Illinois’ current adoption laws make the already difficult and time-consuming process to adopt internationally even more so. In the majority of states, once a family’s home study is written by a licensed social worker, they are free to move on to the next step in bringing their new child home. However, in Illinois, as well as in a handful of other states, the home study must first be approved by a state agency. The difference is that in other states, the system is functional and while it does add a little time, things keep moving. This is not the case for Illinois, where approvals are done by one person, the Intercountry Adoption Coordinator. By assigning the approval process to a single person, the approval process takes longer and is also subject to the biases of the person holding the position. There have been many instances of families being required to provide extensive additional documentation in addition to an already positive home study. Currently, wait times for home studies to be approved are running at least five weeks in Illinois.
The citizens of Illinois have a chance to change this unnecessary and time-consuming step! An adoption reform bill, HB 3079, is slated to be heard by the House Committee on Adoption on Thursday, March 26. An amendment (choose the link to amendment 001 at the top of the link to the full text of the bill) has been added to remove the position of the Intercountry Adoption Coordinator as well as the need for home studies to be approved by the state. If this is passed, IL families with approved home studies written by licensed social workers could move immediately to submitting the I-800A!
In order for the committee to approve the bill to be submitted to the IL House, WE need to let them know that we support this bill. Please call or write you Adoption Committee members before Thursday to voice your opinion and do your part to help children join their families sooner.
Adoption Committee members: http://ilga.gov/house/committees/members.asp?CommitteeID=1590&GA=99
Thank you to Elizabeth Curry for writing this article and spreading the word. Please visit http://www.ordinary-time.blogspot.com/ to read more about the issue.