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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let My People Adopt

posted by on September 25 at 11:39 AM

Chicago Tribune:

[Findings] by a nonpartisan adoption group being released Thursday conclude that gays and lesbians are an important resource for children awaiting adoption. There is near “universal professional consensus” that these applicants should be judged on their qualifications, not sexual orientation.

“The pool of potential adoptive parents must be expanded to keep pace with the growing number of kids in foster care who are legally free for adoption,” stated the report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, which is based in New York.

Currently, about 129,000 U.S. children are in foster care, many of whom are older, have special needs and face grim prospects for finding a loving, permanent home.

Children like the ones being abandoned at hospitals in Nebraska. That state recently passed a “safe haven law” that allows parents to abandon children they can’t care for at hospitals without fear of prosecution. Safe haven laws were designed to save the lives of infants and newborns; instead of stuffing your newborn in a trash at prom, you can drop it off at a hospital, no questions asked. But Nebraska’s law, unlike similar laws in other states, has no age limit. Nebraska’s safe-haven law went into effect in July and so far 11 children between the ages of 1 and 17 have been left at hospitals.

Back to the Chicago Tribune story…

Besides the emotional hardships, a national ban on gay adoptions could add $87 million to $130 million to foster care system expenditures each year, the report said, citing previous research. Not only would children who are removed from gay and lesbian homes be placed in group or institutional care, which is more costly, the state would incur the costs of recruiting and training new foster parents, researchers found.

Utah currently only allows married heterosexuals to adopt. And people who hate children succeeded in putting a ban on adoptions by single gay people or same-sex couples on the ballot in Arkansas. It’s expected to pass by a wide margin. The state of Florida, which has fought hard to retain its ban on adoptions by same-sex couples, saw its first adoption by a gay couple last week, when a judge ruled that the state’s ban on adoptions by gay couples was unconstitutional. From the Miami Herald (via Towleroad)…

“The two men have fostered more than 30 children since DCF accepted their application nine years ago, from a 2-day-old newborn to a 17-year-old. Still, there was something missing. The little boy who had come to their home in 2001 wanted a real father, Smith said. Not a foster dad…. At the doctor’s office, at the grocery store, at an airline ticket counter, the boy seemed to visibly deflate every time a stranger asked Smith, ‘Is that your son?’ Smith said…. The 12-year-old boy’s teacher testified the couple were among the most involved and nurturing parents in her class. ‘I must confess,’ she told a judge, ‘the first year I had him, knowing he was of gay parents, I looked for things, and I found nothing.’”

Here’s a video interview with the Smith and his partner. It’s heartbreaking. And note that the state of Florida placed thirty three foster children in Smith’s home—thirty three children—and then the state of Florida went to court and argued that these men were unfit to adopt the children the state placed in their home.

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My partner and I adopted our newborn daughter on July 28, 2008, here in Chicago. We are grateful that the state courts in Chicago, IL have interpretted the state's law to allow gay adoption here. The children-hating, big-government-loving conservatives who oppose gay adoption need to re-examine their values. If being raised by the state is more beneficial for foster children, why not have the state raise EVERYONE's children? I'm sure we can count on Uncle Sam to foot the bill. But if all children are being raised by the state, there could be no home schooling by those same conservative fucktards. A whole new generation of fucktards could disappear altogether. I have to stop writing now. I'm starting to like this idea...


Posted by DBL | September 25, 2008 11:59 AM

I saw a piece on those guys in Florida on one of those Dateline or 20/20 shows a couple years ago. Totally heartbreaking at the time, but it's great to see that they were able to officially adopt their son.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | September 25, 2008 12:02 PM

From that Nevada article about the eleven older kids being abandoned: "Nine of the children came from one family. The five boys and four girls were left by their father, who was not identified." The hell?

Posted by Sarah | September 25, 2008 12:10 PM

The welfare of the children is of no concern to conservatives. They only care about their gay hating agenda. Fools, Morons and brainwashed Jesus freaks don't care what caring professionals say about anything. They must be defeated this fall!

