What we think: Senator Tapp's bill is not a good idea

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By The Staff

State Senator Gary Tapp is coming under a lot of fire these days from columnists, letter writers and even editorial cartoonists around the state for his proposed Senate Bill 68, which would place tight restrictions on the types of individuals who could adopt children or become foster parents. We agree with those who oppose this bill.

A law that limits by arbitrary definition the pool of individuals willing to step forward and volunteer to help the save the life of an innocent child is not well-conceived or even necessary.

Adoptive and foster parents often are embraced as angels of mercy for children in great need. They volunteer and often at great personal expense devote their lives to an effort to salvage the life of someone who has no control of his or her fate. They offer warmth, clothing, food and, above all, love to someone.

And any person who is willing to withstand and able to pass the rigorous scrutiny required to accomplish that  mission deserves that right to try. It should not matter if he or she is single, married or living with someone beloved of either gender.

To do otherwise is unfair to the children who have such great need. Mr. Tapp’s bill is far too restrictive to do the most good.

If he wants to affect change, how about simply setting policy to ensure that investigations, record-keeping and other steps in adoption and foster-care approval processes are devoid of error and are airtight on behalf of the innocent? There can be mistakes, and the loopholes that allow them are what have our focus.

To be sure, we understand and embrace the Biblical tenets cited as the foundation for this proposed change, but we also believe that those tenets are honored by character as much as definition.

Natural parents can be good and bad, but chances are far greater that a couple that legally adopts or fosters a child will be more devoted to that process than even those biologically assigned it.

If Senate Bill 68 had even a small chance of being considered during this finance-guided legislative session, we would present these arguments with greater fervor and perhaps even outrage.

But likely this will remain an idea for another day, a debate to smolder until the kindling once more is lit by a called vote.

And though we value Mr. Tapp’s commitment to his office and his constituency, we suggest that this is one argument that does not benefit the children who are our future.