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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I bring to the attention of the body a bill called the Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2012. I introduced this bill on behalf of myself and Senator Inhofe, with whom I have worked with so closely on many issues involving adoption and the protection of children who are outside of family care, both here in the United States and abroad. I thank Senator Inhofe, the senior Senator from Oklahoma, for being an original cosponsor of this legislation. I also thank Congresswoman Laura Richardson for introducing a companion piece of this legislation in the House today.

We just celebrated Father's Day this past weekend. I know my father and my husband and men all over the country celebrated with their children and their families. We honor the extraordinary fathers in the world.

Parenthood is the ultimate gift. It is also an incredible responsibility. Many of us have benefited from really wonderful fathers who care for and support families and support children through their young years, their adult years, and even into their older years. When fathers are absent, when they abandon their responsibility to their children, they can make the mothers of their children and their children more vulnerable. Sometimes women will make a decision to place a child for adoption if they are unmarried, unwilling, unable--just at a vulnerable time in their life and not able to raise a child. Adoption can be a very positive option. There are some Members of our Congress who have adopted children and have adopted grandchildren, so we know the blessings of adoption.

This bill will help to facilitate and clear up some legal quagmires that occur until many States clear the way for women of any age to make a decision for adoption. There are many of us, across party lines, who have supported more domestic infant adoption, more domestic adoptions for children of all ages, and particularly adoption of special-needs children.

This bill really affects infant adoption. It sets up a voluntary registry that tracks what 38 States have already done. Any person, any male who has the intention of supporting and raising a child can register on this registry, and their will and wishes will be taken into consideration. But in the situation that often happens where this man is not interested in being the kind of responsible father he should be, then this registry helps to expedite, without a lot of legal quagmire but with protection to both the father and the mother, to expedite adoption.

It has gone through a vetting process with any number of outside organizations. I thank the American Bar Association. I want to particularly thank the Association of Adoption Attorneys, which helped to draft this important piece of legislation.

I wanted to come to the floor to introduce it. We will, of course, bring it up when the leadership allows us that opportunity. It may have to go through a committee process. We may be able to clear it with the support of both Republicans and Democrats, as is shown by the support of Senator Inhofe and myself. Hopefully we can get it done in a short period of time and provide a clear path to promote adoption in the United States.

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