The Christian Alliance for Orphans is not a lobbying organization, but we keep an eye on legislation that is likely to have a significant impact upon for orphans, whether for good or ill.
With just weeks left in the current Congressional session, two notable bills wait for action: the International Adoption Simplification Act – S. 1376 and the Help Haiti Act of 2010. If you desire to communicate to your member of Congress regarding these bills, you can find your representatives’ contact information here.
S.1376 would allow families to adopt older siblings (age 16 and 17) when adopting a younger sibling. Until April 1, 2008, older siblings could be adopted in all countries. However, after the U.S. put in place regulations implementing the Hague treaty on Intercountry adoption, older siblings in Hague countries can not be adopted. This was never intended by Congress and was an oversight that everyone agrees needs to be corrected. Right now you can adopt older siblings in non-Hague countries but not in Hague countries. Families need to be able to adopt and keep siblings together. It also simplifies vaccination requirements for certain children in the process of adoption. We are unaware of any opposition to this correction in the law.
The Help Haiti Act would authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to give children granted Humanitarian parole after the earthquake in Haiti permanent resident status. Specifically it will adjust to permanent resident status an alien who: (1) was granted parole admission into the United States pursuant to the humanitarian parole policy for certain Haitian orphans announced on January 18, 2010, and suspended as to new applications on April 15, 2010; (2) is physically present in the United States; (3) is admissible as an immigrant; and (4) files an application for adjustment not later than three years after enactment of this Act.