November 01, 2015

Adoption

President Obama declared November as National Adoption Month 2015, calling on all Americans to observe the month by “answering the call to find a permanent and caring family for every child in need and by supporting the families who care for them.” He noted that more than 400,000 children are in foster care across the country, more than 100,000 of these children are waiting for an adoptive home, and more than 23,000 youth aged out of the foster care system last year without having found families. Steps that the Obama administration has taken to make it easier for families to adopt include new federal government leave policies aimed at expanding workplace flexibility to help employees balance the needs of their families, including the birth or adoption of a child, with the demands of their jobs. Another action is the permanent extension of the Adoption Tax Credit to help provide financial support to adoptive families. He also noted the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015),  which guaranteed marriage equality under the Constitution − a victory for same-sex couples seeking to have their marriages recognized and to have the opportunity to provide foster care for and to adopt children in need of families. During a Nov. 18 hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee focused on the successes and challenges of intercountry adoptions. Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary for consular affairs at the State Department, described the department’s efforts to work with Russia, the Congo and other countries where international adoptions are stalled, and she highlighted steps the department is taking to improve the adoption process under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The ABA supports efforts to encourage adoption and considers international adoption an integral part of a comprehensive strategy to address the worldwide problem of children without permanent homes. The association also applauded the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.

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