Happy National Adoption Month!
We thought it might be fun to sit down with our adoption team for a quick Q&A! First up, the attorney who leads our adoption team, Martin Bauer.
What do you like best about doing adoption work?
It gives me great satisfaction that birth parents and adoptive parents come to me with both having a struggle—a mother deciding if she can parent and adoptive parents who want a child to parent and finding a way to work through the issues, so that there is hopefully a positive result particularly for the child. Additionally, I love seeing adoptive parents adopt children with special needs and showing so much love even as early as the finalization of the adoption.
How did you first start doing adoption work and how has your adoption practice evolved?
I was asked to handle an adoption for a patient of a doctor we were defending in a medical malpractice case. That was more than 40 years ago. In that 40 years I have completed more than 2,000 infant adoptions and an additional 2,000 step-parent, relative and grandparent adoptions. As part of my focus on permanency for children, I have also handled multiple guardianships for children particularly children with disabilities as they transition into adulthood. As the technology has become more available, I am the only lawyer in Kansas certified by American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) meaning that I have handled the required number and variety of gestational carrier agreements to have the experience and knowledge to negotiate and draft the agreements, handle the prebirth process in the Courts and post birth procedures if ones are needed. From this work in Kansas Probate Courts, I have been appointed many times as guardian, conservator or successor trustee for individuals particularly those who have no one or no one appropriate to make health or financial decisions including seeking or maintaining Medicaid.
What certifications do you carry as an adoption attorney?
I am a Fellow (and past president) of the AAAA, which includes a certification as a specialist in adoptions requiring a minimum number of interstate adoptions in compliance with the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC). I am also certified under Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) as the only attorney with the required experience in both gestational carrier and surrogacy agreements and cases in Kansas.
How do you advocate for your clients and the adoption industry?
I was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the Commission to update the Kansas Adoption and Relinquishment Act. The Act had not been updated for more than 20 years and the intervening case law had created some unnecessary delays and costs for adoptions. We also learned that there were gaps that were delaying adoptions of children who had been in the foster care system and we were able to craft language that both shortened the period to finalization but also allowed the cost savings of finalization in any county selected by the adoptive parents. I have also been recognized as an authority on adoption-related legislation and have written and updated the chapter on Adoptions for the Kansas Bar Association. Additionally, I was selected to serve on the Commission to negotiate changes to the Indian Child Welfare Act(ICPC) with representatives of the five civilized Tribes and the Department of the Interior.
Martin Bauer, Attorney – Martin is known, both nationally and internationally, as a preeminent adoption attorney. He frequently represents either adoptive parents or birth mothers who are seeking a loving, stable home for children through the permanency of adoption. Martin has vast experience in independent and private adoptions, including offering services that match prospective adoptive parents with birth mothers during pregnancy. He is intimately familiar with the requirements of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and the issues that arise in contested adoptions. In addition, Martin understands the unique legal challenges that surrogacy agreements and artificial reproductive technologies create. His clients include adoptive couples from across the nation and around the globe.