Posted by Vince | September 25, 2008 12:26 PM

See, if Florida let those gays adopt, that would take away the specialness of straights adopting. A married straight couple would feel demoralized about being apart of a system that doesn't give them special rights, and they probably wouldn't try to adopt any more kids. Cause straight couples only adopt knowing they're a part of a protected class, and that gays are just placeholders for these children until a real couple can come along and rescue the poor babes.

Posted by Enigma | September 25, 2008 12:53 PM

Heartbreaking that such a struggle was involved.

But awesome that the dads were willing (and financially able) to fight the good fight to a sucessful conclusion.

I keep telling myself that life is just one day at a time, and that things DO change - but the wait is damn frustrating!

Posted by Ayden | September 25, 2008 1:55 PM

Leaving Florida for Chicago = Best Decision Ever.

Posted by Jennifer in Chicago | September 25, 2008 2:04 PM

I am both a Christian and an adoptive parent; my husband and I foster-adopted a sibling group and are actively involved in encouraging couples to consider foster parenting and foster-adoption for the same reasons you mention: So many children are in need of a permanent, loving home.

"Conservatives," as you call them, do not oppose gay/lesbian adoption because we hate children, but because we recognize that ALL children need both a mother and a father. Natural law supports this even if you don't adhere to traditional Judeo-Christian values.

For a long time, it was considered wrong to place African-American children with white couples because they would be unable to teach the child about their cultural and social roots. But because of the large numbers of AA children and the shortfall of suitable homes, gradually this has changed.

Anyone who actively works against gay and lesbian adoption needs to be willing to work even harder to find a suitable alternative -- loving families headed by married couples who can model for them the social and relational skills they will need later in life. Unless we are willing to take care of these children ourselves, all the good intentions in the world only comes across as so much prejudice.

God bless you!

Posted by Heidi Saxton | September 25, 2008 2:22 PM

WTF is with that teacher saying "I looked for thing... knowing he was of gay parents"?? If she's gonna "look for things," she'd be a lot more likely to find "them" among female children of straight parents, both in terms of incidence (cases per thousand) and total numbers.

Posted by rob | September 25, 2008 2:28 PM

"All children need a mother and father" is not proven by any law, natural or otherwise. Children need caring, involved parents. What you're saying in your post essentially disenfranchises not only same-sex parents, but divorced and widowed parents, single parents, grandparents of children whose parents have died, etc. And it's just plain WRONG. No child is automatically better off with differing-gender parents simply because they're of different sexes; a child is better off for having adults who care for, and about them, involved in their day-to-day care. The genders are completely irrelevant.

Posted by Geni | September 25, 2008 2:29 PM

Interesting comment, Heidi. Remember, as Voltaire said, that the perfect is the enemy of the good. And no one is perfect, not even (gasp!) a married opposite-sex couple. As you indicate, people who work against gay/lesbian adoption (do they work against single-parent adoption as well? equally bad for the children, according to you) without doing something about it should read Luke 16:19-31. Those folks are going to be mighty surprised when they wind up in the fiery depths of hell, looking up across a vast chasm at the adoptive parents sitting with Abraham.

Posted by gay dad | September 25, 2008 2:31 PM

@8: "Natural" law does not support this, and I do not adhere to traditional Judeo-Christian values. I firmly disagree with your groundless assertion.

To continue in this debate and not be laughed at, please provide a single study which unequivocally concludes that two caregivers of the same gender are less fit than two caregivers of opposite gender. Lest you be tempted to not give this diligent effort, you must make sure the study is accepted by any one of the major worldwide psychological, medical, or pediatric professional societies AND printed in a publication considered authoritative for one of those fields.

After you've done your homework, you're welcome to come back and apologize for your thoughtless (and really, mean-spirited) post here. In the event that you do find such a study, however, please let the world know; we breathlessly await any legitimate scientific knowledge that would contradict the enormous, varied, and thoroughly peer-reviewed body of work that supports us.

