There’s still a stigma attached to adoption; I have no idea why. Ever read a celebrity news story that’s careful to tell you which of a star’s children are biological, and which are adopted? Why is that necessary? I mean, we’re not blind – take a look at Brad and Angelina’s kids, it’s not difficult to work out which kids aren’t biological offspring, if you have the sort of mind that obsesses about that.
I have a much simpler yardstick: are you responsible for this child’s welfare and upbringing? Are you fulfilling that responsibility? If the answer is “yes”, congratulations, you’re the parent and this is your child, end of story. The biology is details.
I’m not an adoptive parent, just to set the record straight. I’m a foster parent, both of my kids have one biological parent still in the picture but I’m the one with the income that can provide the food, shelter and education, so the children live with me. Should anything happen to their parents, gods forbid, I’d have to face up to the red tape and make it official, but I’d rather not unless that becomes absolutely necessary. As a single, self-employed, gay, white male with African foster-kids I should imagine the red tape would be maddeningly circuitous.
There’s still a stigma attached to adoption; I have no idea why. Ever read a celebrity news story that’s careful to tell you which of a star’s children are
Ah, that’s the other big adoption controversy that’s raging: should gay people be allowed to adopt, either as single parents or a married couple? If you’re one of those people still convinced that “gay” equals “paedophile” no matter what the research shows then your answer is a knee-jerk “no”.
You run into an immediate problem if someone takes your reasoning seriously though: statistically the vast majority of child molestation (and for that matter violent physical abuse) is dished out by heterosexual parents, relatives and family friends of the victims. Applying the knee-jerk logic would mean a blanket ban on straight people being allowed anywhere near children, even the ones they conceive themselves. That logic is ludicrous, obviously.
The real objection to gay people adopting, from those who do object, is that the kids will be brought up in a household that doesn’t revile homosexuality as “an abomination”; in other words, that the kids will grow up tolerant of diversity rather than steeped in dogma.
To answer that argument let me call on Orthodox rabbi Shmuley Boteach – a religious teacher from a respected ancient faith, so I reckon I’m allowed to quote him on matters of morality. He wrote a column (it’s online: Google “Orthodox rabbi”+gay+adoption) when lesbian comedienne Rosie O’ Donnell adopted a child and a friend of the rabbi’s told him it was a shame the child would grow up “never knowing a father”.
The rabbi’s first response was to point out that without Rosie the child would grow up never knowing a mother either. But then he makes an argument I still haven’t heard an answer for: according to his faith one of the greatest good deeds one can do is to give a child languishing in an orphanage a home with parents, or at least one parent. “Who are you,” he asks, “to deny a child that kind of home because you believe the adoptive parents’ so-called “lifestyle” is immoral?”
And – this is the bit that made the good rabbi my hero – if you are so convinced of your moral rectitude, are you prepared to adopt that child yourself to “save” it from what you believe are inappropriate parents?
Which is now my only response to any objections to any kind of adoption. You don’t like single-parent/gay/cross-racial/inter-tribal adoption? Well, how many kids have you adopted yourself then? None? Perhaps you should pipe down and let the people who are prepared to love, nurture and raise otherwise unwanted children to get on with it.