SB 78 prevents children in foster care from being adopted simply because the adult who is otherwise qualified and available at the time of need is unmarried and in a relationship defined as "cohabitation."
This bill would affect all children and youth have been abandoned, neglected or abused by their biological parents. It would block adoptions:
- Even if the child is related by blood to the otherwise qualified person:
- Even if the child knows the otherwise qualified person and wants the adoption;
- Even if the child has been living in the otherwise qualified person's home for several years as a foster child;
- Even if the child has special medical needs that the otherwise qualified person is especially qualified to deal with;
- Even if other adoptive parents are unwilling to “take a chance” due to labels such as “special needs,” behavioral issues,” or “learning disability;”
- Even if the child has been moved repeatedly, and this person offers them stability and permanence for the first time;
- Even if there is no other practical alternative for a permanent placement;
- Even if the youth involved will likely “age out” without a parent and a home unless the adoption is allowed.
SB 78 supporters state that they want to protect children, and our Chapter accepts their statements as sincere. So we ask them these questions:
- Is it better for our brothers and sisters in care to have no parent than to have loving parent who is in a relationship that some believe to be wrong or improper?
- Is it better for a child or youth to have no home than to have a homesome believe to be flawed or imperfect?
We say NO to these questions. Among our fellow Alumni are thousands who know what it is like to wait, hope and pray for someone who we can love as a parent, someone who will love us for who we are.
We assume that SB 78’s supporters agree with us that the answer to these questions is “no.”
Unless they believe otherwise, until or unless there are enough qualified and available adoptive parents to promptly meet the needs of every child and youth in care, these bills MUST be tabled. We call on our legislative leaders to publicly agree that they will NEVER pass legislation that would deny a child in care the chance to have a loving parent for life.
Updated: March 30, 2009
Official summary of the bill (this takes you to Tennessee Legislature web site).
Full text of the bill.
Tennessean, Front Page, March 2, 2009
Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr on SB 78--great stuff!