I know a minister who stands outside an abortion clinic one day a week trying to convince some of the would-be abortive parents to not abort their unborn babies. Praise God for his efforts. I wonder if his efforts would be even more effective if he could tell those couples or single mothers that there is a Christian family willing and ready to adopt their child (if there are in fact Christians ready to do so).
But this raises a very important question. Could he legally do that? Can a person who is not authorized to place children in homes assist in bringing people together for the purpose of adoption? Under Alabama law, some people can provide this kind of assistance.
Importantly, Alabama law distinguishes between engaging in the business of placing children for adoption and assisting natural parents in an adoption. The law prohibits child placement by anyone other than the Department of Human Resources or a licensed child placing agency, but it allows advice and assistance to the natural parents.
Therefore, the difference between placing children and assisting natural parents is important. The official comment to Ala. Code § 26-10A-33 helps explain the difference. According to the comment, the business of placing children is more than helping natural parents identify potential adoptive parents. Placing children occurs when a person assumes “the natural parents’ role of selecting the adoptive parents” (Ala. Code § 26-10A-33, cmt.) (emphasis added). However, certain professionals such as doctors, ministers, and lawyers (to name a few) who merely help natural parents identify potential adoptive parents “as an incidental part of their professional roles” are not in the business of placing children for adoption (id.).
So it appears that a minister can stand outside an abortion clinic and inform natural (would-be-abortive) parents of the existence of a family that would adopt their child. Alabama law prohibits ministers from selecting adoptive parents for natural parents but allows them to help identify potential adoptive parents. And as best I can tell, letting people know about a family that would adopt their child is properly described as identifying potential adoptive parents.
Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.
Article by Josh Milam
Josh Milam is a third-year law student at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. He is currently working as a law clerk. Josh and his wife, Amy, are members of East Memorial Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon. Josh and Amy live in Prattville and are the parents of two sons, Jackson and Jacob.