MAKE ADOPTION BY FAMILY MEMBERS EASIER

By Bob Katzen

The House approved its own version of a Senate-approved bill that would repeal a current law which prohibits adoption of children by family members including older siblings, aunts and uncles. The proposal would allow these family members, with the permission of the county probate courts, to legally adopt their family members.

Current law only allows these family members to apply to become a guardian. The Senate has approved a different version of the legislation and the House version now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“This simple change today would make a concrete difference tomorrow in the lives of so many in our commonwealth,” said House sponsor Rep. Jack Lewis (D-Framingham). “Let’s imagine for a moment that I’m 30, and my biological mom had me when she was in high school. Thirty years later, I’ve secured stable housing, a stable job and I have met all the requirements to adopt a child here in the commonwealth. Let’s say I then learn that my younger sibling, let’s say they are ten, can no longer live with our biological mother … but because of this one line in Massachusetts law, I’m unable to provide my younger sibling the stability that comes with adoption. Yes, guardianship will be floated as a possibility, but … there is nothing as stabilizing to a young person than experiencing permanency, in this case through adoption.”

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