Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fair Adoption. Let's get on with it!

I am going to be participating in Florida Lobby Day this year. Social Work students from all of Florida's universities head to the state capital to advocate for issues that we deem important. It gives us a chance to speak up for the groups of people that we support and assist, groups who don't have much a voice in the political realm. Last night, I attended Advocacy Training at school on how to speak to your officials and how the government branches work. The day before Lobby Day, we will meet with NASW in Tallahassee, who will give us more in-depth on the issues and approaching our reps.

I've decided to advocate for Fair Adoption in FL. The Florida Adoption Statue is so ugly. Statue 63.042(3) reads: No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual. It is no secret that FL sits high on the anti-gay meter, as this population of people receive no rights in this state. It is also no secret that this particular bill has been submitted numerous times, and it is continuously dismissed. This legislative session most likely will be no different. However, the sponsor of the bill, Florida Senator Nan Rich and Florida Representative Mary Brandenburg, has been putting the issue in front of the committees since 2007. Someone realizes its importance!

I learned that Anita Bryant mucked things up in 1977. She lead a campaign to repeal the prohibition on the basis of sexual orientation in the name of the Save Our Children. Her conservative Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality led her to ridiculous thoughts of homosexual recruitment of children for molestation! In case you did not know, homosexuals are allowed to foster children in Florida, but not adopt. So, let's say a parents' rights are terminated. The child, who has likely been in foster care (there are other options, of course) for some time, and may have bonded with the foster parents, cannot be adopted by them! This law has done significant damage to children in foster care by not allowing the best interest of the child to be considered on a case-by-case basis. And this came next: Curtis Peterson, the lead Senate sponsor, said upon passage of the ban, “We’re trying to send [homosexuals] a message. We’re really tired of you. We wish you’d go back into the closet.”

Obviously, this was 33 years ago and society has progressed. However, many of us are still stuck in paleolithic thinking. We need to think about the thousands of children who bounce from foster home to foster home, and the thousands of parents who could be their new family. We are not thinking about the best interest of the child. We are letting our unfounded biases interfere. It is NOT fair. And don't hand me that "life isn't fair" line. This is 2010 and we are no longer wearing loin cloth. WE ARE ALL HUMAN. We all deserve the opportunity to parent, and we all deserve the opportunity to be cared for by loving parents.

We need serious change here. I am only one person, but I will speak for many.