Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Adoption - That's so Gay!

Let me preface this little diatribe by first saying that I don't have any 'gay' friends apart from the lovely one's I've never met through the blog. I have of course met one or two as casual acquaintances. I do have a few friends who have fostered and/or adopted children into defacto, single and/or married relationships. So feel free to shoot me down in flames!

On my way home tonight, I was stuck in traffic as usual, listening to a magazine show called "Hack" which was discussing the issue of gay adoption. Pricked my ears it did. Apparently, if you're a single gay, you can foster and adopt a child. If your a single heterosexual, you can foster and adopt. If you're in a relationship, you can foster but not adopt and of course Australia being conservative despite Sydney being the 'gay' capital of the Southern Hemisphere, marriage between same sex couples is also, shamefully, still not legal.

I listened to two incredible women who had fostered two children, one child is now 10 the other 8. Well adjusted, doing just fine at school, normal, much loved but the concern of these two women was that because they couldn't adopt the children as a couple, (Currently, gays and lesbians, as individuals, can adopt children, subject to the same process of screening for suitability as heterosexual men and women.)

What happens to the kids in the event that both killed/die whilst their charges are underage. The Department of Community Services (DOCS) who oversee fostering and adoption would have all power of attorney over the children despite the wishes of their 'parents' and any codicil in their Wills. What happens in terms of property settlement since both women have adopted a different child . .it's messy to say the least. The couple had recently placed Submissions before the New South Wales Parliament inquiry into same sex adoption, submissions closed on February 13, 2009.

This made me pretty angry given that recently a distraught father tossed his three year old over a bridge in Melbourne and killed her. Another mad single mother stuck her baby in a tumble dryer. Another defacto threesome tied their toddler to the hills hoist and had a drug infused party watching the child spin to her death . . .for goodness sake . . and I mean 'goodness'. We have so many ill equipped heterosexual parents with natural and adopted children who abuse, misuse, terrify, overdiscipline, underdiscipline, hate, abhor, mistreat and harm their children, why on earth is there this fear of letting same sex couples provide a home for children who are already unwanted or unable to be cared for by their birth parents.

This particular couple are currently going through court to try to change the rules. As it stands, their children are interviewed regularly by DOCS to ensure they're 'balanced' and happy. They have no issue with their same sex parents and want to be adopted by both, not just one each by one each.

Here's the anomaly . . same sex couples can have their own baby via IVF . . .same sex couples are treated equally in terms of tax, social security, ownership and defacto rules, same sex couples can foster . . .they can't marry, they can't adopt. Can someone please tell me what's wrong with this scenario?

I've been a single mother since my children were 2 and 4 years old. they had the benefit of uncles and a grandfather (I'm sure that same sex couples have parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews too!). I have never met better 'adjusted' kids, they were raised in an atmosphere of love, affection, independence, creativity, warmth and discipline. They're unspoiled, issue free, comfortable in their own skin and with the way they were brought up. In fact, my son has turned out to be the most masculine, blokey, all burping, all farting, beer swilling explosives expert without the influence of a father - God knows what he'd be like with a little male encouragement.

So for goodness sakes, let some sense prevail here and if you're really concerned about the welfare of children recognised that there's a need. Let these kids be adopted by their foster parents and enjoy the security that is every child's right within a family, no matter how unconventional that family might be. Let's face it. It's 2009, the notion of the nuclear family is long gone. We now enjoy extended families, single families, blended families, inter-racial families. . there is no 'normal', no stereotypical.

Of course the Australian Christian Lobby does not believe that same sex adoption (any more than same sex marriage) is in the 'best interest of the children who as a consequence will miss out on the love and affection of both a mother and a father'. Well poo on you! My kids didn't know their father and they're none the worse for it! If anything, they're stronger, brighter, more independent, worldly, affectionate and certainly more understanding of unconventional families as they are of unconditional love. I don't care if you're three-legged, six-fingered, black blue or bohemian . . .if you're capable of providing a safe, loving and warm refuge for a child in foster care and then want to take that extra selfless step of adopting . . go for it!

There. It had to be said. Let the debate begin.


Grow Up said...

Allowing fostering but not adoption makes absolutely no sense. As for people mistreating their kids, they should be locked in a small box and chucked in a deep hole, I really cannot stand that shit, there is no excuse for it, seriously, I'd have fucking concentration camps for those people, they're worse than animals.

Bimbimbie said...

Couldn't agree more Baino - a loving, safe home is surely the most important requirement for any child no matter how many parents of whatever sex are waiting with open arms and heart for them.

