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Senate Proceeding on Jul 16th, 2009 :: 0:41:45 to 0:54:45
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Mary Landrieu

0:41:42 to 0:42:02( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: quorum call: ms. the presiding officer: the senator from ms. landrieu: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading of the roll. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. landrieu: thank you, madam president. i come to the floor to speak as if in morning business for the purpose of introducing a bill called "families for orphans act," that senator inhofe and i

Mary Landrieu

0:41:45 to 0:54:45( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Mary Landrieu

Mary Landrieu

0:42:03 to 0:42:23( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: are sponsoring together and to comment about a bill that i've already introduced, the foreign adopted children's equity act. i understand we have up to 10 minutes? the presiding officer: that is correct. ms. landrieu: thank you, madam president. we are very fortunate, indeed to have a secretary of s

Mary Landrieu

0:42:24 to 0:42:46( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: is quite knowledgeable about this subject. and the office that we seek to create would be housed within the department of state under the watchful eye of secretary hillary cnton, who did so much work on this subject when she was a member of the senate and even prior to her service in the

Mary Landrieu

0:42:47 to 0:43:08( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: senate as first lady of arkansas and the united states. so i am particularly happy that we would be recommending what is a very appropriate i think establishment of an office within the office of the secretary of state. this bill has been discussed for several years here.

Mary Landrieu

0:43:09 to 0:43:29( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: we've had several opportunities for debate on the floor, but great coalition has come together representing advocates of orphans around the world to really come together in a unified way to make argument that this kind of office should indeed be

Mary Landrieu

0:43:30 to 0:43:51( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: established, and there are some very compelling reasons why this should be, madam president. first of all, right now in our system there is no coordination in the office of the secretary of state or the department of state for policies related to orphans. and this is an alarming

Mary Landrieu

0:43:52 to 0:44:13( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: situation because the number of orphans are growing exponentially in the world due to an increase in conflicts in many parts of the world. we have had some severe droughts and natural disasters that are causing families to be separated, children from adults.

Mary Landrieu

0:44:14 to 0:44:35( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: the aids epidemic is -- some people have referred to it as a factory that creates, produces orphans and you can understand the nature of that disease. so the actions that we take relative to trying to get a coordinated policy is very, very important. and that's what this bill seeks to do.

Mary Landrieu

0:44:36 to 0:44:58( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: it's, i think, understood among all members of this body -- i don't even hear one dissenting voice -- that the appropriate place for children to grow up is in a family, and we think that there are over 130 millio orphans in the world who have been deprived, for whatever

Mary Landrieu

0:44:59 to 0:45:22( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: reason -- death or war or or disease -- of their right to belong to a famy. and it's our obligation, as the leaders of the world, to try to find the best possible substitute family for these children. children don't do a very good job of raising themselves.

Mary Landrieu

0:45:23 to 0:45:43( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: that is an impossibility. ourocuses are on their survival and getting medical care, health care, food and nutrition. i don't think we are doing enough as our government reuniting children with whatever extended family, first, might be possible for them to be raised. and then looking out somewhere

Mary Landrieu

0:45:44 to 0:46:05( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: beyond the extended family opportunity to domestic families that would take that child and their siblings. we most certainly have not made the kind of effort that i think is appropriate and is a ready source of loving aways and families in terms of the international community that would like to step up and adopt

Mary Landrieu

0:46:06 to 0:46:26( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: many children who are unable to find families in their own countries. that, madam president, is basically what this office would do. it would coordinate efforts by the aid and development community that, as i said, are focused on nutrition, housing, education and medical care.

Mary Landrieu

0:46:27 to 0:46:47( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: and would refocus efforts on that mus reunification of families and adoption opportunities. first, as i said, the u.s. programs are secondly, the u.s. right now in our opinion does not engage in enough proactive diplomacy on this issue. third, the united states should be able to advi and support

Mary Landrieu

0:46:48 to 0:47:09( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: other countries in the development of their welfare systems. we know, madam president, we have made so many mistakes in the united states. we hate to see countries making similar mistakes and some of those mistakes would be terminating parental rights, not aggressively enough seeking placement within extended

Mary Landrieu

0:47:10 to 0:47:31( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: families, separating siblings in placement and then the worst of all, if those things aren't bad enough, the worst of leaving children who have had their parental rights terminated basically stuck in limbo for 10, 12, 14, and extreme cases, 18 years in foster care where they

Mary Landrieu

0:47:32 to 0:47:52( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: never have a permanent parent or permanent family to own. i would remind my colleagues because i continue to remind myself that a child is never too old we adopting infants or toddlers or school-age children but i would suggest to this body and to

Mary Landrieu

0:47:53 to 0:48:14( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: those listening that you are never too old to need a father or a at the age of 54 i continue to talk to my parents regularly. they continue to give me advice and counsel. i've been blessed to have grandparents well into my adult life. and the thought of a child

Mary Landrieu

0:48:15 to 0:48:35( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: growing up at any age -- 18, 20, 5, 12 -- without any permanent attachment to a family is tragic and the fact of the matter is there are methods and resources we can bring to bear to change that outcome f the millions of orphans in the world in our own country and around the world.

