Secular Adoption Agency Takes In Children the Catholic Church Doesn’t Care About

Ever since civil unions became legal in Illinois, Catholic-run, partially-state-funded adoption agencies have been closing shop because they refuse to put children in the homes of loving, gay couples.

Now, the Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley, a secular agency, is stepping in to help out the children that the Catholic charities don’t seem to care about. They’re taking in 330 children left behind by the Catholic Charities in Rockford.

It’s run by a religious person who thinks very highly of faith, but he’s not letting religion-based bigotry get in the way of what he thinks is best for the kids:

[Executive director David] McClure said his church has helped him understand gay and lesbian couples shouldn’t be excluded from the pool of prospective foster parents. He has watched same-sex couples in the congregation excel at raising children. Through conversations with gay members, he has learned to empathize with the challenges of being gay.

“We don’t have enough foster parents, period,” he said. “My friendships with people at that church helped me realize that these distinctions don’t need to be made.”

McClure believes his children’s generation will move other churches forward on the issue.

“We’re going to grow out of this,” he said. “It’s too bad it happened to the (Catholic) Church in this way. If you can’t adapt your institution to it, it’s going to create problems.”

To say we’re secular and not faith-based is correct. At the same time, a lot of social workers draw on faith to get their job done,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s exactly God’s work. But I think he would approve.”

None of that really bothers me. The kids are going to be much better off under his supervision than they would be under the Catholic Church’s. It’s a perfect example of religious people doing good, secular work that we should all be able to get behind.

Though I’m sure some atheists will find a reason to get worked up over it.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://onestdv.blogspot.com OneSTDV

    You really don’t think it’s important for a child to have both a mother and a father? Or at least close role models of both genders, both to socialize them properly and to dispense advice/discipline/compassion as only a father or mother can?

    I mean, there’s a reason why boys listen more to their fathers (threat of physical discipline that a mother very rarely is strong enough to dispense past a certain maturity). There’s a reason it’s called a “mother’s touch”, as most men simply don’t possess that inimitable female compassion that mothers do.

    Surely I know all mothers and fathers don’t fall into the categories I present above, but just because some children don’t have the benefits of two parents abiding by traditional gender roles, doesn’t mean we should withhold this traditional and ultimately healthier familial framework from the rest of children.

  • Shawn

    @OneSTDV

    As a 20 year old male, cousin to an adopted child (also now 20) raised by a gay couple, I can 100% percent say that it is not necessary for a child to have a parent of each gender. Children find role models in all places, and if a “mother’s touch” is to be absent, it is either not as essential as you proclaim it to be, or else the child will find find another, similar experience in their lives. My cousin is the most well adjusted, successful individual I have ever met. To claim that it is “ultimately healthier” to have traditional gender roles, without any fair, unbiased studies or facts to back up your claim, is both unfair and downright disingenuous.

    Also, lets note that just because something is traditional, doesn’t make it better. IE: religion vs. skepticism.

    Great to hear that someone is stepping up for those kids. Parents are parents, and its good to hear someone is looking out for those that the catholic church would abandon.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum

    @OneSTDV:

    There is no proof that children require a mother and father in order to grow up adjusted. In fact there are studies that have shown that to be a flawed premise (although most studies are not perfect because of various measurements – number of research subjects, family status, usw)

    http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting.aspx – kind of long, but good
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_parenting#Children.E2.80.99s_outcomes – Wiki, but with tons of links in the references section.

    And screw traditional gender roles. Am I to be denied the right to be a parent simply because I’m transgender? Even if I don’t transition, I’m still fairly feminine and my personality doesn’t match the traditional “father doles out the discipline” type of role.

  • Raytheist

    @OneSTDV:

    “just because some children don’t have the benefits of two parents abiding by traditional gender roles, doesn’t mean we should withhold this traditional and ultimately healthier familial framework from the rest of children.”

