The full Senate approved a measure to review current adoption law and practices in the state of Oklahoma. House Bill 2749, by Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. Susan Winchester was approved unanimously on Monday, bringing it one step closer to consideration by Gov. Brad Henry.
“Oklahoma has not had an in-depth examination of our adoption laws since 1994,” said Mazzei, R-Tulsa. “HB 2749 creates a task force that will examine those laws and ensure we’re doing the best job we can to encourage the adoption of infants and children into loving homes.”
The bill calls for the creation of a 13-member task force with four appointees by the Governor, four by the Speaker of the House and four by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The final member would be the Director of the Department of Human Services or a designee. The members of the task force would include judges and attorneys with adoption law expertise, directors of licensed child-placing agencies, foster care, and social work, as well as a member of an adoption advocacy group.
The task force would have the responsibility of studying and making recommendations on our current state adoption laws and practices, such as allowable expenses paid by adoptive parents for the benefit of the birth parents, documentation showing a detailed accounting and full disclosure of all money expended for adoptions such as birth mother expenses, agency fees, social services fees and attorney fees.
The task force will also examine jurisdictional issues, the use of technology to aid in the facilitation of adoptions, the appointment of an advocate for the birth mother, confidentiality considerations and industry advertising practices.
“As a parent of an adopted child, I believe in helping couples who want to provide a loving home for a child,” Mazzei said. “I am grateful to my fellow members for their strong support of this adoption review task force.”