As I mentioned on Saturday, there is now an adoption reform bill that has been drafted and has now been amended to include the removal of the Intercountry Adoption Coordinator's position and the corresponding need to have home studies written for international adoption be approved at the state level. You can read the full text of the HB 3079 yourself and if you want to see the amendment, click on the link up at the top of the page of the full text that says 'amendment 001'.
Please if you care about children being able to join their families sooner and removing the salary of an unnecessary position at the state level as well as the ability for the person in that position to harass families, take the time to make your opinion heard. You only need to be a voting citizen of Illinois to do this.
The first thing that everyone needs to do is complete a witness slip before Thursday, March 26, which is when the adoption committee will hear the bill. This is pretty easy, once you know what you are doing. Since I have already spend some time figuring it all out, it will save you time. A witness slip is a way to electronically inform the committee on the bill in question what your opinion is. It becomes part of the official record and is thus a bit more important than just calling your representative. Kane County has put together a very clear tutorial as to how to do this. If you use these instructions with the above link to the bill you should have no problems.
If you are somehow adverse to clicking on links, here are the written instructions:
1. Log on to www.ilga.gov
2. Click on GA DASHBOARD listed under Reports & Inquiry
3. Click on House
4. Click on Committee Hearing on the left and choose 'week'
5. Scroll down to find Adoption Committee, click and look for HB 3079 and click on it
6. Click on the icon of a pen on paper and click on that. This will take you to the link to complete the witness slip
If you are merely stating your support, then choose 'record of appearance'. If you have actual testimony because of prior experience with this position, then you can choose submit written testimony. My rep's office says it should work, but I was having trouble with this part. See if it will work for you.
Of course, you can always call each of the committee member's offices as well.
Some people have asked me for main points. In my opinion, here are the main issues:
The position of Intercountry Adoption Coordinator is an unnecessary position which is costing tax payers money and adoptive families and their children valuable time, sometimes as long as several months. Because the power of the position lies with just one person, it allows personal biases to play into the decision making process. The position and need for home study approval is also redundant as the social workers and their agencies are licensed by the state and the home study already requires extensive documentation as to the capacity of the family in question. It makes no sense why a person who has never met the family should be able to determine their fitness to parent better than the licensed social worker who has had many face-to-face meetings with them.
Now, to give credit where credit is due. I know in the past I have been highly critical of our elected government representatives, but since some of those rather unhappy emails, I was contacted by a representative in Robyn Gabel's office. I have nothing but praise for her office staff and for the leg work and phone calls that her staff did on my behalf. Her office is reason why I even knew about the amendment in the first place. So, here is my public thank you.
Now, go fill out your witness slip and make whatever phone calls you desire. Please share this with anyone you know who votes in Illinois. We need to make our voices heard before Thursday (3/26).
The families who have their files gathering dust on a desk and those who will come after us thank you.