    Seriously? Turn that question around — should we withhold a loving and welcoming permanent home from a child who needs it, simply because that home doesn’t fit someone’s “gender role stereotypes”?

    Certainly, the more adults who are available to nurture and support a child would seem to be helpful, but isn’t a qualified home better than allowing a child to be left in limbo in the system?

  • SeekerLancer

    I’m not bothered by McClure’s thinking either. If it’s religion that motivates him to do his job then good for him. As long as his service remains secular and unbiased then there’s no reason for me to take issue. I’m happy that they found a place for the kids to go and the Catholic church should be ashamed of the childish and damaging way they behaved.

    @OneSTDV:

    “Tradition” doesn’t account to a hill of beans in the real world and using it to justify a point of view is silly. Think of all the horrible things we’ve justified in the past because they were “traditional.” There’s no reason traditions can’t change or vanish all together. They’re just silly rituals, or in this case stereotypes, that we ourselves made up.

  • http://racingboo.wordpress.com Nadia Williams

    I’m a single mother. Should I give up my kids because there’s not a father’s touch in their lives?

    It just so happens that my kids’ dad lives nearby and they spend time with him regularly, but a friend of mine is in the same situation and in her case the father has moved to another country. Her two boys are some of the most well-adjusted, obedient kids I’ve met in a long time.

    As for role models, all children get loads of opportunities to observe men going about their lives: teachers, coaches, family members etc. I dislike the term role model, though. While I understand its validity (someone on whom to model how I will live my life), I wonder if many people don’t see it as an interaction in which a man demonstrates to a boy how he should go about being a man (and a woman demonstrates to a girl how she should go about being a woman). I believe there’s a degree of truth in that, but also remnants of an archaic view of gender roles.

    Perhaps we should reconsider the concept, move on to life models who can be of any sexual orientation but demonstrate desirable characteristics for kids, such as honesty (even in difficult situations), integrity, kindness, generosity etc.

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    @OneSTDV

    there’s a reason why boys listen more to their fathers (threat of physical discipline that a mother very rarely is strong enough to dispense past a certain maturity).

    I’ve never had to threaten physical discipline with my children. I use reason and explanation instead. I find it quite effective.

    Anyway, I’m glad that the bigots have chosen to close down rather than adapt to a society that has clearly left them behind. I’d prefer no religious involvement but realistically a liberal, secular (ish) agency is about as good as can be expected. At the least they seem more interested in what is good for the children than what their priest has to say.

  • http:www.mountaintrail.us Joel Justiss

    @Nadia:

    Love your comment. I emphatically agree that what children (and all of us) need most is good, loving “life models.”

  • http://alabamatheist.blogspot.com/ Tim D.

    Though I’m sure some atheists will find a reason to get worked up over it.

    See, this is why I love reading Friendly Atheist. Hemant has the balls to just drop lines like this that need to be said sometimes. I love it <3

  • JD

    I think that’s as it should be. Secular doesn’t mean that people of faith can’t participate. It just means they can’t push their religious beliefs to be part of a secular institution. And they don’t let their faith’s “home office” dictate what they do.

  • http://www.trollitc.com Ben

    As both an atheist and an adoptive father, I have no problem with this article, or with David McClure doing what he’s doing. Religious or otherwise, he’s helping kids who deserve to have a family find their families.

    There’s not much that’s more worthy than that, in my book.

  • http://muledungandash.blogspot.com/ Mule Breath

    Interesting mix of comments.

    @OneSTDV, I would challenge you to seek out some evidence for your hypothesis. I’ve found no such evidence, but you might have better luck. My work brings me in close contact with families at times of crisis, and my experience with “traditional” families has not been all that swell. Although I’ve had far less experience with them, I can’t see how exposure to non-traditional environments could be harmful.