Posted by sociallytangent | September 25, 2008 2:36 PM

Heidi Saxton:

My partner and I are raising his developmentally disabled brother, who was abandoned by their father for being -- and I quote -- "retarded" and physically beaten and psychologically abused by his mother for more than 10 years before we were able to rescue him. Since he's moved in with us, he's learned to smile and talk to strangers and make jokes and hold a part-time job and feel safe functioning in a world where he knows his own parents won't repeatedly, relentlessly abuse him. In short, we've given him the essential "social and relational skills [he] will need later in life" that you arrogantly, hatefully imply can come only from straight people.

Don't parrot that empty "all children need both a mother and a father" bullshit to ME, Heidi. It's just a lazy, artless code for "religious extremists hate gay people." And whether or not you choose to own up to it, you know in your cold, black heart that it's the truth.

And my warm, loving, gay heart aches for the kids you foster-adopted and are raising to believe the things you believe. Teaching kids that there's anything wrong with homosexuality is tantamount to child abuse. If any of your kids discovers he's gay and realizes he's not safe in your house because of it, he's just as abused as my brother-in-law. And you and your make-believe god will never feel an ounce of shame for what you did to him.

Posted by Jake | September 25, 2008 3:58 PM

I feel that the framing of this argument is most important. Instead of being "pro-gay," let's make Heidi and her friends "anti-child." Anyone willing to put their own beliefs before statistics and children's safety is definitely anti-child in my book.

Posted by BGJ in PDX | September 25, 2008 4:23 PM

Hey, Heidi? You can eat the corn out of my shit, hatesack.

My kid was REJECTED by some stupid fucking straight couple because his mother had been drinking and using drugs before she realized she was pregnant. He's a wonderful kid, and we're proud to be his parents. And he was FAILED by a "mother and a father"—potential adoptive mother and father, not his biomom, who did the right thing—before we were given the honor of adopting him and being his dads.

Again: Eat. My. Shit.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 25, 2008 4:44 PM

it really is hard to follow 'eat the corn out of my shit,' but I will try.
Placing African American kids in "white" families was finally considered wrong, b/c it is WRONG.
Damn, once again, I encourage Heidi to follow a social worker around for one day. Just one. The loving dykes with mullets are super stars compared to the crack house mothers and fathers. And if the conservatives are sooo against abortion, why don't they take more children in? There are hundreds of thousands out there.
I love how the christian conservatives spew their hate and then end the crap with a nice "God Bless!!!"
I'm not going to say eat my shit, Heidi. I think a nice Fuck You will suffice.

Posted by Joy | September 25, 2008 8:27 PM

Heidi excepted, you all make me smile and even more proud to be a gay dad. Wayne

Posted by waynelaruesmith | September 26, 2008 6:12 AM

Heidi - Imposing your religious views on children and gay citizens is wrong. You persecute gay and lesbians as being less able, less human to be parents. That directly harms children who need parents, gay and lesbian folks and society. It's ugly, it's ignorant and discriminatory.

Posted by Franklin | September 26, 2008 6:34 AM

Please see the link >

Posted by Stella | September 26, 2008 8:51 AM

"Placing African American kids in "white" families was finally considered wrong, b/c it is WRONG."

no, it is not. we (meaning my whitey mcwhiterson family) adopted my african-american sister in 1966. she turned out fine. and may i refer you to the book 'gay dads', wherein you see several white same-sex couples with adopted african-american children, all thriving and doing quite well.

the skin color is irrelevant. good loving parents are not.

Posted by scary tyler moore | September 26, 2008 2:15 PM

Joy, I agree with you. How many of those conservatives actually adopt any unwanted children that are the result of unwanted pregnancies or abusive households? It's so easy to stand out in front of a clinic protesting abortions or signing a freakin' petition then go home at the end of the day without thinking of the true victims of their short sited bigotry; the children.

Oh, yeah; Heidi, how about some nuts with that corn?

Posted by Jon | September 27, 2008 8:40 AM

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