The good news is that last week the IL Adoption Reform bill passed the House unanimously. That is, in part, thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on the bill and contact their state legislator. We all did a great job! But now it is time to get back to work. HB 3079 has been assigned a Senate Committee and it will be heard (and voted on, I believe) on Tuesday. That gives us just three days to write emails and make phone calls.
I cannot stress how important this is. The truth is, the IL House passes over 1000 bills in the course the year, the Senate usually passes less than 200. The vast majority of bills never make it out of Senate committees. We absolutely cannot allow this bill to get lost. We need to fight for our families and for the children who need homes. We and many other families have lost valuable time with our children because of this unnecessary and costly requirement. A child does not have that many years to be a child, yet DCFS and the Intercountry Adoption Coordinator take their time to review home studies of people they have never met and usually only end up making superficial and non-important changes to those home studies. How can that possibly be worth a child spending two more months without a mother and father.
What you need to do:
Call or write the senators on the committee. The link will take you to the committee members and is linked to each of their contact information. I know some of you will ask for what you are to say. Here are the main points to make:
1. This is a redundant position that is costing tax payers money and is doing the same job that the state licensed social workers have already done.
2. The requirement of the state approving home studies is also redundant because the US is now a signee of the Hague Agreement which comes with stringent requirements.
3. The position of Intercountry Adoption Coordinator, because of the way it is structured, allows personal biases to play into the decisions about families. Families, I will reiterate, the holder of the position has never met.
4. This bill allows parents an easier and less costly way to obtain a US birth certificate of a child who is already legally theirs.
Everyone needs to do this. Share this with your friends, family, and acquaintances. We absolutely cannot let this bill die in committee. Our children deserve better.
Alright, here's the deal. I just spent about 20 minutes calling every committee member. People, get on your phones now! Only one of the people I'd talked to had even heard about the bill. We need to do better or this bill will die in committee and we will be stuck with our rotten system for who knows how long.
I know it can be intimidating to phone a lawmaker's office if you've never done so. Here's what will happen. Out the list, three offices had answering machines on. That was easy. Leave your name, the name of the bill, and why you support it. The rest of the offices had real people answering. They will ask your name, phone number, what city you are from, and some will ask your address. Tell them you are in support of HB 3079, the Adoption Reform Bill, and, if they give you chance, why. Some only wait long enough to hear that you support it. Everyone was quite friendly and the process is easy. But EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU NEEDS TO CALL. We need these senators to know about this bill and that many people support it.
Stop what you are doing right now and pick up that phone. I want to hear that people on the other end are starting to say things such as, "Oh, we've been getting a lot of calls about that today." This would be much better than the responses I received which were, "Oh, I don't think I've heard of that."
I've done some digging and here are some email address:
Sen. Kwame: email@example.com
Sen. Hastings: http://senatorhastings.com/index.php/contact-us
Sen. Haine: http://www.senatorhaine.com/contact-us
Sen. Harmon: http://www.donharmon.org/contact-senator-harmon
Sen. Hutchinson: http://senatorhutchinson.com/contact-me
Sen. Mulroe: http://www.senatormulroe.org/contact-me
Sen. Noland: http://www.senatornoland.com/contact-us
Sen. Silverstein: http://www.senatorsilverstein.com/contact-us
Sen. Barickman: http://senatorbarickman.com/Contact/ContactForm.aspx
Sen. Connelly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. LaHood: http://www.senatorlahood.com/Contact/ContactForm.aspx
Sen. Nybo: http://chrisnybo.com/contact/