What comes next?
We moved from having a draft bill to now the official " Project of Law # 70".
On Wednesday, the National's Assembly Committee of Family and Children's matters accepted to review this Project of Law. At this point starts a period of National consultation. The Committee of Family and Children's matters request people/ groups/ entities/ NGO's / & authorities related in any way with adoptions to present their opinion/ critics/ suggestions or support to this Project of Law. During that time each article can be changed or modified.
Then is the first debate. On the first debate only the legislators from the Committee of Family and Children's vote. During this debate articles can be changed or modified.
If the law goes favorably to the second debate, then all of the legislators have to vote. At this point is the last opportunity for modifications.
Third debate does not allow for modifications and it is only for all the legislators to confirm the vote for the project.
If the votes are all in favor also on the third debate, they pass it on to the President for his signature and we will have a new adoption law!!
The only concern at this point is time!! Some projects like the " child support" new Panamanian law took 2 years in this process to become law! Because there was a lot of controversy and disagreement during the first two debates.
We don't have that time because the current government administration is ending next year!! We have elections on May 2014, and all the Staff, Directors, Authorities will be gone and replaced! And we don't know if the next ones are going to have a special interest in adoption matters to move this project, like is currently the case!!
So pray that this process is all done this year, so that the law passes in 2013!.
On Wednesday we sort of started hearing some of the issues that concern the Head of the Committee: like also promoting responsible parenting, and supporting more pregnant teenagers so they are able to raise that child. (Side issues that are distracting from point of the law change!!)
The Magistrate of the Superior Tribunal of Children and Adolescents talked later on about " trying to have more national adoptions so that children don't have to be adopted internationally and then lose their cultural identity". (David Tracy, the Director of YWAM, gave a very moving rebuttal to her argument that was trying to dissuade adoptions out of Panama to other countries. Praising the Lord he was there to comment after such a ridiculous speech!)
So I guess in the upcoming weeks the Committee should be receiving opinions. For example, Sor Lourdes from Malambo sent a report to the National Assembly with her opinions about the Project of Law already, and Im sure other NGOs will do the same.
Thank you again for joining us in praying for the Panamanian adoption law change. This will greatly and directly impact the lives of so many waiting children.
Misty and Matt Hedspeth