Public Comments for 02/16/2021 Health, Welfare and Institutions - Social Services Subcommittee
SB1321 - Confirmatory adoption; expands the stepparent adoption provisions.
On behalf of the Virginia adoption community - passing this bill is greatly needed. As an adoption practitioner 32+ years, past- president, long-time Fellow and Board of Trustee of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys & co-author of the VA CLE Adoption Book - we need this law passed to support the legal stability of children in VA. There are so many situations I encounter on a monthly and even weekly basis - a mom co-parenting with an opioid addicted daughter and a deceased biological father, two foster parents not married and not in a romantic relationship co-parenting a child in need of a forever home with both of those parents, a former ex-boyfriend who helped co-parent for ten or more years with the ex-girlfriend still wanting him to be a recognized parent and a deceased biological father. There are so many more examples where kids just need both de facto - that is, in fact, parents made their legal parents but cannot do so under current VA law that requires they be a married couple. That is not the current reality for many children today. We need to bring Va law in line with the current reality of today’s kids and how they are being co-parented in many non-traditional ways - especially with the opioid crisis. This law is very much needed to protect today’s children. Those of us in the trenches can see this most clearly. Thank you.
When two loving parents raise a child they take on a moral and legal responsibility, but unfortunately our current legal system doesn't recognize a second parent and grant them the legal rights they deserve after accepting responsibility of raising the child because they are not of a different sex/gender than the legal parent. This needs to cease for the child's protection and for our community. We need not only to accept everyone to respect them for the roles they fill and give them the legal support they may need! Dani Butler 5800 Up A Way Drive Fredericksburg, VA 22407
I am writing in support of SB1321, in favor of allowing confirmatory adoption in Virginia. I am not personally impacted by this bill, but many in my community are. Children need the security that legally recognized parents can provide, and their lives are made more difficult when barriers exist that keep their parents from advocating on their behalf. I know this all too well, because I know what these barriers have meant for my own children at a different time and place. My young children had very good relations with both me and my spouse prior to, during, and after our divorce. However, a new magistrate who claimed she was "ordained by God to save the children" separated me from my children for the stated reason that I had advocated for marriage equality. She did this by declaring that she would not respect or enforce our shared parenting agreement and threatening to hold me in contempt if I complained, resulting in my ex refusing joint custody/visitation thereafter. I did not see my children again until they were adults. Even though I was a legal parent with full parental rights, these rights were not observed or respected in matters of education, healthcare, mental health, or faith. Eventually I was locked out of all communication and could obtain no further information about my children. I have since reconnected with both of my children as adults. Both suffered extreme psychological abuse, mental anguish and emotional harm because of our loss of contact. I was unavailable to protect them. Precious educational opportunities were also squandered (a full scholarship to a prestigious private school, admission privileges to my prestigious undergraduate university and financial aid at universities where I taught) because of my being blocked from advocating for them. They even suffered needless financial losses because of my inability to manage their educational accounts at particularly critical times. Children need security, and they need their parents, whether they are straight, gay, purple, or polka-dotted. Please give Virginia families the tools they need to ensure continuity of parenting so that that their children do not suffer as mine did. Please support SB1321.
This Bill is about equal rights!!! Different-sex couples are not forced to marry for both parents to have legal rights and responsibilities over their children, and same-sex couples shouldn’t be either. This bill simply extends the legal rights and responsibilities of parenthood to unmarried same-sex couples as well. Thank you for your work and dedication to represent all people in equality.
SB1328 - State-Funded Kinship Guardianship Assistance program; created.
Only speak if needed. Legislative staff to the Commission on Youth.
Voices for Virginia’s children strongly supports this bill.