National News

Bill could be signed soon to streamline Georgia adoption process

Posted February 6, 2018 11:24 a.m. EST

— Georgia Governor Nathan Deal could sign a bill into law Tuesday that would simplify the adoption process in the state.

After a two-and-a-half year fight to simplify and modernize the adoption process, compromise, constant feedback and tweaking won out. The Senate voted on the measure that will streamline the process and it will also help to expedite it.

The state's adoption laws had gone nearly 30 years without being updated. So many children, particularly those in foster care, stayed in foster care and parents desperate to adopt, looked elsewhere.

"Every child that is needing to be adopted is going to have a clearer pathway for that," said state representative Bert Reeves. "There's this growing trend of Georgians going outside of Georgia and adopting in other states because it's easier to do it in other states. It doesn't take as much time. There's more certainty."

Other concerns over things like attorneys fees in private adoptions will be hashed out in a joint study committee. While you could sense the heartbreak on the last day of the legislative session when the bill died before passage, this February, hearts are full of hope.

"I can think of nothing we could do that's more important for the most vulnerable children here in Georgia than to finally pass this bill," continued Reeves.

The reason various adoption bills kept getting rejected by the governor is because some lawmakers inserted language that the governor equated with discrimination.

The spokesperson for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board says they've filed their own bill called, "keeping faith in adoptions" which they believe protects their first amendment rights and their religious mission.

Other bills making their way through the legislature include:

- A proposal to change the Georgia Constitution to make English the official language

- Legalizing recreational marijuana in the state and taxing it to raise money for education, transportation

- A proposal to revive Georgia's hate crime law

- Bill requiring all state employees to be tested for opioids