    Anecdotal observation only, but it seems to be particularly true that the kids, both natural and adopted, who are subjected to religious-based traditionalism tend to be less well adjusted than those not constrained to such silly, unsupportable value systems.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    I mean, there’s a reason why boys listen more to their fathers (threat of physical discipline that a mother very rarely is strong enough to dispense past a certain maturity). There’s a reason it’s called a “mother’s touch”, as most men simply don’t possess that inimitable female compassion that mothers do.

    Physical discipline is almost never justified. Moreover, in my own memory when I was a little kid, I was subject to some form of physical discipline maybe twice at most, both from my mother. I’m pretty sure I turned out fine. In many (possibly most) modern families physical discipline doesn’t occur at all. The kids seem to turn out fine.

    The primary claim, that kids require a strong father figure and strong mother figure filling culturally expected gender roles is fascinating. In many societies, children are raised not just the parents but by the extended family (aunts, uncles, older siblings and older cousins, etc.). I could easily see someone from such a society make functionally identical claims about how children need to be raised with the whole extended family and that kids raised just by their parents will have all sorts of problems.

  • Sarah

    @OneSTDV

    Even if there are two opposite-sex parents in the house, I would hope that they would not follow “traditional gender roles” but rather teach their children that they are able to fulfill whatever “role” they seek in life. Do you honestly think it’s better to teach them that their sex defines them and what they must become? I’d rather any configuration of loving family besides that stifling, unhealthy model (a family that requires gender roles, that is, not a family with opposite-sex parents).

  • Nakor

    “I don’t know that it’s exactly God’s work. But I think he would approve.”

    I wish more theists thought like that. Instead of giving credit for everything good to their god, it’s far better to credit the people.

  • Togii

    The only thing in that article that worried me was the line where he said, “he has learned to empathize with the challenges of being gay”. I hope he’s aware that the only challenges present are brought on by religious people being hateful and putting up roadblocks.

    Also, my mom died when I was tiny, and my father worked his butt off to be an outstanding single parent to my baby brother and I. Going to church every Sunday, I was told I had a father in heaven also, and was thrilled to have “two daddies” :p
    I really did do just fine without a mother, though, and had he re-married with a man, I can’t see how I would have been damaged by having a second loving adult in my life.

  • TiltedHorizon

    I was raised by a single mom, she was the tender loving mother most of the time, a tough love mother when she needed, and a strict disciplinarian when I need her to be.

    This “ultimately healthier familial framework” you talk about is a fallacy. The ‘framework’ is not gender based it is character based. A man can be ‘loving’ and ‘tender’, a woman can be ‘authoritative’ and ‘stern’. If one mother can rise to the challenge of playing all roles successfully then ANY two people should qualify.

  • http://curiousmusing-curiousmind.blogspot.com Leila

    This is inspiring; I wish Mr McClure the best and hope he successfully rehomes these lost children.

    Theists who don’t let their faith stop them from helping those who are truly in need or discriminate against essentially good, capable people are people whom other theists could learn from.

  • ShavenYak

    I think we all agree that OneSTDV’s assertion that children need a parent of each gender has no demonstrated basis in fact.

    But here’s the thing: even if there *was* some evidence to back it up, I’d still find it hard to believe that a child would be worse off with two parents of the same gender than they would be with *no parents at all*. Which, apparently, is where the Catholic Church was willing to leave them.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum

    @ShavenYak:

    The Catholic Church is also willing to drop charity and assistance for the poor because of homosexual stuff. In DC they dropped the Catholic Charities because they couldn’t discriminate against gay volunteers.

    “If you’re poor or have no family, our bigotry is more important than your well-being.”

    And we’re the immoral ones?

  • Chris aka “Happy Cat”

    The ‘framework’ is not gender based it is character based. A man can be ‘loving’ and ‘tender’, a woman can be ‘authoritative’ and ‘stern’. If one mother can rise to the challenge of playing all roles successfully then ANY two people should qualify.

    QFT.

