Bipartisan Senators Introduce Law to Improve Intercountry Adoption Information Reporting

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) today introduced the Intercountry Adoption Information Act of 2018 which would help remove information barriers Americans frequently face while seeking to adopt children from other countries. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

 

“American families trying to adopt a child from abroad should have robust and relevant information needed to navigate the adoption landscape,” said Senator Burr in a statement. “This bill will help remove some of the frequent informational challenges families face when trying to learn the status of intercountry adoption policies. It will also shine a light on unnecessary and detrimental barriers some countries have put up to thwart adoptions, and require the State Department to provide information on what they are doing to address those barriers. I hope the Senate will work to pass this commonsense legislation as soon as possible.”

 

“It’s disappointing that certain countries have enacted restrictive adoption policies that deny children the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving home,” said Senator Blunt. “By providing parents with information on the status of adoption policies, they’ll have an important resource to help them navigate the complicated process of intercountry adoption. In addition, the information required will aid our ability in Congress to support diplomatic efforts and help assist families.  I urge my colleagues to support this bill and, as co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I’ll continue working to promote policies that make it easier for families to open their homes to a child in need.”

 

“Over the years I have heard from numerous Maryland families and adoption groups who rightly complain that the lack or quality of access to information on foreign adoptions adds confusion and frustration to what should be a deeply personal and meaningful process,” Senator Cardin said. “We should be making it easier, not more difficult, for Americans to receive all the necessary information to make a real difference in a child’s life and enrich their families in the process. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation.”

 

“Families adopting children from abroad display the generosity, compassion, and heart of the American people,” Senator Wicker said. “I am proud to join my Senate colleagues on this meaningful legislation, which would make it easier for these families to navigate the international adoption process and welcome children in need into a forever home.”

 

“We need to make sure Ohioans have access to all the information they need to build their families and provide loving, stable homes for children,” Senator Brown said. “I urge my colleagues in Congress to support this legislation to help people navigate this complicated process.”

 

Background:

 

Currently, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), requires the U.S. State Department to provide an annual report on intercountry adoptions, delivered to the House Committees on International Relations, Ways and Means and Judiciary, as well as the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Finance, and Judiciary. A copy is also made publicly available online.

 

The report includes information on topics such as the number of intercountry adoptions involving immigration to the United States and the country from which each child immigrates, the time required for completion of an adoption and information on adoption agencies. The Intercountry Adoption Information Act would amend the IAA to require the State Department provide additional information on:

  • All countries that have enacted policies to prevent or prohibit adoptions to the United States;
  • Actions the State Department has taken which have prevented adoptions to the United States;
  • How the State Department has worked to encourage the resuming of adoption in both cases.

 

This information is critical for American families looking to adopt from countries that have established barriers to adoption, such as Russia or Ethiopia, or areas where the State Department has suspended intercountry adoption, as of abandoned children in Nepal.

 

Text of the bill can be found here.