes. ” (SR) In February of 2000, the Brinkmans were notified that they had been chosen. Six months later, three embryos were thawed. Two survived the process and were implanted into Doni’s uterus. One of those embryos went on to become the Brinkmans’ dream come true. SR) “We will be attempting another transfer in May of this year and I am really hoping for more little redheads! ” Doni says. (SR) Who Gives? Patrick and Susan Glass of Monroe, N. C. know the pain of infertility. In June of 1999, they attempted IVF for the first time, and 36 embryos were cry preserved. SR) In January 2000, 12 embryos were thawed and transferred, and the Glasses became pregnant with triplet baby girls: Mollie, Reilly and Sydney. (SR) “Our lives really did change,” Susan Glass says. “Not all couples are blessed with the children they want. Our journey through infertility made his fact even more real. We feel a kinship with those who really desire to have children and can’t. Together we decided to contact the organization I heard about, Snowflakes, and put our remaining 15 embryos up for. (SR) Medical Requirements Adopting mothers must be physically able to carry a child to term.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) suggests that the genetic parents have current blood work results dated at least 6 months post conception. ASRM currently recommends the following blood tests: AIDS (antibodies to HIV I and HIV II), Hepatitis (HbsAG, antibodies to hepatitis B and C, and E core antibody), Syphilis (VDRL [RPR] – if positive, then FTA or MHATP) and blood typing. (SR) Making It Legal Many state laws determine that a woman who gives birth to a child is his/her parent, and few states have any statutes covering embryo adoption.
All reputable specialists in this field recommend that contractual documents be drawn up between the genetic and adopting parents that clearly define the agreement. (SR) Some programs, like Snowflakes, have the same type of agreement that is used in traditional adoptions. A home study is prepared on the adopting amily that includes screening and education. The genetic family is responsible for selecting a family to raise their genetic child as opposed to the doctor in a clinic making the selection of a family, and they relinquish “parental rights” before the embryos are transferred.
However, there are many unregulated programs and no consistent policies. (SR) The Cost Agency program fees average around $5,000. Costs can include a home study, file maintenance, facilitating communication between genetic and adopting families, preparation of contracts, relinquishments and other egal paperwork, counseling for both sides, facilitating communication between clinics and doctors to ensure that requirements are met for the transfer of the embryos between states, and coordination of shipping of the embryos. SR) Medical expenses vary by provider from $800 to $2,500 for an embryo transfer. (SR) 2. Gay Parent Adoption The moral issues that can arise within the adoption agency are usually involved in trying to satisfy all of the parties of the adoption process. We have all types of families that may be interested in adopting including gay couples. We are trying to find loving homes for children in need so if the gay couple fits all the criteria of providing an overall stable and nurturing environment then we are willing to provide our services to them.
We will not discriminate against anyone based on race, creed or sexual orientation. (SH) The last decade has seen a sharp rise in the number of lesbians and gay men forming their own families through adoption, foster care, artificial insemination and other means. Researchers estimate that the total number of children nationwide living with at least one gay parent anges from six to 14 million. (SR) At the same time, the United States is facing a critical shortage of adoptive and foster parents.
As a result, hundreds of thousands of children in this country are without permanent homes. These children languish for months, even years, within state foster care systems that lack qualified foster parents and are frequently riddled with other problems. In Arkansas, for example, the foster care system does such a poor job of caring for children that it has been placed under court supervision. (SR) Legal and Policy Overview of Lesbian and Gay Parenting Many states have moved to safeguard the interests of children with gay or lesbian parents.
For example, at least 21 states have granted second-parent adoptions to lesbian and gay couples, ensuring that their children can enjoy the benefits of having two legal parents, especially if one of the parents dies or becomes incapacitated. (SR) Recognizing that lesbians and gay men can be good parents, the vast majority of states no longer deny custody or visitation to a person based on sexual orientation. State agencies and courts now apply a “best interest of the child” standard to decide these cases.
