Wrongful adoption refers to any type of adoption that involves misrepresentation, fraud, deceit or any illegal act during the adoption process with the aim of obtaining financial or personal gain. The party or parties that are found liable for wrongful adoption can include birth mothers, previous parents, adoption agencies, social workers, and other persons. In most cases, the court will hold liable all parties who are involved in the wrongful adoption. Such cases are usually filed by the adoptive parents, and in some cases, the person who was adopted (the "adoptee").
Wrongful adoption is also called by other names such as "adoption fraud". Wrongful adoption cases are serious and may often be filed whether the damages were caused intentionally or by accident. However, the party suing does need to suffer damages in order for there to be a valid claim
There are many examples of wrongful adoption. Basically, any instance where fraud or misrepresentation is used in order to gain from the adoption process can constitute wrongful adoption. Examples include:
- Misrepresenting the identity of the child or any parent involved.
- Negligent misrepresentation of medical history or family history.
- Promising adoptive parents custody of a child, without any real intention to complete the adoption promise (usually involves collecting fees up front).
- Attempting to "sell" a baby online.
- Failing to obtain consent of the adoptee when it is required.
As mentioned, there can be many different variations of wrongful adoption and adoption fraud. If you’re unsure of a particular adoption situation, you may wish to withhold your participation until you are surer of the information and history of all parties involved.
Wrongful adoption cases are generally filed in civil courts rather than through the criminal court process. As mentioned, there needs to be some amount of quantifiable, measurable damages in order for the plaintiff to have a legal claim. Remedies for wrongful adoption usually involve a damages award for issues such as:
- Loss of companionship or consortium between parent and child
- Accumulated medical expenses (in cases where medical history or records were withheld or falsified)
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Adoption process fees
- In other cases, other remedies may be necessary, such as reversing the adoption process.
Wrongful adoption is a serious issue and can result in some strict legal consequences. You may need to hire an adoption attorney in your area if you have an issues, conflicts, or questions regarding wrongful adoption. A lawyer can provide you with legal services, research, and representation to assist with your claim. If you need to attend a court meeting or other hearings, your attorney can be on hand to guide you through those processes as well.