-- — Legislation co-sponsored by state Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) to help give Indiana families more adoption service options passed the full Senate April 5 by a 50-0 vote.
House Bill 1558, authored by State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), would once again allow out-of-state child placement agencies and attorneys to facilitate adoptions in Indiana without penalty.
A new Indiana law, which took effect July 1, 2010, made it a crime for them to do so, as some officials believe in-state agencies best know Indiana’s adoption laws.
“Indiana residents who live near state lines may want to seek adoption services in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan, which, at this time, is illegal,” Leising said. “Because facilitators are already required to be licensed in Indiana, families are losing adoption options that may better suit their needs.”
Leising added state lawmakers and officials must remember that these other, out-of-state agencies are licensed and are fully capable of researching Indiana adoption laws or are likely already familiar with them.
She also said a couple in Senate District 42 experienced a problem with the 2010 adoption law this past summer, prompting her to introduce this same legislation in the Senate — Senate Bill 52. However, it did not receive a hearing.
“I became aware of the issue when I was contacted in mid-July by a family in my district who was in the middle of adopting a young boy from Russia,” Leising said. “The legislation made their adoption illegal, because they were using an out-of-state agency. In preparation for the adoption, the mother- and father-to-be had already taken one overseas trip to meet their prospective son. When they found out their hopes of adoption were in jeopardy, they were devastated.”
Leising said it is important the state not hinder couples wishing to adopt children, as “these innocent youngsters are in desperate need of loving families.” Due to the 2010 law, the couple from Senate District 42 was required to hire an Indiana attorney, prolonging their adoption process.
Most recent statewide statistics available from the Indiana Department of Child Services show 1,328 adoptions in Indiana in 2010 — 107 more adoptions than 2009.
“Across Indiana, the number of families wanting to adopt appears to be both sizable and growing,” Leising said. “These are not merely figures, but families. Their life-changing experiences underscore the vital importance of laws that work for them and not against them,” Leising said.
House Bill 1558 now moves to the governor’s desk for his signature into law.