House of Reps Passes International Adoption Bill, Inclusive Adoption Bill Introduced
Every year, an average of 2.4 million weddings take place in the United States. For many of these happy couples, saying “I Do” is the first step they take toward starting a family. For many parents, there’s no greater milestone than the birth of their child. However, that reality may be hard to come by. Whether due to infertility, health conditions, or the simple desire to provide love and care for a child in need, there are countless individuals who opt for adoption. One-third of all adoptions in the U.S. occur in single family homes, but all kinds of families begin or expand in this way. Now, the U.S. House of Representatives is trying to make it easier for American families of all kinds to adopt.
Last month, the House unanimously passed a bipartisan bill, the “Intercountry Adoption Information Act of 2019,” which aims to provide American families with up-to-date information regarding international adoption laws and provide guidance during this notoriously confusing process. Sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Georgia), the bill requires the U.S. Secretary of State to include information on new restrictions and regulations regarding adoptions in its annual report.
As Collins noted in a statement, “Loving families in Northeast Georgia and across the United States are eager to provide children with the care and support they deserve, yet they remain separated from their adoptive children due to shifting international policies and information gaps.”
Unfortunately, many families encounter extreme obstacles when trying to adopt children from countries outside the United States. As it is, financial hurdles are often steep, while some parents may not be able to make or coordinate a physical journey for their prospective child (for which they might utilize one of the 224,475 active general aviation craft operating in the U.S.). Often, the process culminates in frustration and dead ends. It’s the hope that this new bill will provide these would-be parents with the information they need for a successful adoption.
Noted co-sponsor Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Rhode Island), “Whether adopting at home or abroad, every family should have the information they need to navigate the process successfully.”
Added Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas) on the House floor: “The world today is full of orphaned children, but it’s also full of loving families who are ready and eager to adopt them. All too often, American families encounter policy obstacles that delay or prevent those adoptions.”
Collins’s bill isn’t the only one geared towards ensuring that loving American families have the opportunity to provide care for children in need. This month in the House, Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) reintroduced the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act.” If passed, the bill would banish discrimination and bias within the foster care system pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity. Not only would LGBTQ+ families no longer be on the receiving end of prejudice when trying to foster or adopt, but it would also prevent LGBTQ+ children in the foster care system from being subjected to conversion therapy and keep faith-based adoption organizations from using religious affiliation as a determining factor when placing children with families.
As Lewis explained in a press release: “Too many children dream of a stable, loving family. Many adults want to open their homes and their hearts, but they also are facing more and more barriers, because some officials can say they practice the wrong religion, love the wrong person, or are not married. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act puts the happiness and well-being of our children front and center, engaging every possible match between solid families and children searching for a home. We must each do our part to ensure that every young person and capable, aspiring parents are able to enjoy the dream of a loving, stable family together.”
While it’s not clear whether the bill will pass in the House as yet, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) reportedly plans to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. her companion bill will likely face even greater opposition, since the Senate currently has a Republican majority while the Democrats have control of the House.
This news follows a report released in May outlining President Trump’s plans to allow adoption agencies to reject same-gender couples in the name of “religious freedom.” However, a recent study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 68% of the public opposes the idea of allowing federally funded agencies to refuse gay or lesbian couples. That said, how these bills will play out and how the deeply divided country will react is anyone’s guess.