In light of the adoption travesties in recent months (Veronica Brown, Desirai Tarbox Simmons) and others that are yet to come to light, a change in the Oklahoma adoption code has been submitted as House Bill 2442.
Changes to the code include: birth fathers needing to sign relinquishment of parental rights (TPR) in front of a judge. In the past, birth fathers were able to sign away rights in the witness of a notary, or other through “extrajudicial” means. This bill requires that birth fathers terminate rights in front of a judge just as a birth mother is required to do.
Another change to the code includes an understanding of a child’s best interest as presumed to be raised by a biological family member. So that if the biological mother or father choose not to raise the child the biological family has an opportunity by law to notify the court of their interest or intent. The child’s best interest, since presumed to be raised in the biological family, would give first consideration to family before an adoption can be considered.
Education and understanding of adoption truth needs to be recognized and embraced. Adoption now affects or touches the lives of 60% of Americans as reported by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. Only 2-3% of women use adoption to parent their children. You can imagine the challenges in fulfilling the need for couples who want to adopt with such a small number of women who place children.
The idea of adoption comes from needing to find homes for orphaned children – children who had no one in their biological family to raise them. Adoption has become a business where money has clouded the judgment, morals and ethics of too many. Legislation must support the concept of adoption to help those children who truly need a home. Honesty and honor toward the biological families, including the child, need to be recognized and addressed in legislation.
HB 2442 starts Oklahoma down a path of being one of the few states to recognize the child’s right to stay connected with his or her biological family. I believe everyone will support transparency and truthfulness to honor family. Please let your legislators know you support HB 2442 and want them to do the same.