Making The Complex

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Adopting from one state to another can be challenging

Multiple celebrities, from Madonna to Angelina Jolie, have gone to other countries to find children they wanted to raise as their own. International adoption is common, a fact affirmed by State Department data showing that there were 8,868 instances of it in 2012. However, some in the U.S. are questioning why it can seem to be easier to adopt from overseas than it is to adopt from a neighboring state. There were only 840 interstate adoptions in 2012.

A third of that 840 was done by relatives. The disparity in numbers between adoptions done between states and those done internationally is causing members of Congress to take note. U.S. Sen Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, has proposed legislation to address the matter. Her proposal, called the Children in Families First Act, is supported by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

The proposal, according to advocates, would it make it easier to adopt a child from one state to another. Advocates say that facilitating such adoptions would get kids out of foster care and into families, correspondingly reducing social welfare costs. They suggest that it can help older children, who can be harder to place.

The advocates also talk about other hurdles, like home studies. Some states, they contend, make prospective parents wait for a year after their home study is done to adopt from another state. This can be a challenge for families who want to start raising a child sooner.

Adoption law is complex and varies from state to state. Couples committed to adopting shouldn’t give up, since there are children who need them. They should, however, make sure they understand any laws governing an adoption and would be wise to avoid entering into an adoption agreement with someone found on a social media or classified listing site.

Source: Washington Post, “Why is it easier to adopt a child from overseas than from another state?” Jeff Katz, Apr. 27, 2014


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