MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A bill that will streamline the adoption process in Alabama saw unanimous approval Thursday in the House of Representatives.
Sponsored by Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg, the bill streamlines adoptions by setting definite time parameters to move the process along faster, reducing court procedures by allowing for electronic communications, and saving prospective parents time and money by updating the state’s adoption law language to be more clear.
Shaver said the bill could take as much as a year off of the typical adoption process.
“We have 5,700 children in foster care, of which there’s about 220 who are ready to (be) adopted, so I just hope streamlining this process will help us do that,” Shaver said following the bill’s passage.
“A year, two years, that’s a long time in the life development of a child, and they just want a family and want to be loved.”
The bill has been worked on for more than four years and is a collaborative effort between Shaver and the Alabama Law Institute. Retired judges, adoption attorneys and experts from a number of different fields of study all contributed to the language of the bill through bi-weekly meetings, the work of which was praised by Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne.
“I sat in on some of those committee meetings, that adoption committee met every other week for at least a year,” Simpson said after the bill’s passage.
“… If we’re going to be a pro-life state, we need to make sure that we stand up for the kids and give options to parents.”
Shaver did not share data on the exact amount parents would save in the adoption process, only that through it being streamlined, the less frequent in-person court proceedings and short time span would see a reduction in overall cost.
House Speaker Nathiniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, named the adoption bill as one of his highest priorities as early as late February, and said of the bill’s passing that House members had “changed lives for generations.”
“I think there was urgency (given the recent abortion ban), and I do think this was good timing, but it has been in the works for almost four years,” Ledbetter said. “I think today, we’ve got almost 5,700 children in our state that don’t have mommas and daddies, but we sent a clear message that the Alabama House wants to correct that where you can do adoptions easier and more streamlined.”
The bill saw no amendments as it worked its way through the House, neither did it see any opposition from House members. Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, will carry the bill in the State Senate.
To learn more about the children in foster care who are ready to be adopted, visit Heart Gallery Alabama.