Mary Landrieu

0:48:36 to 0:48:58( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: the primary functions will be to act as a primary advisor to the secretary of state and to the president to provide diplomatic representation, to develop an ev global strategy, to support foreign governments through sound policy and technical assistance, to develop best practices with cultural

Mary Landrieu

0:48:59 to 0:49:20( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: sensitivity, and to in-country family and permanency as primary solutions using domestic adoption and international adoption as basically the last possibles. the most important, one of the most importanthings in the bill is to conduct census

Mary Landrieu

0:49:21 to 0:49:41( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: because we really don't know how many orphans there are in the world and in what countries. trillion weet a handle on t numbers it's very hard to find appropriate solutions and to mobilize the world community to act. i contends that there are millions and millions and

Mary Landrieu

0:49:42 to 0:50:02( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: millions of families who are able and willing and ready to take in orphans to build their family through adoption, to add to the blessing of childre-- buy logical children that have come to their families through adoption; i have had personal

Mary Landrieu

0:50:03 to 0:50:23( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: response myself with that issue. i'm excited about the possibility of coordinating this effort and, again, could think of no better person than secretary hillary clinton to provide the leadership to establish this office as the congress seeks to funds it and provide the resources to make it work.

Mary Landrieu

0:50:24 to 0:50:45( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: work. so madam president, that is a description of the family for orphans action, a bipartisan bill. we are gting extremely exciting feedback from our colleagues. in the house, representative watson from california and representative boosman from arkansas has introduced a

Mary Landrieu

0:50:46 to 0:51:07( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: similar bill so we are very encouraged by the house on this subject and look forward to a quick hearing and quick passage. if i could ask for an additional minute. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. landrieu: i would like to

Mary Landrieu

0:51:08 to 0:51:28( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: talk about the foreign adoion children's equity act making a small but important change in the way orphans are identified or classified when they are adopted overseas so they can become automatic citizens. i was very proud to work with senator kennedy on this issue,

Mary Landrieu

0:51:29 to 0:51:49( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: with senator nichols from oklahoma when he served in the body the we worked hard to find a way when families go overseas to adopt, final we believe the act of adoption itself makes that child

Mary Landrieu

0:51:50 to 0:52:10( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: an automatic -- puts that child at automatic custody of that parent, that parent being an american citizen, should sort of automatically be able to transfer that citizenship to that adopted child. just like if you are born in the united states to an citizen or you are born in the united states you are an automatic american citizen and

Mary Landrieu

0:52:11 to 0:52:31( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: most certainly if you are born overseas, citizens you are an automatic citizen of the united states. you don't need any extra paperwork done on your behalf. because we believe the act of adoption should be treated the same way as the act of birth we believe this right should be

Mary Landrieu

0:52:32 to 0:52:56( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: transferre to orphan children adopted overseas. right now there's a little bit of not allowing this. this act would correct that. i'll finally end with most wonderf time in the senate was this

Mary Landrieu

0:52:58 to 0:53:20( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: boston with senator kennedy and with in citizens of the united states thousands been waiting to become citizens having been adopted by american families. and that was really moment of mine and something

Mary Landrieu

0:53:21 to 0:53:42( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: but this bill will take that to a new level when families travel overseas to adopt as my sister and many relatives and friends of member of congress took the opportunity to do, at the time the adoption is official in that country the automatic citizen of the united states.

Mary Landrieu

0:53:43 to 0:54:04( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: that is a great benefit and as i grow older in my life i realize what an extraordinary it is to be a citizen of the united states of america. so as our families adopt that citizenship will be automatically transferred to their adopted children. i thank

Mary Landrieu

0:54:05 to 0:54:25( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: again, it's the foreign adopted childr speaking about and introducing for consideration of the body, the family for orphans act which i would like to send to the desk and ask to be directed to the appropriate committee. thank you, madam president. i suggest the absence of a quorum.

Mary Landrieu

0:54:26 to 0:54:34( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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