STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
By Mr. NICKLES (for himself, Ms. LANDRIEU, Mr. CRAIG, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mr. INHOFE, and Mr. SMITH):
S. 1934. A bill to establish an Office of Intercountry Adoptions within the Department of State, and to reform United States laws governing intercountry adoptions; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
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Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I rise today, National Adoption Day, to join my colleagues in introducing this bill to give children everyhwere around the world a greater chance to find a loving, permanent home.
This bill, the Intercountry Adoption Reform Act (ICARE), will automatically make a child who is adopted from another country a citizen the minute the adoption is finalized.
This legislation has a personal impact for me. My granddaughter was adopted from Ethiopia a few years ago. Even though she is a vital part of our family, she was not a citizen when she arrived. We now have to do work to make the law recognize her in the same light we do-as a legal member of our family and a lawful citizen of this country-entitled to the same rights and privileges as all my other biological grandchildren.
ICARE will ensure that foreign-born children, such as my granddaughter, will be treated the same as biological children born abroad to the same parent who is an American citizen. It will help streamline international adoptions and implement best practices for all adoptions.
Situations such as one that happened in my State of Oklahoma would not have happened under this legislation. Anna Lynn Fincher was born in the Philippines and adopted by a U.S. military couple in the Philippines. Even though they adopted Anna Lynn in the Philippines, they never brought her to the United States. Sadly, both of Anna Lynn's American parents died while in the Philippines-before Anna Lynn was able to set foot on American soil and become a U.S. citizen. As a result, she had to be granted Humanitarian Parole, which is granted to people in extreme circumstances, so that she could come to the United States and be adopted by her adoptive sister.
Under ICARE, Anna Lynn would have become a citizen as soon as her adoption was finalized-eliminating the need for Humanitarian Parole and another adoption.
Providing children, such as my granddaughter and Anna Lynn, with a permanent, stable family is the most precious gift we can give a child. I am proud to lend my support to this important legislation that will help give these young people a home.