Not now, Sweetie, Mommy’s busy opposing some bad adoption legislation

If you have any connection to the adoption world, you have probably heard about two pending pieces of legislation, the Foreign Adopted Children’s Act (FACE) and the Families for Orphans Act (FFOA). I heard about these two pieces of legislation about two weeks ago. With three young children and a job, it’s difficult to find time to read and digest these kinds of things. It’s even harder to find time to write a blog post about why I OPPOSE BOTH ACTS.

While my post about why I oppose these two pieces of legislation may have to wait, I felt it was urgent to get something up today to make my opinion known. You see, several groups who are lobbying for these acts are pushing a three-day blitz, starting today, asking people to contact their Congresspeople in support of this bill. They are also circulating a petition which will be presented to Congress.

PLEASE take the time to read the bills and the arguments for and against these bills before deciding they deserve your support. “Families for Orphans” sounds like a good thing, right? It sounds like something you should support, right? Well, I certainly support international adoption and orphans, but I CANNOT SUPPORT THIS LEGISLATION. Please know that as more and more people have time to read and digest these bills, more and more people have decided that they cannot support this legislation. Adoptive parents, adult adoptees, adoption agencies, adoption professionals, and adoption groups are speaking out and organizing against these pieces of legislation.

For more information, check out these links:

While today marks the beginning of the three-day blitz to contact government officials in support of these bills, those of us who oppose these bills should make contact over the next three days as well. If you oppose these bills, please call both of your U.S. Senators and your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. You can find your Senators’ phone numbers and email address at www.senate.gov. There is a scroll down menu with each state at the top right of the page. You can find your Representative’s phone number and email address at www.house.gov. Enter your zip code in the box at the top left of the page.

Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff and tell them that as a constituent you are requesting their boss’ support by making their opposition known to these bills currently in committee.  Provide them with both the names of the two bills and their corresponding bill numbers (the FACE Act is S.1359 in the Senate and H.R. 3110 in the House and the FFO Act is S. 1458 and H.R. 3070 in the House.) You can direct the staffer to contact the offices of Senators Landrieu and Inhofe or Representatives Watson and Boozman for information.

In addition to contacting your own members of Congress, please voice your opposition to members who sit on the four Congressional committees who will be the first to vote on these bills. The FACE Act will be considered by the House and Senate Judiciary Committee and also by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The FFO Act will be considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Following is contact information for these committees

In the House:

In the Senate:

  • Senate Judiciary Committee:
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
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8 thoughts on “Not now, Sweetie, Mommy’s busy opposing some bad adoption legislation

  1. Thank you for posting. I think the more people know the better. Most people would assume these are positive bills because of the name and that is not the case.

  2. I think Ethica is completely offbase on its objections to FACE. FFOA is not a good act, but FACE does none of the things Ethica contends it does (or to be more precise, contends it MIGHT, since they provide not a shred of evidence or legal analysis to support their “objections.”

    1. Elimination of the visa process does not “eliminate the safeguards put in place to help ensure that children placed for adoption are legally in need of homes abroad.” The visa process is primarily duplicative work on the suitability of the adoptive family which is already handled in the homestudy process. There is next to no investigative work done by CIS on the needs of the adoptive child beyond the acceptance of the foreign decree of adoption. That would still be required to obtain citizenship documents, so the process at that end would essentially not change.

    2. A piece of legislation cannot diminish an adoptee’s birth history. That is wholly and completely in the hands of the adoptive parents. If they honor it, there is absolutely no difference in the point in time at which U.S. citizenship attaches.

    3. Ethica states “it may create additional hurdles and costs for children in the future as they attempt to claim benefits and privileges they are entitled to in their countries of origin.” I don’t know where to start with this objection. A concrete example or some evidence would be nice. In countries that permit the retention of dual citizenship, it will not matter when U.S. citizenship attaches. In countries that do not, the child is cut off at the time of US citizenship regardless. Without some concrete evidence of the legal basis of that statement, I must disregard it completely.

    4. Finally as to issues regarding the Hague, this bill does not amend the IAA at all. It addresses immigration issues and citizenship issues which are completely separate and internal to the country at issue. It does NOT impact Hague compliance in the least. This is a red herring.

  3. Thank you for posting this – I couldn’t agree more.

    Scott is missing a few important points.

    1. I’m not sure where he gets the idea that the visa process is to further prove the suitability of adoptive parents. Read the State Department’s visa process description here, and you will find specific purposes for the visa process, including this:

    “The child’s birth parent(s) or other legal custodian, individuals, or entities whose consent is necessary for adoption, have given freely their written, irrevocable consent for the termination of their legal relationship with the child and to the child’s emigration and adoption.”

    DoS, by the way, does NOT support this legislation.

    2. As the parent of two nearly-grown Korean adoptees, I really take offense at someone suggesting that making citizenship retroactive to birth does NOT take away my children’s history. It most certainly does. My children were not born American citizens, they were born Korean citizens, and that reality belongs to them.

    3. Discounting Ethica’s statement entirely because it lacks concrete examples when many adoptees state clearly how important birth history – which includes citizenship at time of birth – is to them makes no sense to me. I would think any adoptive parent would be open to concerns that might potentially cause problems for their children: seems a responsible attitude to me. It’s an irrational piece of legislation and essentially “fudges” reality, and additionally is unnecessary. Making citizenship retroactive to the time of arrival would serve the same purpose for the adopted individual without dismissing the birth history as it does.

    4. FACE may not amend IAA, but with two adoptee citizenship bills in effect, confusion is certainly possible. Additionally, placing countries will absolutely understand what this legislation means to children. Delays are absolutely possible. But at the end of the day, I don’t think delays are a particularly big concern – what this legislation does to adoptee history is a greater one.

    To close the loopholes left by IAA is commendable. Doing so at the cost of adoptee history is not.

  4. I have to say I’m shocked to find such opposition to these bills. I guess because I look at them through the eyes of people who want to adopt children with HIV, kids who need to get here sooner then later, and from everything I read, this would make the process quicker.

    • Carole-

      Most international adoptions are not of children who have HIV or severe health problems. It seems that most prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) are looking for healthy infants, as young as possible. I should know as, regrettably, I was once one of those PAPs.

      After my daughter came home, her province in Vietnam was shut down to US adoptions due to documented cases of corruption. There were allegations of widespread corruption – falsifying of documents, birthparents being tricked or coerced into giving up their children for adoption, etc. I will never know if my daughter’s adoption was tainted, but it will haunt me for the rest of my life. My heart aches to know that she will learn about this someday.

      Through this experience, I have learned that the corruption in international adoption is a fact of life. It is not limited to my daughter’s province or to Vietnam. I am, therefore, opposed to legislation that eliminates ANY safeguards to protect children and their birthparents. In addition, international adoption and removing children from their birth culture is not the solution to the world’s orphan crisis, and I cannot support legislation that incentivizes it. Instead we should be supporting programs that eliminate poverty, hunger, health problems, etc, giving children the opportunity to stay with their families and countries of birth. I am not opposed to international adoption. I think it is a viable option for SOME children, but it is only an option after it has been determined that a child cannot remain with birthparents or adoptive parents in his or her own culture.

  5. Pingback: Families for Orphans Act (FFOA) opposition « My Minivan Rocks!

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