One of the differences between hiring Kirsh and Kirsh as a law firm and hiring an adoption agency is that Kirsh and Kirsh only represents one party to the adoption. Adoption agencies say that they represent everyone in the adoption. As attorneys, it would not be ethical for us to represent both the prospective adoptive parents and birth parents at the same time.
Usually, Kirsh and Kirsh represents the prospective adoptive parents. In such situations, the question naturally arises: if Kirsh and Kirsh is only representing the adoptive parents, who is looking after the birth mother and how will she be treated.
Firstly, under Indiana law, there is no requirement that expectant parents be represented by their own counsel. When we, at Kirsh and Kirsh, meet with a prospective birth mother, we inform her of her right to have her own attorney and that the prospective adoptive parents will pay for her attorney, if she chooses to hire one. As a practical matter, very few expectant parents choose to have their own attorney, primarily because they feel comfortable with our making the arrangements for the adoption.
We are always kind and respectful of birth mothers. We recognize the tremendous love and courage it takes to make an adoption plan for a child and how much stress and pressure they already feel. We do everything we can to support them in a non-judgmental, pressure free way.
Additionally, it is in our clients’ interests for us to be kind to their birth mothers. To say it differently, the adoptive parents would not be very happy with us, as their attorneys, if we offended the birth mother of the child they hoped to adopt or have already adopted.
Because of the number of referrals that we have received from birth mothers over the years, I know that nearly all of them feel that we have treated them well. Of course, there is the occasional situation where personalities clash or where there is a disagreement. However, in my mind, those are truly the exceptions, rather than the rule, and, certainly, we have never intentionally hurt a birth mother.