Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday's Thoughts: Gay Adoption

This article came up on Social Workers Speak on 6/9/10: Gay, Lesbian Couples Fit to Adopt.

A study done by researchers from two social work schools shows gay couples are just as fit to adopt as heterosexual ones, according to this article in the Ottawa Citizen.

Paige Averett, an assistant professor of social work at East Carolina University, Blace Nalavany also from East Carolina, and Scott Ryan, dean of the University of Texas School of Social Work Arlington and National Association of Social Workers member, interviewed 1,400 couples from around the nation, including 155 gay and lesbian parents.

They found sexual orientation had no bearing on the emotional development of adopted children. What mattered far more to the children’s well being was whether parents were satisfied with the adoption process, had a stable income and functioned well as a family.

I have very strong thoughts on gay adoption. I live in Florida, which is a pretty conservative state. It was here (Miami-Dade County) that good ole former beauty queen/singer, Anita Bryant, went on her Save Our Children tirade in late 70s, spouting nonsense that gays should not be allowed to adopt "based on conservative Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality and the perceived threat of homosexual recruitment of children for child molestation." There was absolutely no evidence of this, purely based on supposed evilness of gays. [insert barf here] Now, the ban was overturned almost 30 years later because it was unconstitutional and irrational.

Unfortunately, this discrimination was written into the Florida Statutes and thus, is constitutional (unfairly so). People have been trying to remove/revise this statute for years, including myself at this year's NASW Lobby Day in Tallahassee. It never makes it very far due to the still anti-homosexual feelings in this state. It just sickens me.

I'm not turning this post into a religious face-off because I whole-heartedly respect everyone's religious beliefs. However, I cannot accept that people feel they have the right to interfere in other's lives. Yes, I know these individuals feel that children will be living with immoral evil beings and therefore, will grow up to be such themselves. However, I find the idea a bit laughable/ridiculous/unfounded. What makes me even more angry is that homosexuals are allowed to foster children in FL, but they can't adopt them! HOW IN THE BLOODY HELL IS THAT OK? Ridiculous, is what it is.

FINALLY, someone has taken the time to scientifically study children in GLBTQI homes. Granted, only one study is mentioned, but it's a start. I took the time to read the article, which can be found here: Averett, Paige , Nalavany, Blace and Ryan, Scott(2009) 'An Evaluation of Gay/Lesbian and Heterosexual Adoption', Adoption Quarterly, 12: 3, 129 — 151.

Abstract: Many experts in the helping professions have agreed that there is no scientific credence to support a gay and lesbian adoption ban. Nevertheless, there continues to be persistent mythology pertaining to outcomes for children adopted by gay and lesbian parents. This position may be somewhat due to the dearth of research that compares heterosexual and homosexual parenting outcomes with adopted children. To respond to this gap in the literature, this study explored the extent of emotional and behavioral problems among children aged 1.5 to 5 years (n=380) and 6 to 18 years (n=1,004) with gay and lesbian or heterosexual adoptive parents. A multiple regression analysis was used to assess the association between the dependent variables (child internalizing and externalizing behavior) on adoptive parent sexual orientation (gay and lesbian or heterosexual) while controlling for child age, child sex, pre-adoptive maltreatment, co-sibling adoption, adoption preparation, family income, and family functioning. As hypothesized, results indicted that child internalizing and externalizing behavior was not contingent upon adoptive parent sexual orientation. Rather, regardless of sexual orientation, adoptive parents are likely to encounter similar challenges in terms of risk factors for child behavioral problems and mitigating factors of such behavior. Recommendations for practice, policy, and future research are highlighted.

This research study found no significant differences between heterosexual and homosexual parents and had no significant impact on the internalizing or externalizing behaviors of the children.

You don't say? Obviously, you will get bad apple parents with homosexuals, just as you do with heterosexuals. However, that does not mean that all homosexuals are evil incarnate, just like it doesn't mean all heterosexuals are bad parents. Obviously. I actually know someone in my Social Work program who has one of the most successful homosexual parent-child situations I've ever heard of. He and his partner of 9 years have joint custody of his biological daughter. She spends the other half of her time 1 mile down the road at her biological mother and step father's home. That young lady has FOUR LOVING, DEVOTED PARENTS, whereas many children don't even have one. How this is bad for her emotional/physical/mental development is beyond my knowledge. In my opinion, she is one lucky child, who will grow up with a very diverse background, and will have acceptance for those who are different.

The evil mythology surrounding homosexuals and adoption needs to be BUSTED. Too bad we can't get this topic on MythBusters. :)