Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Lutheran Family & Children's Services in St. Louis to discuss his veto of Senate Bill 267, citing concerns that the legislation would have limited Missouri families' ability to adopt children from foreign nations.
"This legislation seeks to solve a problem that does not exist, while creating the very real problem of jeopardizing Missouri's families' ability to adopt children from foreign countries," Gov. Nixon said. "Here in Missouri, we believe in strengthening families and encouraging adoption. By placing additional barriers between couples who want to adopt and children who need loving homes, Senate Bill 267 is quite simply out of step with these basic values."
"This legislation raises serious questions as to whether a Missouri court could consider the foreign decree or order that is necessary to finalize the adoption of a child from a foreign country," the Governor's veto letter states. "This obstacle would complicate an already challenging process facing a Missouri couple seeking to adopt a child from another country whose legal system is deemed 'inconsistent' with ours."
"By banning judicial consideration of any body of law from outside of the United States, SB 267 could jeopardize the intercountry adoption process in Missouri," said Rev. Alan Erdman of Lutheran Family & Children's Services. "Senate Bill 267 would spell disaster for children and families, in addition to increasing the costs and processes that govern these adoptions. We applaud Governor Nixon for vetoing this bill for the benefit of Missouri families and will work with our elected representatives to ensure it is sustained."
According to the U.S. Department of State's Office of Children's Issues, from 1999 through 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, Missouri families have adopted 5,852 children born outside the United States.
The U.S. Department of State's Office of Children's Issues serves as the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, which is an international treaty among over 75 nations around the world, including the United States.