Wednesday, January 11, 2012

By the Numbers: Gay Adoption Edition

I read this article and ran across a lot of interesting statistics. Follow this link to find other links to the sources of those stats:

*21% of children adopted by gay men have a physical disability -- compared to 2% of children adopted by the overall population of adoptive parents.

*10% of children adopted by gay and lesbian parents are 6 years or older.

*Half of those older adoptees spent time in foster care.

*There are currently over 100,000 children in America alone who are waiting to be adopted.

Meanwhile, most of the Republican candidates for the President of the United States of America are seeking to ban gays and lesbians from adopting children. Rick Santorum has been particularly venomous towards gay and lesbian families. He sees no intrinsic value with our families. He believes that it would be better for children to have parents who are absent through abandonment or incarceration as opposed to raised by two moms or two dads.

Through work and my personal life, I can attest to the large number of gay and lesbian adoptive parents who have adopted older and/or disabled (physically AND mentally) children. It's fairly obvious that Mark and I have raised two boys with disabilities (one visual and the other cognitive). I also know a lesbian couple who sought out and adopted children in need of cleft palate repairs. I know a gay male couple one county over that worked way too hard to adopt their kindergarten-aged son, a young man with cognitive and behavioral disabilities. I know a lesbian couple who not only adopted a pair of older children (one with fragile X and a host of recurring medical ailments), but who cared for an extremely medically fragile girl who'd been terribly damaged in the womb by her meth-abusing birth mom. Unfortunately, that little girl is now dead, but she was loved for nearly seven bumpy years (and continues to be loved long after her death). 

I know lots and lots of gay and lesbian individuals and couples who've taken in older kids and disabled kids and sibling sets over the years. Don't get me wrong. I know heterosexual parents who've done the same and they're just as committed to their adoptive children as any of us gay parents. But given that gay people are supposed to be somewhere around 2 or 3 percent of the population, it's unbelievable how many of the adoptive children that I know who have gay or lesbian parents in this corner of the planet!

I just wish that those seeking to run this country would listen to those who actually work with foster kids and adoption services. With some exceptions, most believe that everybody should be welcomed to go through the home study process and at least be assessed as appropriate adoptive families. Not everyone is a good choice. I get that. But everyone (gay or straight) should be given the choice to be offer their home and their heart to children in need.

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