While there's no shortage of partisan politics in the nation's capital these days, some senators are putting their differences aside in support of an issue both sides feel strongly about: the millions of foreign children at risk in orpanages and currently in need of loving families. Liberals and conservatives are united in their determination to pass a bill reflecting current State Department policies, but streamlining the process for adopting these children.
Spearheaded by Senator Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana democrat who is herself the mother of two adopted children, the "Children in Families Act" crosses party lines and is co-sponsored by both democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and Tea Party republican Michele Bachmann.
While some opponents are skeptical about creating more government bureaucracy, Landrieu's group feels it is necessary to establish an office with a focus on child welfare. Under this legislation international adoption cases would be assigned to U.S. Citizenship Services.
Since 2005, there has been a decrease in foreign adoptions by Americans, in some cases because of restrictions imposed on particular countries due to concerns about fraud and child trafficking. And while UNICEF has not commented on this pending legislation, their Chief of Child Protection Susan Bissell does not favor the approach of international adoption over the alternative of finding children permanent homes within their native countries. The bill does offer a range of initiatives that go beyond adoption to help more of the millions of children worldwide who are living without families.
With eager families in this country hoping to adopt, there is great interest in this bill as it advances toward a vote. Many foreign children have been adopted by and found loving homes with U.S. families. Landrieu and her supporters hope that this pending legislation will cut some of the red tape and make that adoption process less daunting.