The adoption process can be long and stressful. It can be a roller coaster emotionally, financially, and even physically. But new proposed legislation in Georgia will hopefully alleviate some of the “red tape” and make the process shorter.
House Bill 159 has been passed by the House and is now awaiting approval from the Senate. Rep. Bert Reeves has spent the last two years formulating updated adoption laws; however, even though the House passed it unanimously, there are still several issues in the Bill with which the Senate does not agree.
Items that are being addressed in this bill:
The length of time that parents can transfer custody of their child for without judicial approval
The bill recommends one year.
Revocation periods for birth mothers
A compromise was reached in the window of time that a birth mother has as a revocation period. The current law allows ten days for a birth mother to change her mind after signing the adoption papers. No other state has that long of a revocation period window, and both houses are agreeing to a change from 10 days to 4 days.
Presently, Georgia takes much longer to finalize an adoption that most other states, according to a news article. Lawmakers stated that their long revocation period is a reason many people do not adopt from Georgia and adopt out of state.
Birth mother expenses
Another issue yet to be resolved is that of payments to a birth mother. Many states allow payments by the adoptive family to assist the expectant mother with rent, bills, etc. it is already allowed through adoption agencies, and the bill would also allow expense payments to birth mothers in private adoptions, but would require monitoring by an adoption agency. Sen. David Shafer believes this would only increase the cost of the already-expensive adoption process and be not affordable for many “working families.”
Cassie Laminack, a soon-to-be adoptive mother in Georgia, told the Marietta Daily Journal, “If someone wants to walk this journey, they’re going to have to be super patient, because if you’re not patient, you’re not going to make it.” This bill is hoping to help Cassie and future adoptive families on making the process easier and not as long and drawn out.
Now, everyone waits on the Senate to see what happens next with this bill.