  • Jenny Wren

    Catholic Charities gave me to a couple that included an absolute terror of a woman as a mother. When they divorced, tradition said I had to stay with the mother. Thankfully, my adoptive dad bucked tradition, and law, and took me out of there a few years later.
    As an adult, I contacted Catholic Charities to go through their process to find my birth mom. Years later, when we found each other through the wonder that is the internet, we found out that we had both contacted CC and their policy was to reunite people in those cases. They did not. So, not a fan of their decision-making process. I would have been quite happy with two dads. :)

  • ThinkingWithVitality

    I’m a newbie to the atheist community after 30 years of life in a christian bubble. Adoption is a hot spot for me as I’ve adopted two children myself. In fact I blogged last week on the topic of christian agencies adopting out foster children. Our youngest was adopted through a partially state-funded christian agency and I am outraged that had we applied for adoption today as a “non-believer” we would’ve been denied the right to foster/adopt our current son. How many more children would have loving, stable homes if we would knock off this incessant need to provide them with the perfect mom/dad, white picket fence kind of family all in the name of religion?!? Kudos to McClure for putting the needs of these children before the desires of the churched.
    http://thinkingwithvitality.blogspot.com/2011/06/only-christians-need-apply.html

  • Raven

    It’s amazing what happens when someone actually sees gay people raising kids firsthand. Prejudice doesn’t withstand reality very well.

  • Claudia

    There are a fair number of problems that arise when looking at how “ideal” a household is. For instance, there are significant issues with inter-racial adoption (though studies are almost exclusively about the priviledged race adopting children of disfavored races) in terms of identifying with parents and especially with preparing children of color for the inevitable racism they will sadly still have to confront. You could leave it there, but it would be profoundly dishonest. The thing is that these kids are orphaned or up for adoption for a reason. There biological parents are not in the picture, sometimes because of abandonment, sometimes because of abuse, occasionally because of death. Are there issues with interracial adoption? Sure, but they are crushingly outweighed by the benefits a child obtains by having a loving, functional home.

    Same thing with single parents. Single-parenthood is statistically less than ideal. But it’s a whole lot more ideal than an abusive two-parent home, or a home with two profoundly unahppy parents who may blame you for being “forced” to stay together. In addition many of the disadvantages of single-parents have to do with income, since single parents are disproportionately poor and poverty absolutely leads to worse outcomes.

    Interestingly, some of the studies on the children of same-sex couples show them getting better outcomes than those of heterosexual couples. Apparently this is attributed to the fact that gay parents can’t be parents by accident. Or, as Dan Savage put it “Gay couples don’t wake up in the morning and realized they adopted by accident….”Oh honey, what’s all this paperwork?!””

  • Edmond

    @OneSTDV

    Children spend nearly as much time or more at school than they spend waking hours at home, and they learn considerably more from their teachers than they do from their parents. Why don’t we insist that every classroom have a male AND a female teacher? Aren’t children who spend all-day-every-day only with a teacher of one gender being shortchanged on what they would learn from a teacher of the opposite gender?

    Of course not.

  • spent

    I think this is great. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for the idiots that cling to ancient beliefs and bigotry. It’s the unadopted children that would otherwise go to loving same-sex parents that I feel sorry for.

    I find it refreshing that a religious person can look beyond the stigmas and inherent flaws in the teachings of his doctrine and just do what is right on a human level. I am an atheist myself, but I believe that the man running this is one of the few religious that I could actually sit down and have a well-rounded conversation with. That is a rare thing indeed.

    I wish this program the best.

    =D

  • Mindy

    Just a quick point:

    I was raised by straight parents and ended up not just gay but not very feminine at all.

    What about all the LGBT folks raised by straight families? I’m pretty sure we can turn around and raise straight kids–since we do.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    OneSTDV:

    You really don’t think it’s important for a child to have both a mother and a father? Or at least close role models of both genders, both to socialize them properly and to dispense advice/discipline/compassion as only a father or mother can?

