A measure to create more uniformity in adoptions and ensure full disclosure of fees has cleared its first major hurdle in the Senate. Senate Bill 1029, by Sen. Steve Russell, was approved by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Russell, R-Oklahoma City, said that as an adoptive parent, it was an area of law of special concern to him.
In Oklahoma, prospective adoptive parents can utilize public and private agencies as well as attorney-assisted adoptions. Russell said while those are all good options, a 2006 grand jury investigation uncovered a number of abuses that need to be addressed, including some cases of “adoption” fees being used for personal vehicles, computers and other items.
“My legislation requires full disclosure of all fees, so that adoptive parents know exactly what is required up front and what all the fees are for,” Russell said. “We need to make sure we have a uniform standard for adoptions. Under current law, some things, like home studies, can be waived. Procedures aimed at ensuring the safety of the adoptive child should be enforced.”
SB 1029 would also ensure parents have a full disclosure of all state laws dealing with adoption as well as regulations impacting the adoption of children of Native American ancestry.
“Making sure all adoption laws and fees are completely transparent will improve the process and help eliminate the potential for abuse,” Russell said. “This is simply good public policy.”
Russell’s legislation now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.