On Friday, Governor Kasich signed Ohio Right to Life’s adoption reform legislation, S.B. 250, following historic bipartisan majority votes from the Senate, 29-1, and the House of Representatives, 81-4. This adoption reform will eliminate unnecessary costs, protect birth parents and adoptive families, prevent fraud and minimize the bureaucracy in the Ohio adoption process.
The following is a statement from Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life:
Mike and Amy Gonidakis with their children, Olivia and Isaac
For the last year, Ohio Right to Life has focused our advocacy on rehabilitating our state’s adoption process, a process which is oftentimes so financially, emotionally, and temporally costly that it halts would-be parents from ever considering adoption. In every sense, this legislation is about families. Ohio Right to Life is grateful to the leaders who have worked with us to make this bill a reality in 2014–to all representatives and senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, who stood behind these important, life-changing reforms, thereby ensuring a more affordable and accessible adoption process for both adoptive and birth parents. We are grateful for a General Assembly and Governor who put families first.
For too long, the choice to give new life and a new home to a child in Ohio has been slow and expensive, fraught with both red tape and fraud. In truth, adopting my son in Cleveland was much more difficult than adopting my daughter in Guatemala.
At present, middle-class and low-income Ohio families are essentially unable to adopt due to the accumulation of expenses during the adoption process. The adoption reform legislation targets these expenses by increasing the current $1,500 tax credit up to $10,000.
Thanks to an increased tax credit and a shortened adoption decree challenge period, Ohioans will now partake in a more simplified, affordable process that remains compassionate and supportive to birth parents.
These reforms were made possible by those who believed that Ohioans–adoptive families, birth parents, and most importantly, children–deserved something better than the status quo.
There is a saying that goes, “Adoption means you grew in her heart instead of her tummy.” With an accelerated and safeguarded adoption process, Ohio families will hopefully find that their adopted children have grown in their hearts much more seamlessly and without the unnecessary burdens and heartbreak of our current system.
Ohio Right to Life thanks the bill sponsors in both the House and Senate, as well as Chairman Coley and Senator Obhof for their leadership in passing this bill.