Thursday, May 16, 2013

Same-Sex Parenting

I was on one of my discussion boards and ran across the following question:
This has probably been asked a hundred times, but:

Does any one know of any studies into the effects of same-sex parenting on children? I would be grateful for links and/or references. I don't mind how they conclude (i.e. 'for' or 'against' although if they are really scientific they shouldn't use such terms) but it would be good to get a sense of what's out there.
The fact is that this has been asked a hundred (or more) times, but rarely very well.

I mean, which children of same-sex parents are we talking about here?

*The children who come from heterosexual marriages, whose parents divorced and one came out afterwards?

*The children of heterosexual relationships, whose parents broke up and one came out afterwards?

*The children of single parents who are gay or lesbian and who might have dated and possible partnered later on?

*The children of same-sex foster/adoptive parents, who left their birth families due to abuse and/or neglect?

*The children of same-sex adoptive parents, who privately adopted their kids in open adoptions?

*The children of same-sex adoptive parents, who adopted internationally?

*The children of same-sex parents who became parents via surrogacy?

*The children of same-sex parents who became parents via artificial insemination?

*The children of same-sex couples who stay together?

*The children of same-sex couples who break up?

*The children of same-sex couples who break up and re-partner?

Our families come from such diverse backgrounds and origins. When it comes down to it, our kids do no better and no worse than other kids. The same can be said of the children of any parents. However, our children often have challenges that other kids don't have.

Does that mean we shouldn't be parents? No.

Does that mean that our kids would be better off without us? In most cases, no.

My husband and I became parents through foster care and adoption. Our oldest son is mentally disabled. Our other son has visual impairments and is multi-racial. I think we've done great with our kids, of course.

But I wonder how we might rate when compared to the children raised by their married birth families on either side of our home whose children don't have the unique life histories that our children have?

I know a lesbian couple who both had kids from earlier marriages. They later foster parented and adopted six children who'd been horribly abused by their respective parents. Two of the kids are star athletes and students. The rest of severely mentally ill. How do you compare that family to your average married heterosexual household?

I just wish people spent less time trying to support a theory that same-sex parents are great or deficient. Instead of trying to prove a point, why not recognize that each family is unique and all families need respect and societal support?

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