MC Law Students Assist with Adoptions
In the United States, 135,000 children are adopted each year during what’s often a challenging process.
Mississippi College Law School students and faculty are working to make adoptions a little less complex for prospective families in the Magnolia State.
Leaders with MC Law’s Adoption Legal Clinic recently reported there were 50 adoptions finalized for the Fall semester, including nine children in early December. For the calendar year 2018, there were a total of 105 adoptions finalized.
The MC Law clinic in downtown Jackson partners with the Mississippi Department of Human Services, families, the legal community and children in foster care to finalize adoptions.
“While it may seem like the end of a long journey to permanency, adoption is actually the very beginning of a newly cemented family,” says MC law professor Crystal Welch, who oversees the program. “Our Adoption Legal Clinic is proud to help facilitate that joyous occasion.”
As Welch sees it, adoption “is the most beautiful legal process that attorneys and judges will ever have the opportunity to synthesize.”
The Adoption Legal Clinic, Welch added, gives students “the opportunity to use their legal training to provide permanent families for children who need and deserve it.”
At a legal clinic event in Mississippi’s capital city on December 5, MC Law Dean Pat Bennett offered her congratulations to adoptive families.
Bennett believes the adoption program at MC Law School represents “an embodiment of our university’s Christian values.”
Founded in 1826, MC is the nation’s 2nd oldest Baptist college.
The year-round work of Mississippi College Law students, faculty and the state’s Child Protective Services employees, she said, helps make the Adoption Legal Clinic so successful.
Law students enrolled in the Adoption Legal Clinic work with prospective adoptive families through every phase of adoptions. It includes drafting legal pleadings, scheduling court hearings, obtaining new birth certificates for children, and meetings with social workers. The students sharpen their legal skills as they represent clients at Mississippi court hearings.
Adoptions involve legal hurdles, but Welch believes the process isn’t tougher today.
The time frame, like costs vary. The wait time for child adoptions in America is typically between two and seven years for a healthy infant.
In the United States, there are a total of 1.5 million adopted children. No more than 2 percent of American families try to adopt children, reports show. About 59 percent of the children adopted come from the foster care system. There are 428,000 children reported in foster care homes nationwide.