State Senator Steve Russell has won support in the Senate for a bill to create more uniformity in adoptions and ensure full disclosure of fees. Senate Bill 1029, by Sen. Steve Russell, was approved unanimously Thursday. Russell, R-Oklahoma City, is an adoptive parent, and said the measure could actually result in lower costs for private adoptions.
Russell noted that a grand jury investigation had exposed instances of financial exploitation of Oklahomans who were seeking private adoptions.
“While specific medical and attorney fees are legal and appropriate, a 2006 Grand Jury stated that it was ‘appalled at the nature and types of items allowed to be purchased on behalf of a birth mother’ which included ‘cars, television sets, and vacations,’” Russell said. “Prospective parents could be vulnerable in the language of our current law without a requirement for an itemized accounting of all fees. My bill would change that.”
SB 1029 would also ensure parents have a full disclosure of all state laws dealing with adoption as well as regulations impacting the adoption of children of Native American ancestry.
“Requiring a complete accounting of what every fee is for means there will be far less opportunity to extract money from adoptive parents for inappropriate items. They also will have a far better understanding of exactly what the law requires when it comes to either private or public adoption.”
Russell’s legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.