Under this approach, a person’s sexual orientation cannot be the basis for ending or limiting parent-child relationships unless it is demonstrated that it causes harm to a child — a claim that has been routinely disproved by social science research. Using this standard, more than 22 states to date have allowed lesbians and gay men to adopt children either through state-run or private adoption agencies. (SR) Nonetheless, a few states — relying on myths and stereotypes — have used a parent’s sexual orientation to deny custody, adoption, visitation and foster care.
For instance, two states (Florida and New Hampshire) have laws that expressly bar lesbians and gay men from ever adopting children. In a notorious 1993 decision, a court in Virginia took away Sharon Bottoms’ 2-year-old son simply because of her sexual orientation, and transferred custody to the boy’s maternal grandmother. And Arkansas has just adopted a policy prohibiting lesbians, gay men, and those who live with them, from serving as foster parents. SR) Research Overview of Lesbian and Gay Parenting1 All of the research to date has reached the same unequivocal conclusion bout gay parenting: the children of lesbian and gay parents grow up as successfully as the children of heterosexual parents. In fact, not a single study has found the children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged because of their parents’ sexual orientation. Other key findings include: (SR) . There is no evidence to suggest that lesbians and gay men are unfit to be parents. (SR) .
Home environments with lesbian and gay parents are as likely to successfully support a child’s development as those with heterosexual parents. (SR) . Good parenting is not influenced by sexual orientation. Rather, t is influenced most profoundly by a parent’s ability to create a loving and nurturing home — an ability that does not depend on whether a parent is gay or straight. (SR) . There is no evidence to suggest that the children of lesbian and gay parents are less intelligent, suffer from more problems, are less popular, or have lower self-esteem than children of heterosexual parents. SR) . The children of lesbian and gay parents grow up as happy, healthy and well-adjusted as the children of heterosexual parents. (SR) 3. Record Access for Biological Parents The main issue that we will face on a daily basis is that of onfidentiality. We will have birth parents who don’t want their identity disclosed for any reason and also adoptive parents who don’t want their names revealed to the birth parents for fear of repercussions later on.
We have strict and binding contracts that clearly state all the desires of each party involved and in most cases we can draw up contracts based on the specific requests of the parents involved. We have two attorneys that are specifically designated for this process and we will do our best to come up with an agreement that can be implemented and adhered to by all involved parties. SH) Statement of Ethical Principles 1. We agree to provide the most knowledgeable and caring staff to assist all clients with all aspects of the adoption process. TR) 2. Our staff will always present background checks and all unrestricted information on any prospective adoptee and their biological parents, as well as potential adoptive parents. (TR) 3. We as a group are committed to the protection of the adoptive children, and will always act in their best interest. (TR) 4. As a company and member of the community, we consent to upholding all Federal and State laws, regulations, and statutes, in regards to the doption process and fees charged. (TR) 5.
The adoption of any child by our agency, to the best of our ability, should result in a nurturing, healthy and loving environment. (SH) 6. We will serve the needs of the birth parents by keeping any information confidential unless otherwise states by them. (SH) 7. We will serve the needs of the adoptive families by disclosing any and all information about the prospective child for adoption including medical and or psychiatric records. (SH) Implementation of Ethical Principles 1. Our statement of ethical principles is on our website, so both nternal and external persons of the company can read it freely. YM) 2. We have a meeting at least once a week. This meeting includes an ethical topic, so we all train each other. (YM) 3. Taking an ethics class at college is required for all members. (YM) 4. We use articles related to our ethical principles as a circular. We also use posters to remind us of the principles. (YM) 5. When our company becomes bigger, we will have “hot lines” to let employees to report any unethical matter without feeling any risks.
Until then, we will do our best to create an environment in which we an propose any problem frankly. YM) [pic] Agency Basics: Name: Friends of Hope Location: Clearwater, FL Ownership: Privately owned by the six founders Services: . Private adoptions of children with a specialty in frozen embryo adoption- within the US only . Also offer crisis counseling (for women who are considering giving up their children for adoption. ) Employees: . 6 Founders – consisting of two lawyers and four with social work backgrounds . 2 Agency Counselors – Each went through giving up their kids for adoption and can offer real life experience. . 1 Accountant . 1 Receptionist