With November being National Adoption Month, it provides us a great opportunity to raise awareness about finding homes for children in need across Indiana. To help match more children with loving forever homes, the General Assembly enacted several laws in recent years to support adoptees and their children.
The financial burdens of the lengthy process can discourage parents from considering adoption in the first place. In 2011, there were 2,922 Hoosier children waiting to be adopted but only 1,549 found their forever family. This is heartbreaking; we can and we must do better. In 2014, we worked to increase the adoption rate in Indiana by providing an adjusted gross income tax credit for adoptive parents. The tax credit is meant to help cover additional expenses, such as legal or court costs. This helps encourage prospective parents to consider and complete the process of welcoming an adopted child into their family.
Bringing closure to adult adoptees is extremely important to those seeking information on their background and biological parents. Under current law, Hoosiers adopted after 1994 have access to their records. Anyone adopted between 1941 and 1993, however, are in the “closed records” period and have to go through a lengthy process to obtain information. A new Indiana law will provide those adoptees access to their family medical records and history while still providing flexibility to future birth parents on how to handle the release of sensitive identifying information. The law will go into effect July 1, 2018 to provide enough time to inform all Hoosiers involved in the adoption process about the changes. This will give an estimated 350,000 Hoosier adoptees closure, vital access to medical records, and alleviate administrative headaches that came from having an amended birth certificate.
During November, there are events across the state to help communities better understand the adoption process. On Friday, Nov. 18, there is an event at the Spencer County Courthouse to celebrate National Adoption Month. It is open to adoptive families and to families who are interested in learning more about the process. If you have considered adoption before or are simply interested, I invite you to come out and take part that day.
Indiana will continue to be a strong supporter of adoptive families and all those who want to open up their homes and grow their family. Every child deserves loving parents and a home to call their own.
To find more information about adoption in Indiana, please visit www.in.gov/dcs and click on “Adoption.” From there, perspective parents can view a picture book of children waiting to be adopted and learn more about the next steps.
Please contact me with any questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.