    I was raised by two lesbian mothers myself, so I suppose I feel qualified to have an opinion on the subject. No, I do not believe someone needs to have parents of both genders in order to be “properly” socialized. What does that even mean? I cannot think of any advice, discipline or compassion that only a mother or a father can dispense. Parenting skills are not determined by one’s gender. Mothers can be assertive disciplinarians and fathers can be tender and nurturing. It depends on the person, not on what’s between their legs.

    Re: your remark about discipline, I find it sad when anyone supports physical intimidation and physical punishment of children. There are millions of fathers (in heterosexual families) who do not hit their children or threaten to hit their children. Boys (and girls) do not need to be threatened with physical punishment in order to learn how to behave. Of course, many conservative Christians love corporal punishment so they can “teach” their children all about obedience and submission, but I had hoped that my fellow atheists would not be so eager to buy into that.

  • ashley

    @OneSTDV I was raised by a mother and my grandmother helped as well. I think if anything I am more mature then a lot of people my age who had 2 parents. I honestly have never been bothered by the fact I didn’t have a father. I never met my real dad. It doesn’t matter what sex the parent was. To me it matters what they taught you, and how much they love you.

  • ewan

    Though I’m sure some atheists will find a reason to get worked up over it.

    I guess this is a snarky reference to the FBB ‘Challenge the gap’ controversies. It should be pretty clear that there’s a difference between a secular organisation with religious people working in it, and a religious organisation promoting religion by being seen to do ‘good works’. The former is not something to get worked up about, the latter is.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    I guess this is a snarky reference to the FBB ‘Challenge the gap’ controversies. It should be pretty clear that there’s a difference between a secular organisation with religious people working in it, and a religious organisation promoting religion by being seen to do ‘good works’. The former is not something to get worked up about, the latter is.

    Agreed, though people always get worked up over the FBB’s Challenge the Gap project, which gives people the option of giving money to a secular charity run by religious people.

    They’re not too upset in this case, though. Good to hear.

  • allison

    McClure’s approach doesn’t bother me at all, and I’m happy that he’s doing the work he does. Thank you for letting us know someone’s stepping in to help fix the situation the Catholics are leaving behind in their desire to continue discriminating.

  • GentleGiant

    Concerning adoption in general:
    Does anyone know what the percentage is of white children being adopted by (a) coloured parent(s) (whether black, latino, asian)?
    It seems to me like it’s almost always the other way around.

  • Debra Burnsworth

    I think this is wonderful. I know they are going to another “religious” enviornment, but at least this is one with openmindedness and a true concern for the children. At least the tight-assed Catholic teachings won’t be propagated!

  • Adam Morva

    “Though I’m sure some atheists will find a reason to get worked up over it.”

    Oh great. Are you playing Fox News, or what? I don’t understand the negative tone you finished your post with.

  • Claudia

    Concerning adoption in general:
    Does anyone know what the percentage is of white children being adopted by (a) coloured parent(s) (whether black, latino, asian)?
    It seems to me like it’s almost always the other way around.

    Some time on Google revealed nothing. In fact google tried to helpfully ask if I was actually asking about white families with children of color instead. I did see some anecdotes about white children placed in nonwhite families, but nothing to indicate it was by any means widespread.

    What I know of adoption (in the US) is that white infants are in very high demand and that there is an “excess” (horrible wording, I know, it’s only to communicate the point) of children of color in the system. Add that apparently social workers try to put children with families of their own race whenever possible. Add again that many families will jump at the chance of getting a child of their own race in order to facilitate the life of the child. All these things combined probably add up to families of color adopting children of color.

    As a small side note, I see you used the term “coloured parents”. Now, I can see from your comment that you have no ill intentions. I can also see from your use of “coloured” instead of “colored” that you use the British form of the word, and hence you maybe your cultural background is not American. Just a word of advice. In the US we stopped using “colored” a long time ago and it’s use today is seen as archaic and, depending on the context, racist. You can use “people of color” but not “colored people”. Arbitrary linguistic rules, I know, but it will keep you out of trouble. Cheers!

