Georgian lawmakers make new push to pass adoption bill
Georgia lawmakers promise to make adoption reform a top priority for the upcoming legislative session.
Georgia’s adoption laws are in need of reform, with the last major update having occurred nearly three decades ago. During the last legislative session, state lawmakers came tantalizingly close to passing a major adoption law reform bill, only to see a controversial ‘religious liberty’ section added to the bill doom that proposed law’s success at the last minute. However, with the 2018 legislative session now underway, lawmakers say they will make a renewed push to bring Georgia’s adoption laws up to date.
Previous bill fails in Senate
An important adoption bill was close to becoming law in the last legislative session. That bill passed the House with unanimous support, but when it reached the Senate a controversial ‘religious liberty’ provision was added to the bill. That provision allowed private agencies to refuse to place a child with a certain family if doing so would go against their stated ‘mission.’ As The Moultrie Observer reports, the provision was widely seen as a way for private agencies to discriminate against LGBT couples and led to the bill getting stalled in the Senate. Concerns over the provisions impact on attracting businesses to Georgia ultimately doomed the bill.
New year brings renewed push
However, the original bill that gained unanimous support in the House is back, with leading state lawmakers saying that the adoption bill, without the controversial ‘religious liberty’ provision, will be a top priority for the current legislative session.
As Fox 5 News reports, if passed the bill would remove much of the red tape that currently exists for couples who want to adopt within Georgia. One of the most important changes concerns the 10-day revocation period. Under current Georgia law, the birth mother has 10 days after the birth of the baby to change her mind about putting the child up for adoption. That can mean that families that have already begun the adoption process sometimes suddenly see that process come to an unexpected end. The proposed legislation would allow the birth mother to waive her right to the 10-day revocation period, thus sparing the adoptive parents stress and uncertainty.
Other changes in the bill include a streamlined path for State of Georgia recognition of international adoptions, more jurisdictional options for adoptions, and a lowering of the age from 21 to 18 at which adopted children can gain access to the reunion registry.
Legal help with adoptions
Adopting a child is a complicated process in Georgia and those who are considering adoption should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help prospective adoptive parents understand what their legal options are and how to ensure the adoption process goes about in as smooth and stress-free way as possible.