WASHINGTON DC- Huerfano resident Terri Blessman, mother of six, went to Washington, DC June 9-10 as part of a team from the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) to discuss the Adoption Equality Act (H.R. 6307) with Colorado legislators. The bill was introduced in the House on June 19, by Reps. McDermott (D-WA) and Weller (R-IL) and passed the House on June 25. As a mother with four adopted children, Blessman knows a thing or two about adoption. "There′s a huge need for foster and adoptive parents, and we need to support families who choose to adopt these waiting children."
Almost all children in foster care are considered special needs children and caring for them requires lots of support. The Adoption Equality Act covers such issues as financial supports for the placement of foster children with extended family, requiring reasonable efforts to place them together with siblings, requiring an oversight plan for the medical treatment of foster children, reauthorizing the Adoptions Incentives Program which expires this year, and Title IV-E access for tribal governments for foster children in their care. The bill also allows states reimbursement from the federal government so money can be reinvested back into the child welfare system. "Not only does it help individual adoptive families, but it also helps states help those families. It′s truly a win-win situation."
"It was a really interesting process," says Blessman. "By actually going there and lobbying for a specific bill, you see how things can change." The bill still needs to pass through the Senate but "we′re very hopeful."