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New state law aims to streamline international adoptions, cut bureaucracy


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – Families who adopt children from foreign countries face many challenges. They are subject to intense scrutiny by the federal government to determine if they are fit parents. They face substantial costs for travel and adoption fees. Some may have turned to adoption because of stressful fertility issues.

In Illinois, they have faced another challenge: a state bureaucrat who must approve the adoption, even though they already have federal authorization.

A new law is intended to get rid of this unnecessary, wasteful bureaucracy.

It also streamlines Illinois’ process for officially recording foreign adoptions, making adopted children U.S. citizens and giving parents the right to change their children’s names. To gain these benefits, children must be re-adopted in the U.S., and domestic adoption laws are governed by the states rather than the federal government.

“This law saves taxpayer money and makes it easier for children to find good homes,” said state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, the law’s sponsor. “The adoption process is stressful enough without unneeded big-government bureaucracy.”

Illinois is the only state in the nation that required state approval in addition to federal approval for international adoptions. The state-government approval process has also faced criticism because it slowed down the already-lengthy adoption process, and sometimes the Illinois official overturned the federal government for seemingly arbitrary reasons.

The legislation is House Bill 3079. It takes effect immediately.

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