  • ewan

    Challenge the Gap project, which gives people the option of giving money to a secular charity run by religious people

    From what I recall of the discussions it was about giving money to religious charities doing secular work, which sounds like hair splitting, but isn’t.

    As far as I can see, you can have a:
    1) Religious charity, with religious people, doing religious work,
    2) Religious charity, with religious people, doing secular work,
    3) Secular charity, with religious people, doing secular work,
    4) Secular charity, with non-religious people, doing secular work

    This seems to be a case of ’3′, whereas ‘Challenge the Gap’ seems to be aimed at ’2′.

  • GentleGiant

    As a small side note, I see you used the term “coloured parents”. Now, I can see from your comment that you have no ill intentions. I can also see from your use of “coloured” instead of “colored” that you use the British form of the word, and hence you maybe your cultural background is not American. Just a word of advice. In the US we stopped using “colored” a long time ago and it’s use today is seen as archaic and, depending on the context, racist. You can use “people of color” but not “colored people”. Arbitrary linguistic rules, I know, but it will keep you out of trouble. Cheers!

    I know, I was actually going a bit back and forth on the phrasing, but it was late so I probably could have worded it better. :)
    On the other hand, using “race” is also technically wrong, since we’re all of the Homo Sapiens race, no matter what the colour of our skin is. ;)
    Maybe ethnicity would be the best compromise. :)
    I’m from Europe (Denmark – hence why I use the Queen’s English in writing ;) ), so the vast majority of adoptions from non-white ethnicities are directly from Africa or Asia (China and Korea mostly), since we don’t have a very large population of several generation deep descendants from e.g. Africa.

    Another thing that puzzles me, is the fact that even though there are lots of children in the adoption system, some would-be parents still opt to adopt from abroad. I know that some of the children in the system are burdened with age, since most adopters would prefer to get the child at as early an age as possible, but still…

  • http://peikkonen.blogspot.com Kirsi

    On the other hand, using “race” is also technically wrong, since we’re all of the Homo Sapiens race, no matter what the colour of our skin is. ;)

    More OT nitpicking. Homo sapiens is not a race, it’s a species (art på dansk). Of course we can debate on whether the different races of H. sapiens really are races or not, since race is an arbitrary definition. I also can’t think of a non-domesticated species that has different races.

  • http://peikkonen.blogspot.com Kirsi

    Another thing that puzzles me, is the fact that even though there are lots of children in the adoption system, some would-be parents still opt to adopt from abroad. I know that some of the children in the system are burdened with age, since most adopters would prefer to get the child at as early an age as possible, but still…

    I think age of the children is the most important factor. Most people in our neck of the world want to adopt babies. Another could be that people are so used to seeing foreign adoptions that they think adopting locally is impossible?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    @ewan

    As far as I can see, you can have a:
    1) Religious charity, with religious people, doing religious work,
    2) Religious charity, with religious people, doing secular work,
    3) Secular charity, with religious people, doing secular work,
    4) Secular charity, with non-religious people, doing secular work

    This seems to be a case of ’3?, whereas ‘Challenge the Gap’ seems to be aimed at ’2?.

    That is an absolute lie. We do NOT give to religious charities. Name one that FBB has given money to. Everyone on the board and staff would be opposed to that.

  • GentleGiant

    Kirsi wrote:

    More OT nitpicking. Homo sapiens is not a race, it’s a species (art på dansk). Of course we can debate on whether the different races of H. sapiens really are races or not, since race is an arbitrary definition. I also can’t think of a non-domesticated species that has different races.

