Orrick Team Secures Important Ruling for International Adoption Agencies


On behalf of three international adoption agencies from around the country, our team succeeded in blocking the U.S. State Department’s policy shift regarding international adoption agency accreditation. Backing our novel arguments that the policy was unlawful, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted an injunction and denied the State Department’s motion to dismiss the case.

An Orrick team representing three non-profit agencies who provide services under the Intercountry Adoption Act brought the lawsuit, led by partners Rob McKenna and Mark Parris and associate Adam Tabor. The Court agreed with our argument that the State Department’s interference with the adoption agencies’ accreditation renewal process was “arbitrary and capricious,” procedurally defective and posed the threat of irreparable harm to the agencies. The Court enjoined the State Department’s unlawful directive, allowing the adoption agencies’ accreditation renewal applications to proceed and be completed. Absent this relief, all three agencies very likely would have been forced to close their doors.

The law governing accreditation for providing international adoption services was, until this case, untested in court. Absent the injunction, our clients were facing bankruptcy and scores of international adoptions would be foreclosed annually. By granting the injunction, the court enabled the renewal of the adoption agencies’ accreditation to move forward and it is expected to be completed soon.

In addition to Rob, Mark and Adam, our team included Beth Morey, Miwako Burleigh, and Leslie Peterson.