Wow Florida! It's about time you were able to fly!
In October, 2010 a ruling overturned the over 30 year ban on gay and lesbian adoption in the Sunshine State. While gays and lesbians had been permitted to foster parent, under Florida law those in the LGBT community were previously prohibited from becoming adoptive parents. That ruling should finally set you free. Time to celebrate! Right! Or is it?
Last summer I was in Florida to visit family and had the pleasure of meeting my sister’s fiancé’s sister and her partner. What I remember most was their heartfelt tears as they talked about their passion to become parents. They had done their homework; they knew over 6,000 children in their state alone were in the foster care system awaiting adoption. They were heartbroken that adopting was but a pipe dream. Seeing them together, it was obvious they cared about each other and would do whatever necessary to provide a loving, permanent home for a child.
That was pre-ruling. Looking at their options at that time, things seemed bleak. For one thing, they were scared about how to start and even what to do. Should they be honest, they wondered? They could then only foster parent. Should just one of them adopt, and refer to their partner as a “roommate”? Should their house rental be in only one name? Or should they just resign themselves to life without a child? Would it be better to move to a neighboring state, adopt, and eventually relocate back home? No easy answers.
Given the law in force last summer, they decided to foster parent. After the ruling, I heard they are overjoyed at the prospect of legally adopting and as I understand, have officially started the adoption process.
But Florida, now what gives? Just when you are finally granting rights and freedoms, I understand you are considering backpedaling. I (and probably many others) can’t help but wonder why? !
According to an article in the Ft. Lauderdale Examiner on January 27, 2011, Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, wants to overrule the state’s new gay adoption policy. And his new Secretary of the Department of Children and Families appointee, David Wilkins, apparently shares his view.
What -- !?
Would it be more benevolent on their part to talk to those affected by such a tangible overruling? Might they consider such findings before proceeding?—
From the census taken in 2000, only 24% of homes had a married mother and father with children living at home.
The Florida court argues that children are better off raised in a two-parent heterosexual household. In fact, scientific studies have shown that children who grow up in one or two-parent gay or lesbian households fare just as well emotionally and socially as children whose parents are heterosexual. Studies have shown that children are more influenced by their interactions with their parents, than by their sexual orientation. With this in mind, the American Association of Pediatrics supports gay and lesbian couples adopting children.1
Florida LGBT Community, while you should be pinching yourself at the good news, you might be asking: is this still but a dream?
The National Adoption Center tagline reads: “There are no unwanted children, just unfound homes.” It seems there is quite a surplus of unfound homes in Florida that are more than ready to be” found”!
I hope those in Florida’s LGBT community who have already started the adoption process continue toward that goal, despite any bumps or roadblocks. As you wrestle with your courage, realize that many people are rooting for you. At some point, Florida will stop this fight.
Don’t give up. If not now, when? If not you, who? Click your red ruby slippers. Perhaps you could repeat Glinda’s watchword to Dorothy, with a twist: “There is nothing like making a home. There is nothing like making a home. There is nothing like making a home”. You know who you are ready to be: the “found” forever family who will parent your very wanted child with love and integrity.
In this time of confusion, remember the rainbow – such a source of pride and covenant. Rise above the difficulties and fly high under its glorious message!
NEWS! There is an upcoming event open to anyone living in easy driving distance of Philadelphia who would like to explore the options of LGBT adoption. The National Adoption Center’s LGBT Adoption Café will be held on March 10th from 6 – 8 pm. This is an educational event at which a complimentary light dinner will be offered. From explaining the basics of adoption to more probing questions, the panel will answer questions and assist one to advocate for themselves in the adoption process. To register, call 215-735-9988 x304 Beth Vogel.
(1) Taken from “Both Sides of the Issue” Lesbian and Gay Adoption Rights, By Kathy Belge, About.com Guide