Archive for July, 2010
It is with great happiness that our firm shares this major victory for clients of ours. Several years ago, Lori Surmay finalized here in Georgia a second parent adoption for a lesbian couple, one of whom is French. For years, they fought through the French legal system seeking French recognition of the adoption. The courts kept getting caught up in fears that the second parent’s adoption would somehow negate the rights of the first parent, the biological mother, despite evidence to the contrary including an affidavit stating that the U.S. final adoption order created a “second” legal parent (in addition to, not in replacement of, the first). On the same day recently that our French client earned her U.S. citizenship, the highest French court ruled in her favor. See a translation of one of the French articles published in Le Monde.
As the child spends a great deal of time in France with her grandparents, the family is greatly relieved that she now may be eligible for dual citizenship and a work visa in the future. When Lori first met this family, the little girl was in utero. She now ranks as one of the top swimmers in the state for 11 year olds. She is a normal child whose parents went to extraordinary measures to plan for her future and to provide her every advantage they could. This case will change things for all unmarried adoptive parents in France and we are thrilled with the outcome. Vive la France!
Every Friday Claiborne & Surmay, P.C. will post the photo of a cute kid who we know on this blog, including the child’s or children’s first name(s) and age(s) and an optional caption written by the parent(s). Former and current clients will be preferred over any others. Please email cute kids photos with child’s first name, age and optional caption to Amy Wallas at firstname.lastname@example.org
Up first: Cooper.
Last month Ruth Claiborne of Claiborne & Surmay, P.C. finalized the adoption of two children from Haiti, brought to the United States on humanitarian parole. A limited number of Haitian orphans whose adoptions were already in process were allowed into the United States soon after the devastating earthquake in January. This is different from typical Haitian adoptions, where the adoption is finalized in Haiti and then domesticated in the United States. Haiti is still currently closed to new adoptions, although they are continuing to process adoptions initiated prior to the earthquake.
In related news, the Help Haiti Act of 2010 as well as the Lofgren bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 20, 2010. The Help Haiti Act, also known as as the Fortenberry Act, aims to give Haitian children who came here through humanitarian parole the same status as children who come through IR-4 visas. The Lofgren bill will change the age limit of the child from 16 years old to 18 years old for purposes of immigration.
Claiborne & Surmay, P.C. attorney Lori Surmay will speak at the 73rd Annual Conference of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, to be held July 18 – 21, 2010 in San Diego, California. Lori will co-present with Houston attorney Ellen Yarrell on Adoption Placement with Gay and Lesbian Parents. The lineup also includes presentations on domestic violence and its affect on youth, new approaches to delinquency cases including juvenile drug and alcohol courts, intercountry adoption, custody issues and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). For a full program schedule, click here.