Announcing New Unified Name

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”), and its subsidiary academy The American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (“AAARTA”), are now unified under one Academy name: The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. The organization will retain the well-known acronym “AAAA” and looks forward to a new, fresh unified logo and website. You may continue to find us at our current websites, and

“The Academy is pleased to now have one unified name that reflects our international reach as well as our credentialed presence in the law of family formation – whether that formation be via adoption, ART, or both. AAAA was formed in 1990. The subsidiary AAARTA was formed in 2009. The new unified name represents a blend of a well-established method of family building and securing parentage for children through adoption with the newer technologies of building and securing families through assisted reproductive technologies.”
- AAAA President Debra Guston

Committed to Promoting Adoption Reform and Sharing Information

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys is a national association of approximately 460 attorneys who practice, or have otherwise distinguished themselves, in the field of adoption law. The Academy's work includes promoting the reform of adoption laws and disseminating information on ethical adoption practices.

Distinguished Adoption Attorneys

Academy Fellows must be licensed for at least five years and have acted as lead counsel in at least 50 adoption proceedings, including 10 interstate (ICPC) placements in the two years prior to being invited to join the Academy.  They must maintain their practice according to the highest standards of ethics, competence and professionalism.

Adoption Attorneys Provide Legal Advice and Protections

Adoption laws across the United States are statutory and they must be followed to the letter in order for a successful adoption to occur. An attorney is your best advocate to ensure a successful adoption by examining the laws involved and providing you with an successful adoption plan.

Find an Attorney

Working with an expert in adoption law will help ensure that your adoption proceeds smoothly. The Academy Directory is a listing of the current fellows of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys in each State.  Find an Adoption Attorney.

Find an Agency

The Agency Directory provides you with information about adoption agencies that have an affiliation either directly or indirectly with one or more current AAAA members. The fact that an agency is listed in the Agency Directory should not be construed as an endorsement of that agency by the Academy.  Find an Adoption Agency.

Considering Assisted Reproductive Technologies?

You may also want to learn about building your family through the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology.  For more information about this option please visit us at the Aaart Alogo Onlywebsite.


To learn a little in depth information about some of our Fellows, check out this link where we have detailed interviews just click FOCUS!

2017 National Moot Court Competition

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys has supported the Capital Law School National Moot Court Competition focusing on adoption and child welfare law since 2007.  This year's final round held Saturday, March 11, 2017, selected as the 1st place team and Ryan Ramos and Kendra Tovey of the University of San Diego School of Law.

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Academy President, Colleen Quinn, one of the final round judges is pictured above with the winning team.  Congratulations to the runner-up team from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Heather Nelson and James Naughton.  The Academy extends its thanks to Capital Law School and all participating 23 teams for the excellence demonstrated throughout this competition.

Interested in joining AAAA?  

If you are interested in becoming a Fellow of the Academy follow this link for member qualifications to join the Academy

Provisional Membership Program for Adoption Attorneys

An opportunity for younger, less experienced adoption lawyers to have access to AAAA programs and begin the path to full Fellowship.
Provisional Membership Information is now available. For information review our Bylaws.



We recently experienced a theft from the Academy’s mailbox at the Indiana office. Although a new locked mailbox has been installed and mail should once again be safely delivered, previously sent mail may not have been received. If you have recently mailed information such as conference or webinar registrations, applications, or other documents to the Academy, particularly if your mailing included a check and the check has not yet cleared your account, please contact Academy Executive Administrator Jennie Sullivan at to inquire about the status. 

Save The Adoption Tax Credit!


The adoption tax credit is in jeapardy as never before. If you feel as strongly we do that we need to do everything we can to encourage adoption and save this tax credit, there are three things that you can join us in doing today to help with this effort:

1. Share your story with Congress. By going this website: you can share your story with your members of Congress and ask them to keep the adoption tax credit so many more families can be helped by this tool. We’ve done our best to make it easy for everyone to record their story with step-by-step instructions on the website.

2. Encourage others to get involved. Reach out to others who have been touched by adoption and ask them to share their story as well.

3. Stay engaged. Once you are on the website please sign up to receive alerts so we can keep you abreast of developments in this effort.

We can’t do this without you!

