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 Post subject: Adoption Law?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:51 pm
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Your Adoption Connection: In an at-risk placement with the sweetest baby boy
As some of you may know, I have been working with a State Representative on changing some adoption laws in the state of Missouri. Well, I received the preliminary version of the bill and sent back some more proposed changes. I am really needing some help from all of you. The biggest question that is going to be asked will be how our changes stack-up to other states. The main issues that we are attempting to change are as follows:

1. Birthparent(s) will not be required to appear in court for any hearings concerning the consent or placement. Currently the birthmother is required by some of the Judges to appear, it is not a state requirement and is required at the requirement of the judge. I have heard horror stories from our agencies concerning how some of the judges are unprofessional in how they are treating the birthmothers and are adding undue drama and stress to the proceedings.

2. The time to sign the consent forms will be reduced from 48 hours to 24 hours.

3. Finalization time will reduced from 6 months to 3 months. Also, followup visits will be reduced from 3 to 2.

4. The consent forms currently are signed in front of 2 witnesses. We are proposing that one of the witnesses must be the attorney representing the birthparents. This will reduce the question of coercion by an agency or adoptive family attorney. This is to appease some of the questions of the judges.

5. We are also proposing adding, at a minimum, 1 required counseling session for the birthparent(s) paid for by the adoptive family.

What can you tell me? I am going to need as much info as I can get to know where to start in our justification for these changes. I have the support of the agencies we are working with as well as our attorney. I will be meeting with a regional adoption professional group and presenting it to them next week to garner their support also. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated

Thanks, Matt


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 Post subject: Re: Adoption Law?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:23 am
Posts: 5347
Location: Farm fields of Illinois
Your Adoption Connection: International, foster and private adoption.
I have always felt to have any birthperson appear in court for terminating their rights is inhuman-at best. I've never understood ANY reasoning for it other than sheer noseyness. I've heard of at least one horror story regarding this type of thing and I've personally been in the courtroom with one birthmother who was literally GRILLED by the judge because she wanted to release her child for adoption. It was just plain insane! I mean, how many times CAN you say, "Yes, I understand your honor. Yes, I DO want to rellinquish my parental rights. Yes! I understand the ramifications of this.'

Really?

As for time for revocation? I think you're spot on. I know IL has a 72hr wait but once it's signed, that's it. I also think you're good to have the waiting time go for only 3months. Many states have a six month wait time and I think that's a little too long; though I also believe a much shorter time--(isn't it Arkansas who has only something like one week?)....is not a good thing either. I've personally known of a case where the adoptive parents severely physically abused the baby they'd just brought home. Luckily, this was found within the first three months and the adoption was disrupted as it should have been.

Other than that, I applaud you for doing what you're doing. I suspect your road may be long and tough; but at least you have the support of your adoption agency. May I ask, what's the name of your agency in Missouri? (This is alright to do at Forever Parents. We're allowed to talk about individual agencies and attorneys.)

Sincerely,

Linny

_________________
There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child - and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own. ~Robert Brault

Adoption Specialist for
Adopt America Network


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 Post subject: Re: Adoption Law?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:51 pm
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Your Adoption Connection: In an at-risk placement with the sweetest baby boy
Linny, thank you so much! I appreciate your thoughts. We are currently working with Adoption & Beyond from Overland Park, KS and we are also working with The Lighthouse in Kansas City, MO, but we are always looking to increase our reach. If you have any suggestions of other agencies we can approach, please let me know. A&B has been extremely supportive of us not only in our search, but in the legislative push. We used them for our private adoption that failed, after a few months we ended up signing up for their in-house program. The Lighthouse has been great also, they just aren't as active as A&B.

Steffany at A&B is the one who suggested that I speak with the Metro Adoption Council. She is arranging it so I can speak to them next Tuesday and is hoping that I can stay for the whole meeting. I understand that this might be a tough road, but I just feel that something has to be done, and it just works out that I have some great contacts. I am working through one of my best friends who just happens to be a State Representative. We feel that we will be able to get at least parts of this passed through the House pretty smoothly, it's the Senate that really concerns us. We have already identified some key State Senators that we are going to target for their support. Also, I have a lodge brother who is on the State Judges Association Legislative board and the Executive board, he is in support of our proposed changes and is going to help us with those organizations. Our other obstacle we can foresee is the Family Law Bar Association. From what I understand, they can be pretty difficult to get support from if they didn't come up with the idea, so that is the next group to figure out. I'm hoping the meeting on Tuesday can help us make contacts into that group.

I appreciate your insight into the workings of other states, that is exactly what we are in need of. If I have some general ideas, I can start to research for our discussion on the House floor. Any other thoughts will be so helpful.
Thanks, Matt


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 Post subject: Re: Adoption Law?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:23 am
Posts: 5347
Location: Farm fields of Illinois
Your Adoption Connection: International, foster and private adoption.
I'm going to guess that you've already researched the NACAC website for specifics of each state regarding relinquishments of rights, who can sign, etc???

http://www.nacac.org/sitemap.html

If not, I highly recommend this. It will help you see the differences across the board. What about contacting the Quad A attorneys? While they might have the same attitude as the other groups you referred to, I think more than one might be in favor of doing away with any parent who would have to appear in front of a judge, KWIM?

Quad A: American Academy of Adoption Attorneys

Sincerely,

Linny

_________________
There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child - and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own. ~Robert Brault

Adoption Specialist for
Adopt America Network


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 Post subject: Re: Adoption Law?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:51 pm
Posts: 14
Your Adoption Connection: In an at-risk placement with the sweetest baby boy
Thanks, I will check that out. I hadn't really used their website before. Also, I will check in with the Attorney's group. I am hoping that the meeting I am going to on Tuesday will help us get the backing we need within the state. It sounds like the group is made up of both attorneys and adoption organization professionals.
Thanks, Matt


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 Post subject: Re: Adoption Law?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:51 pm
Posts: 14
Your Adoption Connection: In an at-risk placement with the sweetest baby boy
Well, the meeting with the Metropolitan Adoption Council went very well. After some questions concerning my motives for the changes we are after, the acceptance was very surprising. Several Attorneys and Agency Directors are willing to write letters of support and go to Jefferson City to testify before committee when the time comes. I am being put in contact with a law Professor from MU to assist us in wording and presenting the bill. It was a very pleasant surprise to get that kind of reception. I was able to stay for the whole meeting after my presentation and they discussed the issues in birthmother living expenses.


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