June 2014


Thank you for taking the time to read our summer newsletter. This quarter we highlight two pieces of Colorado legislation that were recently signed into law and will better protect children. One prohibits the advertising of adopted children on the Internet where they can end up in abusive homes. The other expands the grounds for termination of a birth father's parental rights where a child is conceived as a result of a sexual assault, notwithstanding that there is no criminal conviction. We also feature the touching story of Zayden, a boy who may never walk or talk but with the help of a new family and an adoption subsidy, will get the care he needs. Next, we discuss the decline of international adoption in the United States. We also highlight one of our many partners focused on surrogacy and egg donation, An Eggceptional Match. Finally we are happy to announce Tim Eirich's most recent award, the 2014 Colorado State Foster Parent Association Champion.


As always, if we can be of assistance please don't hesitate to reply to this email or call us at (303) 679-8266. We truly appreciate your referrals and the confidence you have placed in us in recommending friends and colleagues to our offices.



New Colorado Law Protects Adopted Children from Re-Homing Via the Internet

The majority of the approximately 90,000 adoptions in the United States each year are stable and permanent. However, it is estimated that between 1 and 7 percent of adoptions dissolve after an adoption has been finalized. Adoptions that fail usually involve older children who were abused or neglected as young children and now exhibit difficult behaviors such as lying, defiance, aggression, destruction of property, and  sexual acting out. These behaviors can be overwhelming to the adoptive parents and they may later decide they can no longer care for the child.


In desperation, these parents sometimes turn to the Internet. There they will find a network of chat rooms and message boards that feature advertisements for children who need to be "re-homed" and families willing to take them. Rueters news service recently investigated this issue and found over 5,000 such postings. Children are sometimes handed off to new families without legal paperwork or agency oversight. These new families can be abusive or sexual predators.


Colorado House Bill 14-1372, "Unauthorized Advertising for Adoption Purposes," addresses this issue and was recently signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper. The law prohibits individuals to advertise through a public medium a child that needs an adoptive or permanent home or a non-homestudy family to advertise to take in a child. It also prohibits facilitators from advertising in Colorado for the placement of a child. These acts are now a class 6 felony.


Seth Grob speaks to legislators at the Colorado Children's Caucus meeting on re-homing.

Seth Grob worked closely with state representative Kathleen Conti on drafting the bill and spoke in March at a Colorado Children's Caucus presentation on the issue. "This law requires families that are in crisis to work with adoption professionals such as a licensed child placement agency, an adoption law attorney or the county department of human services," said Seth Grob. "We are here to ensure families get the interventions they need to try and maintain the adoption, but if that is not successful, adoption professionals will ensure the child is placed with an appropriate family that is homestudy approved and does not have a concerning criminal history. Adoption attorneys can also ensure that all legal requirements for a subsequent placement are properly handled. Most importantly, this law will limit the cases when children are placed in homes where they are subjected to physical or sexual assaults. We need to ensure children are safe when an adoption fails."


Watch NBC News segments on re-homing.


Children of Rape Victims Get Additional Protection Under New Colorado Law


A second new law, House Bill 14-1162, "Protection of the Victim of A Sexual Assault in Cases Where a Child was Conceived As A Result of the Sexual Assault" has expanded the criteria to be able to terminate a biological father's rights when a child is conceived by rape. In the past a sexual assault conviction was required to seek to terminate on the basis of the sexual assault. The new law does not require a conviction but rather allows the victim or the adoption agency, through counsel, the opportunity to show by clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived by rape.


"With this law we can now terminate a biological father's rights by proving that a child was conceived through sexual assault without being first required to have a criminal conviction," said Seth Grob. "These cases are rare but they do happen, and now rape victims and their children have additional protection and can bring their cases to trial."


Zayden Gets The Family and Resources He Needs
Zayden's early life was horrific. While pregnant, his biological mother suffered a brutal sexual assault in which she was raped and beaten. As a result, Zayden suffered a blood cot on his brain in-utero. After birth, Zayden's developmental and physical delays were profound. He was very small, completely blind and could not move on his own. He was self-isolated and didn't interact with others. He was unable to make any sounds; even his cries were silent. His medical needs were extensive with many long stays in the hospital for surgeries or infections.


At the same time, Justin & Lindsay Daley were looking to become foster parents and taking classes to become licensed when their instructor told them about a very special little boy in the Waiting Child Program with an adoption agency, Adoption Options. The Daleys starting visiting Zayden.


"With my wife's medical background we thought we might be a good fit," said Justin. "We decided his delays would not make him an outsider in our family. We started visiting him and got to know him. We had small interactions where he smiled and leaned in our direction - that spoke volumes. We fell in love with him and decided we wanted to adopt him."


The medical expenses for Zayden were massive and Adoption Options held a fundraiser. The Daleys attended with Zayden and had the opportunity to tell their story. Tim Eirich, attorney with the Law Office of Seth A. Grob, attended that fundraiser and, while at the event, offered his services pro bono. "We wanted to give back to the community and thought this case was a great way to do that," said Tim Eirich.


Tim Eirich's work focused on securing the subsidies Zayden's new family would need to be able to care for him. "The medical and special needs of a child can manifest as a barrier to adoption," said Tim Eirich. "You have to advocate for a child to get the necessary resources and you have to do it before the child is adopted. The family that pushes the hardest often gets the most."


