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Fingerprinting Law Delays Nebraska Adoptions

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  • Fingerprinting Law Delays Nebraska Adoptions

    Fingerprinting Law Delays Nebraska Adoptions
    Families Must Be Fingerprinted Twice For International Adoptions

    POSTED: 4:38 pm CDT September 21, 2004
    UPDATED: 4:57 pm CDT September 21, 2004

    OMAHA, Neb. -- A new Nebraska law designed to protect newly adopted children
    may be creating unnecessary delays for people trying to adopt children from

    Adoptive parents must now be fingerprinted as part of Gov. Mike Johanns' push
    to keep adopted children and foster children from falling into the hands of
    known criminals.

    Fingerprinting has always been required for international adoptions, but the
    new law, which went into effect in July, requires the state to fingerprint
    prospective parents for criminal history checks in all adoptions, both domestic
    and international. That means parents in international adoptions must now be
    fingerprinted twice.

    "I think it's redundant," said Cathy Kroeze, of Holt Adoption agency, Omaha's
    largest business for international adoptions. "I don't think it's solving any
    problems or getting any information that we don't already have."

    Kroeze said she applauds the state's new initiative to protect children, but
    she said the new requirement is creating huge backlogs.

    "It's a hurry up and wait game, and you get used to jumping through hoops," she

    Virginia McGill and her husband just got back from Guatemala, where they picked
    up their 9-month-old son, Jack. He's home, but his adoption still isn't final.
    The McGills are waiting on one last set of fingerprints.

    "Adoption is very stressful," said McGill. "It's a roller coaster. And that was
    one more hurdle we didn't even know existed."

    The McGills feel lucky to have their son home. Many other children are stuck in
    orphanages overseas waiting for their adoptive parents to jump through one last

    "I have families just sitting, sitting with their home studies done, waiting to
    get those done," Kroeze said.

    Kroeze said her agency currently has at least 100 families delayed the by the
    fingerprinting law.

    Bill sponsor Sen. Jim Jensen and the Department of Health and Human Services,
    which oversees adoptions, both said they were not aware of the delays the new
    fingerprinting requirement is causing. Neither was prepared to comment on
    whether it's a problem that needs to be addressed.

    A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
    be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
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