Family Formation

 Mark Eckman devotes his professional practice to family formation. He combines his experience in family law and immigration law. He is recognized as an expert in legal matters involving these two fields. As an advocate of adoption he represents traditional married couples as well as single men and women. He is equally adept at representing biological parents. As an advocate of surrogacy, he represents intended parents, gestational carriers and surrogates. He supports the formation of families, both traditional and non-traditional. 


He is a founding member of both the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) and the American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys (AAARTA).

Mark Eckman is  a competent, compassionate and experienced attorney who will listen to your concerns and your family formation goals.  He will sit down with you and help you decide:

  • Should I adopt?
  • Should I pursue a surrogacy?
  • What budget should I anticipate?
  • How do I finance my plan to form—or add to—my family?
  • What time frame should I anticipate?
  • What plans do I need to make ?
  • What will it be like to add a child to my home?
  • What challenges and rewards will a child bring to me?



  • If he is not available, your call will be answered by a competent assistant.
    • He will return your call or email within 24 hours, usually faster.
    • He might speak your language.  Aside from English, he is fluent in the principal European languages.

 He believes that all sorts of people can be good parents:  traditional married couples, single men and women, gay and lesbian couples and singles, persons over traditional child-rearing age, persons living in the United States, persons living outside the United States.  The common denominator of his clientele?  They want to form a family!

His adoption and surrogacy fees are modest when compared with other adoption and surrogacy resources, without any sacrifice to quality of work product.   Mark Eckman knows that becoming a parent through adoption or surrogacy is not inexpensive:  He is willing to provide his services “below market” so that you can reach your goal.

He is experienced both in private placement adoptions and in agency adoptions, both domestic and inter-country.

He remains abreast of the current trends in assisted reproduction.

He is willing to manage your entire case, or just a part of it.  In other words, you might retain Mark Eckman in order to review a proposed surrogacy agreement, but nothing more.  You might hire him to represent a biological parent in an adoption.  You might ask him to supervise the paperwork to obtain permission for a child to travel to another state for adoption.  In short, he is willing to carry out whatever task you wish to entrust to him.


Mark Eckman's Credentials

Mark Eckman is a co-founder of The Datz Foundation, 1987. At the time he already had considerable experience in adoption, both as a facilitator based in Europe and as attorney specializing in adoption law.

He completed his undergraduate work at Cornell University and after interludes in Tunis, and Cairo, Mark Eckman earned a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.  He then settled in Barcelona, Spain, where he ran a series of businesses, and first entered the field of adoption, facilitating the adoption of Latin American children by European families.  Following the death of Franco and the subsequent disorientation of the Spanish economy, Mark Eckman relocated to Germany, where he continued facilitating Latin American placements.

Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Eckman enrolled in Catholic University Law School in Washington, DC, earning his JD in 1984.  A member of the DC and VA Bars, he has maintained a private practice devoted to adoption and surrogacy issues, as well as immigration law.

A founding member of both the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys, he has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors: To name but a few, he was honored as Fairfax County Guardian ad Litem of the Year in 2004, and in 2011 was nominated as Angel in Adoption, which is conferred annually by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. In addition, he is a frequent media commentator on adoption and surrogacy issues.

Mark Eckman lives in Vienna, VA, with his wife Vivian Datoff and is the father of two adult sons. When asked to summarize his world view, he immediately quoted Oscar Wilde, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."