July 20, 2010, WASHINGTON. – Today, Congressman Bart Gordon voted to simplify procedures for American families interested in adopting children from overseas.
“Many deserving American parents want to welcome an adopted child into their family but are held up by high costs and red tape,” Gordon said. “Bureaucratic headaches should never stand in the way of giving a child a loving home.”
The International Adoption Harmonization Act of 2010 would simplify the admissions vaccination documentation requirements for certain countries. The bill would also allow an adopted child to legally immigrate so long as the adoption is completed and the petition is filed before the child turns 18, rather than the current age limit of 16. Adoptions of international teenagers are not as common as adoptions of young children, but equally important, often arising from special circumstances such as when a family wishes to reunite a group of siblings.
“I’ve heard from so many Middle Tennessee families over the years who have provided loving homes to adopted children, both international and American-born,” Gordon said. “The least we can do for these families is ensure detrimental adoption policies don’t stand in their way.”
A member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Gordon has worked throughout his time in Congress to make the adoption process easier for deserving parents. In 1994, Gordon travelled to Romania, where he visited children the country’s orphanages and met with Romanian officials in the wake of reports of inhumane conditions and restrictive regulations that prevented children from being adopted.
“In my travels in Romania, I saw haunting images of physical and emotional neglect in the country’s orphanages. Many international families wanted to adopt these children, but cumbersome adoption laws stood in the way,” Gordon said.
Gordon’s visits ultimately led Romania to ease restrictions on Americans wanting to adopt Romanian children. In 1997, Gordon also co-sponsored legislation to help foster children find their way into permanent adoption, which led to a steep increase in the number of adoptions from foster care, with 55,000 adopted in 2008 alone. Last year, Gordon sponsored the Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act to make permanent a $10,000 tax credit for expenses related to adoptions.