LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA) — A local lawmaker filed a bill to reform the way adoptions are done in Arkansas.
Rep. Clint Penzo, R-Springdale, filed HB 1488, which addresses transparency in the adoption process and criminalizes conduct in adoptions that could be seen as unethical and abusive.
Attorney Josh Bryant has been working directly with Penzo on the bill, and says through current loopholes, birth mothers can receive thousands of dollars and other benefits in exchange for their newborn.
This is especially present within the Marshallese community in Northwest Arkansas.
“We’re in a situation where the law doesn’t describe this conduct as human trafficking. There’s nothing in the law that says you can’t do some of thse things we are seeing that unethical,” Bryant said.
HB 1488 would increase requirements on private attorneys who arrange adoptions, but it would not affect interfamily adoptions.
Legislators are currently moving it through the legislative process, while ensuring that it protects both adoptive and biological parents.