Your voice matters – legislators will only #SaveTheATC if they understand the real-world impact and feel that their constituents support it.

Here are 8 easy steps to share your story directly with your Members of Congress!
1. Click here. Using your phone or computer with a camera:
2. Click Send Video. A new window will pop up - click Make a Video.
3. The camera will turn on, and you're ready to record! Click the red button to start recording.
4. When you're done telling your story, click the red button again to stop recording.
5. Review your video to make sure it's what you want, and re-record if you want to make any changes.
6. Click Send Video Message – and you're done!
7. Enter your info or log in with Facebook – it will ask you if your zip code is correct. Click confirm to send the message to your Members of Congress!
8. Click the Facebook and Twitter buttons to share immediately with others and encourage them to take action too!

Academy IAC Volunteer or Reduce-Fee Attorneys

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys recently learned of the bankruptcy filing by the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) which is licensed in California, Florida, New York, Indiana, Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. The announced permanent closing of all IAC offices and its programs nationwide has left many families in dire straits. Some may be in the middle of an adoption and are now left without supervision of the placement in order to complete and finalize the adoption, while others have paid substantial sums of money to participate in the IAC adoption program, which money will now likely be lost. This is a situation which should never happen.

The Fellows of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys have pledged to assist those families that now find themselves in this untenable situation. The Academy will assist these families in order for them to obtain their files from IAC, or to have them transferred to other reputable licensed adoption agencies. The Academy will also assist in advising those families as to be best way to proceed with regard to their prospective adoptions. In most instances, there will be no charge, or a reduced charge, for these services. See list here:  Academy IAC Volunteer or Reduce-Fee Attorneys.  Alternatively, I, Colleen Quinn, Academy President, can be contacted at to provide referral to a volunteer attorney. We are very saddened by this situation and will endeavor to provide as much support as possible. 

The IAC Bankruptcy case was filed on 2/3/17 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California and assigned case no. 17-10427. The 1st meeting of creditors is scheduled for 3/14 in Oakland. Click here for a copy of  IAC Bankruptcy Petition and the  IAC Bankruptcy Petition Supplement.

Lexi's Case and ICWA

We are closely following the California case (Lexi's Case) that has been receiving international attention and support reform to ICWA that may result in the public's knowledge of how ICWA is being used. Unfortunately, Lexi is not alone. These types of situations have been happening for years - probably most well known is the Baby Veronica case (Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl). There are many more - many more families who were scared to go to the media as their families and lives were devastated. These public cases are not anomalies. Lexi’s case shows clearly the tragedy that ensures when the child’s best interest is not the ultimate test of where a child should be placed. Lexi’s case is now before the United States Supreme Court on a petition for writ of certiorari, which the Academy supported by filing an amicus brief in support of the appellant former foster parents to Lexi, arguing the child’s best interests must be the paramount consideration in ICWA cases.

As the nation’s largest constituent group of adoption attorneys, AAAA had a dramatic impact on proposed regulations published in 2015 governing the Indian Child Welfare Act. See  Academy Responds to New Indian Child Welfare Guidelines submitted to the BIA. In response, the BIA adopted a majority of the recommendations and concerns of Academy, for instance by affirming that voluntary adoption proceeding do not require notice to the tribes, and recognizing that parents have rights to make their own adoption plans for their children. The new regulations may be found on our ICWA page.   For detailed information please go to the Academy's webpage for ICWA in our section on Children's Rights.

Family Formation Charitable Trust Announces Grants

The Family Formation Charitable Trust is pleased to announce that an additional $8,000 in grants were awarded in the September 2015 funding cycle to several families and one 501c3 organization...for more information read the full summary on Family Formation Charitable Trust.

Academy Praises Supreme Court Decision as child friendly.

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys are gratified by the child friendly opinion embracing marriage equality, issued this morning by the United States Supreme Court.  To read entire press release click  Supreme Court Decision Press Release.

