Adoption advocates, hospital workers, even judges are at a loss when it comes to stopping illegal adoptions that are delivering babies from the Marshall Islands to U.S. families.
U.S. and Marshall Islands officials say the law clearly bars women from traveling to America to give up babies for adoption. But some attorneys are still taking advantage of lax oversight and willing families.
Attorney Jody Hall, the subject of a Civil Beat investigation, told clients she would fly in birth mothers from the Marshall Islands in defiance of U.S. and Marshallese law.
In texts and emails with adoptive parents, Dallas lawyer Jody Hall openly flouts laws restricting Marshallese adoptions in the U.S.
The case offers a rare glimpse into the thriving adoption pipeline to the U.S., documented in a Civil Beat investigation in November.
A lawsuit by a Kentucky couple alleges that an Arkansas attorney offered to fly a Marshallese birth mother to the U.S. despite a treaty that bars such travel
Still, Marshallese community leaders think it would be better to end all U.S. adoptions from the island nation.
Experts say Marshallese adoptions would benefit from the rules put in place to stop adoption abuse and cultural loss in Native American tribes.
The wait for a baby, cutbacks in other countries and the cost of adoption in the U.S. prompts some prospective parents into sticky situations.
In the U.S., it’s common for an adopted child to lose contact with birth parents. In the Marshall Islands, adopted children return to the birth family when they are 18 if not sooner.