Senator Amy Klobuchar

Working for the People of Minnesota

Press Contact

Joel Gross
Press Secretary
(202) 224-3244

News Releases

Klobuchar's Bipartisan Adoption Bill Signed into Law

December 1, 2010

Legislation will allow siblings up to the age of 18 to remain together in international adoptions

Minnesota has highest per-capita rate of international adoptions 

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today that her legislation, the International Adoption Simplification Act, has been signed into law by the President. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Klobuchar and cosponsored by Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), will allow U.S. parents to adopt children who are siblings and help protect children’s health during the adoption process.  The bill would restore two exemptions to U.S. immigration law for internationally adopted children that were eliminated when the United States began implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.
“Parents from Minnesota and across the nation don’t have to worry anymore about splitting up families when adopting internationally,” Klobuchar said.  “They also don’t have to risk exposing their adoptive children to unsafe immunizations in foreign countries.  A child’s health and family stability are critical to ensuring successful adoptions, and this new law will allow families to keep their adopted children together, healthy, and safe.” 

The Klobuchar bill allows U.S. parents to adopt children who are siblings, even if one of those children is between the ages of 16 and 18. Under current law, children aged 16 and above are ineligible for international adoption, but this bill would allow families like Tim and Renee Merkouris from Cambridge, Minnesota, to proceed with their adoption of a family of nine orphaned children from the Philippines.  With the passage of this bill, the Merkouris family can finally complete the adoption process.

The bill also allows U.S. parents adopting foreign-born children to safely immunize their children in the United States within 30 days of their arrivals, rather than have to subject their children to potentially unsafe immunizations in foreign nations. Previously, parents who adopted internationally were frequently required to immunize their children before bringing them to the United States.

Klobuchar has been a leader on international adoption issues in the Senate. She was actively involved in helping Minnesota families with pending adoptions in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that struck the island on January 12, 2010.  She has also introduced the Supporting Adoptive Families Act, legislation aimed at strengthening support services for adoptive children and parents. 

Minnesota has a strong tradition of welcoming orphans from around the world, and it leads the nation with the highest per-capita rate of international adoptions. 

Senate sponsors of the International Adoption Simplification Act included Richard Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Lugar (R-IN), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Similar legislation was introduced in the House by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).  

Senator Klobuchar’s Offices

302 Hart Senate Office Building
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Main Line: 202-224-3244
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