The county originally offered Medicaid but nothing more. This wasn't enough to get Zayden what he needed. The medical, equipment and other expenses were significant. For instance the Daleys had two incomes before Zayden but his care required that Lindsay stay home. When Zayden needed to stay in the hospital, Justin couldn't work and their older child needed daycare. Additionally, due to Zayden's medical condition, he could not be left alone with anyone who did not have the proper medical training.


"I was so thankful for Tim. The legal process with the county was so much to navigate. Without Tim it would have been overwhelming. We trusted his guidance and could focus on making Zayden part of our family."


Tim Eirich negotiated with the county for almost a year and finally secured a monthly cash assistance subsidy until Zayden turns 21 years old. The Daleys were then able to legally adopt Zayden.


"We don't know how functional Zayden will be as an adult but we hope this subsidy will set him up for his future," said Justin. "That piece of mind is key for any parent."


"The subsidy we were able to secure certainly won't cover all of Zayden's expenses, but it will be a big help to the family," said Tim Eirich.


Today Zayden is 3 years old. He can crawl on his own and loves to play. He laughs, squeaks and cries. He receives physical, speech and occupational therapy. He has a baby walker and loves to chase his older brother and the dog. His vision has improved and he can see about three feet in front of him. Additionally his tracheotomy was recently removed and his stays at the hospital are fewer.


"We are so appreciative of Tim," said Justin. "His expertise, guidance and wisdom, but more so, his genuine passion, were so important. And we were so thankful he was doing all of it pro bono. Today Zayden reaches for me when he wants to be picked up. He also loves to hug and give kisses."




Foreign Adoptions Continue to Decline
American adoptions of children from other countries declined 18% to only 7,094 children in 2013. This is a 69% decline from the high of 22,884 adopted children in 2004. The number has dropped every year since then.


There are many reasons for the decline in foreign adoptions. One is the Russian ban on American adoptions in January 2013 due to political reasons. Only 250 children were adopted in 2013, representing those adoptions that were in process before the ban took affect. In 2012 Russia was number three on the list of foreign-born adoptions with 748 children adopted by Americans. Other countries such as Vietnam and Guatemala have also been closed to adoption by U.S. families.


Some countries, such as Ethiopia, have been trying to place more abandoned children with relatives or foster families in their own countries. Ethiopia was number two on the list with 993 children adopted in 2013. This is a sharp decline from 1,568 adoptions in 2012.


Another reason for the decline is the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption, which was implemented in the U.S. in 2008 and established ethical standards for international adoptions. These strict regulations make international adoption more difficult for developing countries that don't have the resources to be compliant.


"It's extremely difficult to successfully adopt internationally right now," said Seth Grob. "For many families, adopting domestically is a more realistic and viable option. We are able to help families adopt domestically within 12-15 months, considerably shorter than the 3-4 years often involved in an international adoption."


This trend is helping the over 55,000 children over 5 years old in foster care in the United States who need permanent adoptive homes. "It has opened the eyes of families who were previously interested in adopting internationally and now look at domestic foster care kids who need homes," said Seth Grob.


Partner Spotlight: An Eggceptional Match
We highlight one of the many valuable partners we work with in each newsletter 

An Eggceptional Match is a matching service, connecting egg donors and surrogates with infertile couples. They coordinate the entire process between the intended parents, infertility clinics, donors, surrogates and attorneys. They also coordinate any needed travel and manage the escrow account. They work with clinics across the U.S. and overseas and have been in business 12 years.


An Eggceptional Match is unique in that it is owned and operated by Angela Bevill, a former fertility nurse. "We really know what our clients are going through," said Angela. "Because of my medical background and training, I am able to answer questions and often save cycles that might have been lost. Our clients are never treated like a number; they become family."


The Law Office of Seth A. Grob is one of two firms An Eggceptional Match works with. "Seth has been a godsend for me," said Angela. "He is so knowledgeable in this field and I have learned so much from him. I never worry that something has been missed. I would trust him with any of my clients."


"In fact, Seth was the inspiration for the surrogacy program. For the first few years we only worked with egg donors, but Seth came to me and said that intended parents needed more help finding surrogates. He encouraged me to do it and it changed my entire business."


"We find Angela to be one of the best to work with given her extensive knowledge in this area," said Seth. "She is passionate, caring and empathetic. She spends a lot of time helping her clients navigate through this difficult and emotional process."


Tim Eirich Awarded Colorado State Foster Parent Association Champion

On May 21, Tim Eirich was awarded the inaugural Colorado State Foster Parent Association (CSFPA) Champion at the 2014 CSFPA Education Conference.


"Tim is a pretty amazing guy," said executive director Sherry Owens. "He is a great educator and a regular speaker for us and other organizations. He also works hand in hand with foster parents, making sure they don't lose rights and kids' best interests are being met. More importantly he is always so kind and respectful to everyone. He is a great voice for foster parents and he really wants to do good things for kids."


"Tim has done more to advance the rights of foster parents in Colorado than any other advocate," said Seth Grob. "He ensures foster children are not indiscriminately moved from placement to placement and that the families who take in these children have the resources they need to care for them long term."


Colorado State Foster Parent Association has been supporting foster, kinship and adoptive families in Colorado for over 40 years. They provide vital services to these families by providing education programs, support, referrals, and advocacy.


The Law Office of Seth A. Grob
12596 W. Bayaud Ave, Suite 390; Lakewood, CO 80228
303-679-8266  seth@sethgrob.com
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