Gay adoption in America

My journalism school classmate Clay Wirestone has a fantastic series at the Concord Monitor, describing the stories and struggles of gay and lesbian parents as they adopt and raise children. It starts with the story of his own adoption, with his husband Max, of their now 2-year-old son Baxter. Other entries in the series examine how the legal landscape of gay parenting has changed in the last 20 years; the issues of language, word choice, and gender that GLBT families deal with; and the diverse stories of other families.

Notable Replies

  1. their now 2-year-old son Baxter

    The cute: it burns.

  2. I would simply like to chime in as an adult adoptee. The issue is not whether gay parents are fit or not. The issue is how those who are either marginalized or who see themselves as progressive can avail themselves of a practice and an industry that is, in its exploitation of social inequality, a great violence. Adoption is a mythologized and morally cleansed practice of dispossession and displacement. It is a regressive means of family creation that has its roots in indentured servitude. This is the discussion that needs to take place. Because when Baxter grows up, his issues are going to be greater than dealing with "two daddies". Forgotten here are his needs, but also those of his mother, family, and community. This is the dilemma of adoptees today: We are "burningly cute" until we grow up, speak out, and resist the system that delivered us. This need change.

  3. Foop says:

    What a remarkably shitty way to think about it. You might want to see a shrink. I understand that being given up for adoption, or being adopted out via termination of parental rights can be an emotionally injurious experience and can leave a number of questions lingering and unanswered about why what happened happened, but mis-characterizing current US adoption law and practice as purposefully dispossessing birth parents and displacing kids solely for the good of people that want a family and can't, biologically, create one demonstrates that you are clearly unable to evaluate the practice fairly or with concern for anyone but yourself.

    As someone that work in adoption, I primarily deal with adoptive couples that are, for one reason or another, unable to have their own biological children or are able to but want to give a home to a child that might not otherwise have a stable environment. This happens most often with a mother that wants to give a child up for adoption and a father that consents to the adoption either explicitly or implicitly (usually through abandoning the mother during pregnancy or after birth. The period of abandonment sufficient to give implied consent in my state is six months and, honestly, if you knock a girl up and abandon her for six months then you should have your right to object waived for you forcibly.) The cases we see are most often young, single women who have an unintended pregnancy, are not comfortable terminating that pregnancy (in my state it's typically because of religious brainwashing.) and who are unable to pay the medical bills associated with the pregnancy and birth, nor would they be able to pay for proper care, medical and otherwise, for the child after birth.

    We do complete some DHR adoptions, which are different often in terms of the socioeconomic level of the adoptive parents, the typical sociioeconomic levle of the birth parent(s), and in that the child(ren) have been removed from the care of the natural parent(s) by the state whereupon the parental rights are terminated. Removing a child from the care of the natural parent and terminating their parental rights is no small matter, there are multiple levels of potential appeal, and the strong presumption that the best place for a child to be is with their natural family must be overcome. It takes quite a bit and, generally speaking, a terrible, unhealthy, and unstable environment in order to remove a child from a home. It's not a happy situation for anyone, but it is done for the best interests of the child.

    If you're talking about the pre-ICWA removal of indian children to non-indian homes, sure, there's plenty of reason to be bitter and that is a different matter entirely (and one that spawned a federal act giving the tribe(s) first option on adopting a child of indian descent, but railing against a system that has formed many happy families is... limited in scope and you've provided no actual support for your position other than your generally negative feelings towards the practice and the implication that indentured servitude taints all adoptions today because of their roots.

    Now, the issue pertaining to the article is that, in my state, there is a strong presumption, formed by case law, that being placed with homosexual parent is not in the best interest of the child (which is the standard used in child custody cases, so if you have a child from a marriage, then terminate that marriage and one of the former couple is homosexual, that person is NOT getting custody of the child.) and same sex couples are not recognized in my state. Our adoption statute requires that there be an adoptive married couple, who have been married at least one year. Since there is no state recognition of marriage for same sex couples here, they cannot adopt.

    While states should have some rights, the right to discriminate should not be one of them and I look forward to the day that homosexuals are classified as a group that has been historically discriminated against sufficiently to invoke strict scrutiny of any laws treating them differently.

  4. Foop says:

    The birth certificate held at vital records is changed because adoptions are a private matter and the court files are sealed. Keeping two birth certificates in publicly accessible records would go completely against the privacy afforded adoption, potentially create confusion, and be an absolute nightmare when attempting to verify who you were later in life. My firm has dealt with a number of cases where adoptees who reached the age of majority were attempting to travel or obtain a passport and would up being held temporarily for fraud or on suspicion of being a terrorist trying to enter or leave the US with false documents because, when the adoption was performed, things were not done properly. In addition to that, the birth certificate does not have to be changed. It is changed once the final decree of adoption is issued, sent to the department of vital statistics for the state, and the adoptive parents apply for a new and updated birth certificate.

    Your outrage at the fact that birth certificates are updated to reflect that, for all legal purposes, the adoptive couple are now as if the child had been born naturally to them is....confusing. You argument seems to be that "vital records should not be changed, for some reason I have not really specified aside from asserting that they are inviolate,a dn I am mad that they are being changed." You then go on to point out that other important records are frequently changed. Ummmm, indeed they are. Get over it. The cause of death or anything else can be changed on a death certificate by order of the court or due to a scrivener's error. You act like this shit's written in stone and it's not, but you can't go changing it just because you feel like it.

    I'm not asserting that adoption is corruption free, hell, there are a couple of attorneys in town that are more than a little sketchy, but claiming that adoption is overrun with baby thieves aided by politicians that are scheming to deprive natural parents of their children is vastly overstating the case and ignoring all the safeguards in effect to prevent this, particularly in interstate adoptions.

  5. What a cutie! It's amazing how a little bitty human being can render an adult into a grinning goof ready to wait on them hand and foot. Good for the Dads and little Baxter. Adoption is a fine gift for all involved whether the kids are new born or a bit shop worn from life. Thanks for the story.

Continue the discussion

9 more replies