Friday, June 19, 2015

Hartzler introduces Protecting Adoption Act

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Adoption is a wonderful way to fill empty arms with warm hugs, empty homes with vibrant families, and empty hearts with a parent’s love. When children, moms, and dads are united through adoption, they have the peace and joy of knowing they are a forever family.

Many times, however, the adoption process becomes tangled, causing the process to stall, drag on, or terminate altogether. Many would-be moms and dads are left empty handed, and children—who want nothing more than to be loved by their forever family—are left in a maze of legality.

Differences in state adoption laws lead to many of these entanglements. Responsible father registries exist in 34 of the 50 states. These registries are a mechanism to allow birthfathers to proactively assert their rights to parent by registering to do so, allowing adoptions to move forward, free from fear of future interruption. The variance in state laws makes asserting these rights across state lines difficult, and can drag out the legal process, leaving fathers, would-be parents, and children in limbo.

I want to make the adoption process easier and more stable for all involved. In order to make this possible, I introduced the Protecting Adoption Act last week. This bill creates a National Responsible Father Registry and encourages states with existing registries to link to the national system.

Empowering men and women to take responsibility for their rights as parents helps ensure adoptions are not jeopardized in the future. Birthfathers wishing to assert their rights to parent would be given timely notice of adoption proceedings, and adoptive parents would be apprised of potential claims, adding stability to the process from the beginning.

As a former State Representative who helped write and pass two major adoption reform bills in Missouri, and as a mother whose life has personally been blessed through adoption, I am proud to be a strong advocate for pro-adoption legislation in Washington. The Protecting Adoption Act allows children and parents to enjoy stable, loving forever families.

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