Academy Responds to New Federal Indian Child Welfare Guidelines and Proposed Regulations

Washington, DC – The nation’s largest constituent group of adoption attorneys, law professors and judges is reacting to the Department of Interior’s recently issued guidelines from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) concerning the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law established in 1978 to protect Native American children, families and tribes and to address the issue of the mass removal of Native American children from reservations by state welfare agencies. The law was enacted to protect “the relationship between Indian tribes and Indian children domiciled on the reservation.”  For Full Press Release: Academy Responds to New Indian Child Welfare Guidelines &  Webinar - BIA Guidelines.  UPDATE: The BIA took a dramatic and unfortunate step subsequent to publishing the new guidelines when it next announced its intention to propose regulations based on the new guidelines.  The Academy has voiced its strenuous opposition to this development in the  Academy Comments to BIA Proposed ICWA Regulations submitted to the BIA.

Events in 2017

July Webinar - Postponed (New August Date)

The Academy’s next webinar is scheduled for August 31, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The 1.5 hour interactive webinar, “LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER: Communicating with putative and legal fathers in adoption cases” is being presented by Academy Fellow Jeanne Tate, Paralegal Sue Eggert and Caseworker for Heart of Adoptions Gabriela Bonn.

This webinar will be an interactive discussion on how to handle the most common issues surrounding contact and communication with alleged/putative/presumed/legal fathers (“Fathers”) in your adoption practice. Contact and communication with Fathers presents unique and separate issues as compared to expectant mothers. This webinar will cover the important things to know and do in order to avoid making costly mistakes during the adoption process, including how to strategize and frame these discussions to maximize their use at trial as an admission against interest and avoid conflicts of interest where you may become a witness. Sign up today!

Click on the link below to register. 

LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER: Communicating with putative and legal fathers in adoption cases (Academy Fellows receive discounted pricing!)

Featured Youth from The Adoption Exchange

AAAA is committed to ensuring children find forever families. This week we have two children who through the Adoption Exchange are waiting for adoptive homes that we want to share with you. If you or someone you know has love and a home to share with one of this children please go to the Adoption Exchange page on our website to learn more about them and how to take the first step to providing one of them (or both!) a loving, forever home.

Academy Midyear Conference in Anaheim

Reproductive Technology Law in a Changing World

The Academy’s 2017 midyear meeting is being held in Anaheim, California, September 17-19, 2017, with a Paralegal Conference taking place on September 17 & 18, 2017. 

Already Registered? Find all the information you need to know (including the conference materials) on the Midyear Conference webpage.

If you are interested in attending, complete your registration today! Completed registration forms must be returned via email to Jennie Sullivan ( and payment made by credit card in order to register in time for the conference.  

We recently experienced a theft from the Academy’s mailbox at the Indiana office. Although a new locked mailbox has been installed and mail should once again be safely delivered, previously sent mail may not have been received. If you have recently mailed information such as conference or webinar registrations, applications, or other documents to the Academy, particularly if your mailing included a check and the check has not yet cleared your account, please contact Academy Executive Administrator Jennie Sullivan at to inquire about the status.

Review the schedule before you register:  Anaheim CLE Schedule (Final) (13.75 possible CLE credit hours including up to 2 hours of ethics)
Review the paralegal schedule:  Final Paralegal Schedule

The Hyatt Regency Orange County is our conference hotel. It is just a short drive to the beach and a shuttle ride away from Disneyland! Be sure to book your hotel room before the August 25, 2017, cutoff date in order to receive the conference rate. Access the reservation website here.


Sponsorship opportunities are filling up fast but we still have some great ones available for this conference as well as multiple exhibitor spots. Please checkout all of the offerings on our registration form

Completed forms may be emailed to Executive Administrator Jennie Sullivan at Payment address is noted on the registration form. If paying by credit card, please contact Jennie Sullivan for an invoice. 

Questions about AAARTA or the Conference? Contact Executive Administrator Jennie Sullivan at (317) 407-8422 or

Webinars for Purchase

For a List of Recent Webinars on Adoption, ART law, Surrogacy offered by the Academy click Adoption and ART Webinars.

2017-2018 Educational Opportunities

ABA Family Law Section 2017 Fall CLE ConferenceOctober 4-7, 2017Beaver Creek Mountain, CO

ABA Family Law Section 2018 Spring CLE Conference
May 9-12, 2018
Nashville, TN

For further information concerning the above ABA events, please contact: Cynthia (“Cindy”) G. Swan, Director – Section of Family Law, American Bar Association | 321 North Clark Street | Chicago, IL 60654, Office Direct: 312.988.5619 | Cell: 773.490.9320, |