A FOSTER CARE STORY

I don’t write about my thoughts about gay parenting. I really don’t see lesbians being an issue with parenting. Some of my friends see it differently. Social studies on this issue tend to agree that there are not that many issues. If there are issues, they are of a different variety. I stumbled across this poster. I felt that it should be posted here in the general adoption category. I can see gay foster parents doing some good in repairing the wounds of abused children. I can see their preferences teaching kids that not all people are abusive. If a girl was raped by a father/uncle/family friend, then placing the child in a lesbian home could give the girl a chance to breath and heal. The same applies for a boy.

Here is the article:

If irony is defined as the gap existing between what should be and what is, then the following story fits that definition. Legal actions are still pending and there may be months – or even years -of litigation yet to come, so I´m not at liberty to divulge identifying details. In that light, I have altered some information so as to hopefully confound speculation. Despite some smoke and mirrors, the core story here is still accurate. I have it from a highly reliable source. So, sit back and take a few notes. Your heart may ache at the tale or you may just get angry enough to kick your butt into action. Here goes:

A stable, monogamous and long time committed lesbian couple, living in a state whose laws reflect a greater concern with the best interest of the child than the sexual orientation of foster and adoptive parents, decided to open their home for foster care. Interested also in eventual adoption, they submitted to rigorous investigation, background checks and weeks of required training before finally being fully certified by the required state agencies.

Over a period of months, the quality of their care and attention to those children placed in their home became widely known. Their home moved quickly to the top of the “choice” list of available placements. Whenever a local case-worker had need for a placement, even for a child so damaged and behaviorally difficult that other homes had turned them down, their home was an open door. At times, there were as many as five or six kids ranging in age from infancy to mid-teens living with them. The logistics of transporting the kids back and forth to different schools, doctors appointments and for frequent shopping trips would give a mathematician a migraine. But somehow they managed. Even when a kid was placed late at night, with nothing but the cloths on his or her back, they managed. Even with there were complicating medical issues, they managed. They seemed to have endless reserves of love and care even for children they knew would be with them only for short periods while “heterosexual” family of origin problems were dealt with.

One child in particular, showing the medical signs of physical abuse, became so acutely ill that after only a brief time in their home, the injuries required emergency hospitalization and extensive surgery that could only be done in a hospital far from their home. Many foster parents, faced with such a situation, would have turned the child back to the social workers saying they could not be responsible. But not this exceptional couple. They arranged and rotated schedules (took personal vacation and sick days from their employment) so that the child – hospitalized for nearly two weeks – had one of them in attendance 24 hours a day, seven days a week….often sleeping in chairs in the infants room and only leaving when relief showed-up. They did this not once, but twice when the child required a second hospitalization for continuing serious complications. To some, this level of commitment may seem exceptional, but to this couple it was a non-issue. They would have it no other way. Their altruistic humanity extended to a child they barely knew – but non-the-less was one they also knew had been battered and abused by other adults and needed some consistent love and affection more than possibly even the medical therapies being provided.

The other part of this story constitutes the head scratching irony. Both before and while all this was going on, the couple, given charge of yet another infant who they hoped might be adoptable, found themselves facing a rabid and irrational fundamentalist lawyer (State Guardian for the infant). This attorney, discovering that the foster home was that of a lesbian couple decided his child must be immediately removed to protect it from physical and emotional harm that he just “knew” (because his religion told him so) would be present in the home of “people like that”. He filed suite against the Department in charge of the child´s placement. He even managed a court hearing in which an uninformed judge allowed him to bring in from out of state a supposed “expert” witness to testify regarding the “destructive influences of gay couples acting in parental roles”. It mattered not that this “witness” had long ago been discredited by all professional human behavior agencies and specifically repudiated by his own State´s professional organization. The judge still allowed the man´s discredited ideas into the record and even saw to it that his outrageous fees were paid out of state tax dollars. It matted not that the Judge was provided with reams of written materials documenting how the supposed expert witness has lied and distorted previous studies – nor did it matter that this witness seemed to make his entire living on the backs of his anti-gay campaign and had become so discredited that only the most blind of anti-gay fundamentalist would even think of quoting him. It mattered not that every responsible mental health and medical agency dealing with the issue of child care and adoption found no scientifically verifiable reason to believe that children raised by gay parents were in any significant way emotionally damaged or any more “at risk” than in the typical heterosexual home.

It mattered not that the American Academy of Pediatrics (among a whole list of human services and medical organizations) had previously taken a stand that adoption by gay parents and gay parenting in general did not present real or significant emotional dangers to children.

None of this mattered. Only the blind and uniformed prejudice ranging across the board from lawyer to seated judge to maligning rabid “expert” witness seemed to carry weight. The recommendations of the Child Care Department both local and state level seemed of little interest to the Judge. He had already gone on record as saying (paradoxically) that while the child could stay temporary in the “lesbian home”, if the women moved to adopt, he would not “tolerate” this and would have the child “removed immediately.”

To say the least, these women have grown very close to the child they are hoping to adopt. As this is written, litigation is still pending. Outcomes are uncertain and, as might be understandable, the anxiety levels are pretty darn high for them…..even now as they rush a second time to be at the side of the one little kid…who is sick and badly damaged because some heterosexual idiot didn´t like the way the infant cried.

This is a situation that should not be happening. Until courts and judges and lawyers are made to abide by sound and accurate social science information instead of responding to prejudice, bigotry and the pseudo-science offered by far right fundamentalist religious folk, such injustices and ironies will unfortunately continue.

Until the people demand better. Untill the best interests of the child are truely the guideposts for the court system.

I think this man did an excellent piece on this. So if you get the chance visit him.

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