    You are, of course, absolutely correct, another point against me. I’m not doing so good it seems. :-p

  • GentleGiant

    Kirsi wrote:

    Another thing that puzzles me, is the fact that even though there are lots of children in the adoption system, some would-be parents still opt to adopt from abroad. I know that some of the children in the system are burdened with age, since most adopters would prefer to get the child at as early an age as possible, but still…

    I think age of the children is the most important factor. Most people in our neck of the world want to adopt babies. Another could be that people are so used to seeing foreign adoptions that they think adopting locally is impossible?

    Ironically, a lot of the “usual” adoption countries have rules against gay couples adopting (gay couples have the same adoption rights as married couples here), for religious reasons, of course, so gay couples actually (usually) have to adopt locally. Thus gay couples actually help the children in the local system more than those who adopt from abroad. :)

  • ewan

    That is an absolute lie. We do NOT give to religious charities. Name one that FBB has given money to. Everyone on the board and staff would be opposed to that.

    Hmm. At worst it’s a misunderstanding, but I don’t think it’s even that. Simply looking at the current one, it’s described on the FBB website as:

    an international charitable non-profit Christian organisation

    If something is a ‘Christian organisation’ that, to me, means that it’s a religious organisation, even if it’s simply doing secular work like healthcare and education. When it also describes itself as employing “Christian professionals” it’s an exclusively religious organisation. We can give them money, but neither of us could work for them.

    They are, I think, clearly category ’2′, a religious organisation, made up of religious people, but doing secular work. That’s not the same thing as the adoption agency in this post.

  • ThinkingWithVitality

    @Claudia:
    Our youngest is Hispanic and we just learned that automatically qualifies him as “special needs”…meaning that any non-caucasian child is considered special needs just because their skin color makes them more difficult to adopt. Sad.

    @Kirsi:
    In the state of AZ gays do not have equal rights when it comes to adopting. Only one parent can have legal guardianship of the child. In fact we are seeing a mass exodus of people due to the oppressive laws against immigrants and same sex couples.

    @GentleGiant:
    Having adopted from both abroad and from the foster care system (Neither of them infants) I can tell you that we chose abroad for three main reasons. I’m sure every person who adopts abroad has varying reasons for their choices but these were ours.

    1) We just like to experience life and other cultures. This gave us a good opportunity to adopt and have a life experience. We chose to adopt from Kazakhstan where we were able to stay for 6 weeks getting to know our son in his orphanage before adopting. Giving us time to build a bond, learn his culture, and experience his birthland which we can now share with him.

    2) For our first child we wanted as little “drama” as possible. Court hearings, open adoptions, and the likelihood of drug or alcohol exposure seemed overwhelming to us. Again Kazakstan, since it is a Muslim country, is known to have orphans with lesser FAS. After spending 6 weeks in the country and drinking vodka morn, noon, and night with locals we wonder if that statistic holds true :) But now having experienced both sides it turns out that adopting in the US was a very simple drama free experience as was going abroad. Both boys have effects of drug and alcohol exposure.

    3) It is our belief that a child is a child no matter the origin of birth or the borders that house that child. So helping one orphan in Kaz was no different than adopting one in the US because in our eyes they are equal and both deserving of a family.
    That said it is also my belief that while the US may have many orphans our orphans are granted many more opportunities than those in other countries. For Example: Orphans in other countries are not given opportunities to attend college on government grants. Instead they are thrown on the streets by age 16 to sell their bodies or live underground. In Haiti I actually saw orphaned children 40 to a tent malnourished and starving. We don’t see that in the US. We are quite privileged.

  • crowepps

    Another thing that puzzles me, is the fact that even though there are lots of children in the adoption system, some would-be parents still opt to adopt from abroad.

    There are a number of positive reasons for this as provided in the posts above. There are also adoptive parents who because of age, finances, health, religion, or prior record would not be considered qualified to adopt in the United States but who can find another country where they are allowed to adopt. I agree with ThinkingWithVitality that while adopting an available child in America would improve their circumstances, adopting a child overseas literally can save their life.


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