Thursday, January 17, 2013

Having Children as LGBTQ Families: Adoption

From my column:
Now and then on my Facebook page, my friend Lynn posts the latest pictures and stories about her two young daughters. A single mom, she adopted both girls from China. The girls are cute, with vivacious smiles that simply make me smile. Likewise, my former church youth group member Karen and her husband adopted their second child from China, posting pictures from her “Adoption Day” into their family. Again, smiles aplenty among all the family members. Dan and his partner Darrell post pictures of their adopted sons, now grown men (I knew them as boys, sigh), boasting of their high school accomplishments. Now and then we see pictures of the young men with their latest high school athletic accomplishments, surrounded by two proud dads. My friends from down the road, Bob and Dale, have had published stories of raising two young boys from Vietnam, encouraging others to adopt children here and abroad.
I was not aware of how many individuals, same-sex couples, and married straight people I know who who have adopted children until I recognized that this is National Adoption Month. One quick glance at Facebook reminded me of the plethora of individuals and couples I know who have adopted children as their own. Along with those who have officially adopted children, there are those LGBTQ couples, in which one of the partners had a child from a previous marriage and whose partner has kind of “adopted” the partner’s child or children as their own. Again, these individuals and couples are on my Facebook pages as well, smiling, laughing, being entertained by a clown, splashing in a pool, or visiting an amusement park in Florida.
The practice of adoption is as old as the Bible itself. For example, Moses was brought to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son, naming him “Moses,” explaining, “I lifted him out of the water” (Exodus 2:10, NRSV). Throughout time, around the world, adoption is a common practice. In the U.S. today, there are roughly 408,425 children who are waiting to be adopted (Children’s Defense Fund, 2011). Among these children, there are some who are school-aged or in a sibling group that needs to stay together. Some have experienced abuse or neglect, or live with a physical, behavioral, or intellectual disability. There is a shortage of adults — single or partnered — who are interested in adopting older children, children of a different race or ethnicity than the an adoptive parent, or a child living with a disability. What is beautiful is that many same-sex couples have adopted many of these very children mentioned above, taking those who are “least likely” to be adopted. With love and patience, something beautiful comes forth.
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