We need to get the religious bigots out of politics.

Baino said...

Look there are parents good and bad, single and couples I just don't see what sex you are has to do with being a good parent. I know neglectful mothers, bullying fathers . .GrowUp you wouldn't believe the atrocities that I've heard of in our hemisphere over the past couple of weeks, it would make you weep!

Well Bimbimbie we're of the same mind and I agree but would probably refer to them as religious zealots or the 'far right'. Church and State should remain totally separate. Fat chance!

tut-tut said...

It's all about exculsion, isn't it? All these religious righters claim to include everyone, but that's not what they're all about at all.

ian said...


The bizarre thing is that the conservative Christian conception of 'family' owes much more to capitalist, industrialized, urban society than it does to biblical models of 'family', which are frequently unconventional.

hokgardner said...

You should try being in the Bible belt of America. "Christian" conservatives here would be happiest to send all gays off to their own island somewhere rather than let gays or lesbian have any rights or protection whatsoever. It's shameful.

kj said...

sweet baino, i'll be back with my own perspective and two cents after a day of work...

Anonymous said...

One of the arguments was that by allowing the the same sex "parents" to adopt, that it would have influence on the child to accept that union was O.K. That the child would also turn gay. That's total B.S. And as far as your DOCS system goes, it sounds a little better than our DSS, here in Massachusetts. I won't go in to the horror stories, here.

nick said...

The important thing in bringing up children is to love them, to realise their potential and to raise them to be mature, responsible adults. Anyone is capable of that, be they gay, straight, black, white, whatever. The objections to gay couples adopting are just pure unsubstantiated prejudice. All I can say to these bigots is, wake up and grow up!

Susan said...

I'm with you on that: when a child is safe and loved, nothing else matters. If we had more children being raised to a happy healthy adulthood by 'unconventional' parents, who knows what could happen: we might have a more tolerant and less hateful world in a few generations.

Good luck to the ladies you mentioned, and their kids: I'll keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

laughingwolf said...

nothing to debate, baino, i'm in total agreement

luckily we had a federal liberal government when they passed the law allowing same sex marriage, though when the minority conservatives came in, they tried to overturn that... and it seems to be still on their agenda, if temporarily on the back burner

Jay said...

"I don't care if you're three-legged, six-fingered, black blue or bohemian . . .if you're capable of providing a safe, loving and warm refuge for a child in foster care and then want to take that extra selfless step of adopting . . go for it!"

And that's the bottom line, isn't it? I was reading through your blog thinking 'yes, it's all true and it's all very unequal, and it's similar to the 'whites can't adopt black kids' rule we have here. Oh, I don't think it's actually spelled out as prohibited, but you just try it! It's impossible. Apparently, the powers that be would rather have black kids languishing in the pitiful system that passes for 'care' than have them adopted into a loving white family for fear they will lose their cultural identity.

My brother and SIL adopted two black children before this non-rule rule was put in place, and they are now great and beautiful young people. One, indeed, has chosen to move into spare rooms in her mother's house with her new husband and baby. Her husband, by the way, is black. Doesn't seem like she lost out, does it? On the contrary, she benefitted from a very loving family environment, even though my brother died young and her adolescence was spent in a 'single' white mother family.

I think that this, and the 'gays can't adopt as a couple' thing, make a mockery of the system - which is supposed to be there to get children into decent families as soon as possible.

Or am I being naive in thinking that's their aim?

mouse (aka kimy) said...

no debate needed you said it all with this:
"if you're capable of providing a safe, loving and warm refuge for a child in foster care and then want to take that extra selfless step of adopting . . go for it!"

gay rights are human rights! this concept is catching on, but not without opposition....but we fight the hate we will get there....

Terence McDanger said...

You can't start a debate when you've already begun and ended it yourself Baino.

You nailed that one to the wall good n'proper.

Kath Lockett said...

Brilliantly put, Baino. Now how about sending this as an article to the SMH and whichever stupid government department has their heads up their arses?

River said...

The "legal" issues certainly need sorting out. As you said, the kids are balanced, happy, very well cared for, so why not allow the adoption? I see no reason at all why it shouldn't be allowed.

Megan said...

I read this earlier today but was too busy to reply.

And now I'm just too angry.

You rock, though, Baino! I've got to start writing more meaningful posts like this...

Cuppa Jo said...

