WASHINGTON, DC - Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in introducing a bi-partisan adoption bill, the Foreign Adopted Children Equality (FACE) Act (S. 1359), eliminating many of the hurdles internationally adopted children of American citizens currently face before they come to the United States. Currently, the adopted child must be approved for a U.S. immigrant visa to be able to join their American family. This is often a very lengthy and expensive process. The FACE Act would provide automatic U.S. citizenship to children adopted by Americans, eliminating many of the complications involved with moving these children to the United States and granting them full rights afforded any other American child.
"It is estimated that there are over 143 million orphans in the world today, and millions of them are growing up on the streets or in institutions that lack the resources to provide the love and care that every child deserves," said Inhofe. "I have seen this problem first-hand in my travels to the continent of Africa. Unfortunately, many nations lack the number of willing and able adults to adopt and care for these children. It is vitally important that adults from outside nations be allowed to take action to address this problem. Inter-country adoption permits American families the opportunity to love and care for these children while providing them with hope and a future. I want to work to make it easier for American families to adopt, and easier for orphaned children to be adopted."
The Act would treat an adopted child of an American citizen the same way a biological child of the same citizen is treated if born abroad. American citizens who give birth to a child while overseas simply take their proof of citizenship and the child's birth certificate to the U.S. Embassy and apply for and receive a U.S. passport and a Consular Report of Birth. The FACE Act provides equal treatment of internationally adopted children with foreign born biological children of American citizens.
In addition to the FACE Act, Inhofe is an original co-sponsor on U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's (D-Minn.) S. 1376, a bill that will restore two adoption exemptions to immigration laws that were ended inadvertently when the U.S. began implementation of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption.
The first exemption that S. 1376 restores allows U.S. parents adopting a foreign-born child to bring that child into the U.S. without the immunization record normally required of lawful immigrants, so long as they certify that the child will receive the necessary immunizations within 30 days of arrival. This is designed to prevent parents from having to subject their children to numerous (and often unsafe) immunizations in foreign nations, and to allow them to safely immunize their children in the U.S. The exemption was created by Congress in 1997.
The second exemption that S. 1376 restores allows U.S. parents to adopt multiple children who are siblings, even if one of those children is between the ages of 16-18. Normally, children 16 and above are ineligible for adoption. However, if the parents are adopting siblings, and one or more of the children are below the ages of 16 and one is between the ages of 16-18, this exemption allows those adoptions to proceed.