International adoption is painted as this wonderful act of kindness that gives homes to kids in need. International adoptees are brought into the US with so much promised to them. Their adoptive parents, who pay tens of thousands of dollars, bring them into their homes, welcoming them with open arms, and openly declaring that they will raise the adoptees as children of their own. Lovely, right? Well, unfortunately, "lovely" is not always the case. You see, some of these adoptees are at risk of being deported back to their countries of origin. That's right. Deported. In fact, many adoptees already have: poundpuplegacy.org/deportation_cases.
So, who's at fault for what can only be called an injustice? (Imagine having to fend for yourself in your "home country" with no resources, let alone language skills.)
First of all, adoptive parents. Some adoptive parents somehow forget to finalize the adoption paperwork. That's right. They forget to do something so important for these adoptees whom they love.
Second, McClane Layton of Equality For Adopted Children (EACH). This proud adoptive parent is the architect of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA). Because of the CCA, all international adoptees who have arrived into our country since the year 2000 have been granted automatic citizenship. But (of course there is a but), what about the adoptees who came before the year 2000? Well, McLane had to make some "compromises." So, as as result of these "compromises," any adoptee who was adopted to the US before 2000 whose parents forgot to finalize their paperwork can be deported at any moment if they violate a law, such as voting. (You can't vote if you're not a citizen!) Plus, on top of all that, the CCA has yet another loophole. Depending on what type of Visa an adoptee comes in on, not all international adoptees are full US citizens unless their adoptive parents do some last minute paperwork.
Third, Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. The Senator is a long time champion of adoption. As such, she made a big to-do about including an amendment to the 2013 US Senate immigration bill that would solve the adoptee citizenship issue once and for all. (As a side note, while introducing it, she failed to mention that the bill was written with a lot of help of three Korean adoptees and an adoptive parent with children from Korea.) Well received by her Senate colleagues, the Senator's amendment passed with no dissent. But (there is that but again), the immigration bill and the adoptee citizenship amendment of course are currently not going anywhere. With that said, if the adoptee citizenship issue is so important to the Senator, a reasonable person would think that the Senator would simply introduce and attempt to pass the legislation as as standalone, right? It has all of the votes she needs in the Senate. It will most likely have similar support in the House. Not so much. The Senator and her office ignored in the fall and continue to ignore to this day the suggestion made by the adoptees who worked on the amendment to move on it as a standalone. They have ignored the suggestion, even though an office within the Department of State has said that it would support the action.
Why all of the ignoring? Let's just say that there has been a message from the Senator's office, as well as McLane Layton (you know, the person who mess things up the first time), that in order for the adoptee citizenship legislation to move anywhere, adoptees first need to support the Senator's most recent adoption legislation - Children In Families First (CHIFF), which has been dubbed the "Adoption Agency Bailout." The adoptees who worked on the adoptee citizenship legislation, of course, do not support CHIFF. And despite what the Senator and CHIFF supporters like to say, international adoptees as a whole do not like CHIFF, don't know about it, or frankly could care less about it.
In short, Senator Mary Landrieu and her crew are holding the adoptee citizenship conversation hostage, and this act itself is an injustice. The Senator's actions are an injustice to the adoptee community, which is a thriving group that contributes to so much. They are an injustice to families and loved ones of adoptees who, through no fault of their own, are essentially stateless. And they are an injustice to the democratic principles the Senator says she upholds.