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First overhaul to adoption process in 30 years passes House

A piece of legislation some four years in the making received unanimous approval from the Alabama House today. Advocates say the bill will make the process of adoption easier, faster and more affordable. 

Rep. Ginny Shaver said the guiding light in carrying the legislation were children in the foster care system and the families who are willing to give them a home. 

“We’ve got children in foster care, on average over two years, that’s a long time in the life of a child,” said Shaver (R-Leesburg). “We want to do everything we can to help mothers to keep or place their babies.”

The 80-page rewrite of Alabama’s adoption code seeks to address several major areas: Streamlined communication between courts and case workers, enhanced confidentiality and protection for those involved in adoption, as well as clarity around the application process. 

Shaver held her ground on the floor of the house today, answering questions from colleagues and offering background on the vast collaborations that made passage a reality.

“The committee has worked for over four years,” she said. 

The precise language required to overhaul an entire state code was driven in large measure by the Alabama Law Institute, Shaver underscored throughout. Given the 105-0 final vote, a bipartisan appreciation for extensive vetting shined through. 

Rep. Barbra Drummond (D-Mobile) said she supports the bill “to make that process easier so they can adopt and also safeguard the welfare of that child.”

Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne), who also had legislation passed today, said “She is the perfect person to carry this bill.”

“If we’re going to be a pro-life state, we need to make sure we stand up for the kids, and give those options to parents,” Simpson said. “It doesn’t need to cost $40-50,000 to have an adoption.” 

Now one week into the regular session, Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said streamlining adoption was one of his top priorities.

“This is a process that Alabama should’ve cleaned up a long time ago,” he said. “We sent a clear message today that the Alabama house wants to correct that.”

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