Three Grandpas, Two Moms, Two Dads

Adoption

In Michigan, where I live, same sex marriage is illegal. Regardless of how you feel about same sex marriage, I believe our approach should be about what’s best for the children. In my opinion, children benefit from stability, but children adopted by a same sex couple are deprived of that stability. Therefore, for the sake of the children, same sex couples should be allowed to marry.

The NPR station, Michigan Radio, recently posted a story on the plight of an adopted boy named Lucas. Lucas has two dads, however since their marriage is not recognized in Michigan, only one of them is legally his father.

“Although there’s a lot of talk in Lansing about making kids safe and secure, when it comes to gay and lesbian couples, politics and attitudes about sexual orientation end that conversation,” the author wrote.

Of course, there are many more children like Lucas in Michigan and other states were same sex marriage is banned.  As I wrote in a post introducing a new series “The Future of Adoption,” I believe there are four issues that affect the current state of adoption. Number three was, “What if adoptive parents and their friends and family (and society as a whole) were not afraid of those who are different? (older children, children of other races, same-sex couples).”

Clearly, the real solution to this problem is to dispel fear of same sex couples. But, I don’t think that’s going to happen soon enough. In the meantime, let’s appeal to people’s concern for children.

My stepfather has expressed reserve at being called “grandpa” by my children. According to him, my kids already have two grandfathers, and don’t need a third. I’ve told him, and Grandma G, that there is no such thing as too many grandpas. I think my kids will only benefit from having many people who love them, even if it’s not “traditional.” I think that all kids can benefit from a large group of people who love them, even if that includes two moms or two dads.

Michigan’s same sex marriage ban is written into the state constitution, making it much harder to repeal. But another couple with adopted children is challenging the ban in court. Let’s hope this case results in a positive change.

Promising Babies in Six to Nine Months

Adoption

In a recent report, NPR explored how the Internet is changing adoption. The reporter interviewed a prospective adoptive couple, a traditional agency, and a non-profit to learn more about this trend. Apparently online agencies are often unlicensed and make improbable claims such as the one mentioned in the title of this post. The report clearly makes the claim that online agencies are a big problem. But, it’s obvious that online agencies aren’t the only problem.

In my opinion, the whole system is an issue. For example, the commoditization of babies doesn’t help. The prospective parents that were interviewed began to seek a birth mother online after they learned that their wait through a traditional agency would be longer than three years.  Here’s how they described their efforts to become parents:”Essentially, we’re just putting together this marketing campaign to sell ourselves to a birth parent.”

Of course, traditional agencies aren’t  innocent in this commoditization earlier. The report described one traditional agency this way: “the brick-and-mortar agency in Maryland that’s lost business to Internet providers.” Why is adoption considered a business?

I think that many people choose a baby over an older child due to their fears about the “issues” that older children supposedly bring with them. In a previous post, “The Future of Adoption,” I wrote that I think adoption can be changed (in part) by dispelling people’s fears about the unknown and the different. If you’ve never consider foster care, or adopting through foster care, please check out this “Debunking the Myth” document that shares some of the facts about foster care.

National Adoption Month: The Future of Adoption

Adoption

It’s National Adoption Month again. In honor of this “event,” I’m starting a new series called “The Future of Adoption.” In this series, I’d like to explore what adoption can and should look like in the future. I’ll also make suggestions on how we can get there. I’m not a social work, law-maker, or adult adoptee, so I certainly can’t claim to be an expert on the topic. So, if you are an expert, please feel free to kindly correct my misconceptions. And, even if you’re not an expert, I still want to hear your thoughts.

If you’re a regular reader, you may be sick of me talking about Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control by Heather Forbes and Bryan Post. One of the book’s foundations is that there are only two primary emotions: love and fear. I’d like to build on this idea for “The Future of Adoption” and use it to explain what could be changed in a very broad sense. In future posts, I’ll talk more about specific changes.

What if, in the future, those involved in adoption did not make their choices based on fear?

1. What if pregnant women did not choose adoption based on their fear of being rejected or being an inadequate mother?

2. What if adoptive parents weren’t afraid of their children’s first family?

3. What if adoptive parents and their friends and family (and society as a whole) were not afraid of those who are different? (older children, children of other races, same-sex couples).

4. What if families could stay together because the parents did not make unwise choices based on fear?

I think many people believe about adoption as others believe about abortion: both should be legal, but rare. If we addressed these fears, could we make adoption less common? Could we keep families together? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll be posting more specific ideas and action items at a later time.

In the News: Forced Adoptions

Adoption

I came across this article from Yahoo News about an investigation into forced adoptions. It seems to be pretty common knowledge that this happened a lot in the 1940s – 60s, but apparently it happened in a number of countries as late as the 1980s. If that isn’t shocking enough, the article shares how some of these mothers described their experiences. The most common description was “sad,” but there are many other, more devastating descriptions, such as “horrifying,” “tragic,” “barbaric,” and even “soul rape.” Check out the whole article here.