It's so interesting to hear how things are in other places outside of California and the US. I know quite a few gay couples, some have adopted too. Kids from the foster systems as well as children from places like China. However, now I think of it, since in CA at least, gay marriage is not deemed legal, I begin to wonder if both domestic partners are the parents or only one. Makes me want to ask, but it's never occurred to me before. These are friends who in my opinion, because it's their opinions regardless of what Prop 8 and its supporters think, they are married.

It's disconcerting, as a great many other things, that good people are denied something that not the best of people, and sometimes very bad people, are given outright.

Disconcerting and disheartening.

Still, allowing fostering but not adoption for some but not for all, regardless of country or government makes no sense whatsoever. It's not just the 'religious'; it's the fearful. They are the ones who are causing these problems. The fearful.

Baino said...

tut-tut - I'm not actually targetting the religious right, that just happens to be where the quote comes from. I think it's broader than that. Fear as Cuppa Joe mentions, inability to change or adapt?

You know Ian I actually thought about that. I mean Biblical families were in themselves unconventional and extended. A lot of begatting and begetting? I think Queen Victoria has a lot to answer for frankly!

Hok, I'm in the Bible Belt of Sydney but again, I'm not trashing religious values, just general conservatism. Sadly the two often go together.

I'd be very interested in your perspective kj

Well as we know, you don't turn gay Subby! You might come out but I firmly believe you're born gay. DOCS mean well but they're underfunded and stretched. I suspect they see this as a minor incursion on many bigger problems that they have to deal with.

Bigots indeed Nick. Far too many of them I think. Sometimes I wish people would just mind their own business . . settle their own affairs.

Hmm, prolly never find out what the upshot is Suze. Apparently they've made their wishes known in their Will and what happens to the kids in the event of their demise will still be at the discretion of DOCS

Well Hooray for Canada Wuffa! Brave move and see . . the sky hasn't fallen in!

Jay, I'm shocked, really shocked. White parents can't adopt black kids? My friends are white and adopted two Indian girls . . it's quite common here to see particularly asian children with white parents. And no you're not being naive, your story proves that it can work to the child's benefit.

Kim,nail on the head. It's human rights we should be considering not gay/black/religious . . .human rights.

GAH Moo! Nobody will fight with me today and I'm so in the mood to get my dukes up!

Nah Kath you're the 'public' figure. Not sure what Department's responsible but maybe the commission will come up with something positive once it's findings have been collated.

Me either River. . nonsensical given that the children are already living with the couple.

Haha . . well Megan, they're few and far between these days but if something gets up my nose, I have to have a moan.

Cuppa, I couldn't have put it better. 'Fearful' is much better than picking on say the religious right or bigots .. people are always afraid of what they don't understand. Our task is to help them reach that understanding.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. The mind boogles at the injustice. I hope these women win this extremely important battle. Great post!

Sandy Kessler said...

quite interesting - so judgemental society is - yet little children are abused and killed daily - gon't get it ./sandy

Gledwood said...

Adoption rules are so shamefully draconian in this country they barely let straight people take on little kids, let alone lesbian or gay... (and yet anyone lucky enough to be fertile can breed like cockroaches with no compulsion to answer for anything...)

hmmm: can't remember what on earth I was going to say now. Except my hamsters. At last. Are starring in a very scruffy video at my main blog online on Youtube. Wow!!!

Baino said...

Thanks Conor, means a lot coming from you and I couldn't agree more.

Me either Sandy. Life is too short for gay/straight/black/white. Especially tonight as I have had some bad news that really puts life and humanity into perspective.

Sense from you also Gleds. Post those vids. You're the only person I know who can tie hamsters into a serious post on adoption .. .

laughingwolf said...

not yet, but i fear what could happen IF the conservatives win a majority, even a slim one :(

they seem also hellbent to reverse our abortion laws.... grrrrrrr

Christopher said...

Baino, I don't want to argue with you because I'm in complete agreement. As far as I know there are two arguments against allowing same-sex couples to adopt. As at least one other person mentioned, there's the fear that the child will turn out gay. Well, there are a lot of gay kids with heterosexual parents (and before artificial insemination, every gay kid had heterosexual parents even if they weren't raised by them), so obviously learning by example doesn't work. And if adopted/fostered kids of gay parents do turn out gay, so what? It's not as though there are so many homosexuals adopting kids that they'll turn the whole world gay.

The second concern, which, again, at least one other person raised, is that gay couples can't marry, so supposedly they won't provide the same level of stability as heterosexual married couples. Considering how easy it is to get divorced that's a non-argument. And if it's really a problem, there's a simple solution: allow same-sex couples to marry.