Tag Archives: gay adoption

The faith of Abraham and Sarah (Gen 12:1-9)

The text  describes  how Abraham was called by the Lord to leave his country, his kindred and his father’s house, and journey to a new land – a call which he dutifully followed, together with his household. This passage from chapter 12 is only part of the story. The continuation in the opening of chapter 18 describes how as a result of his hospitality to three strangers (angels in disguise), he is given a promise that Sarah will conceive a child, in spite of their advanced age. Then in chapter 21 the child, Isaac, is born,

Jan Provoost – Abraham, Sarah, and the Angel (Source: Wikimedia)

The phrases / verses that “speak” to me:

I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Abraham is the one in this passage who is called by the Lord, but in fact we are all called to holiness. Just as the Lord says to Abraham that he will bless all who bless him, and curse all those who curse him, we should understand that we too are addressed in the same way, if we follow that call.  As gay men in the Church, we know what it is to be cursed by those who assume that “gay Christian” is an oxymoron, an impossibility. The Lord promises that such curses will themselves be cursed. But many of us have also experienced a welcome in church, “blessed” by welcoming parishes and other groups. Those too, will be blessed.

And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.

Just as Abraham embarked on a journey to the promised land, we too are on a journey to full inclusion in the Church. Just as his journey was conducted in stages, so we too must understand that our own journey to inclusion will not be concluded in a single step, but will take many stages, some of them difficult.

Here are the bishops’ questions, with some responses:

  • What does it mean for Abram to ‘have faith’? How does Abram listen to God? How does God challenge? What does God promise? How do the family respond? What are their hopes?
  • What hopes do you have for your family?

My hopes for my family are the same as others – that we can continue to flourish, enjoy each others’ achievements and celebrations, and support each other in times of difficulty or sadness. 

In addition, we hope for something other families do not think about – that we can be treated by society, and especially by the Church, with the same dignity and respect as other, more conventional families.

  • What are the ways in which your family ‘listen to God’?

In the past, my partner and I participated together in a CLC (Christian Life Community) group, meeting weekly and sometimes in formal retreats to reflect on where we have God in our lives, and using techniques from Ignatian spirituality to  discern the path He was wanting for us. 

In addition to numerous valuable insights we found about our daily lives, we also found through these evenings and weekends of prayer together, profound affirmation of the value of our relationship

  • What ‘impossible’ things happen in families? In our families, how do we show our ‘trust’ in God and in one another in tough times?

Sometime after my (formal) marriage had broken down, and I had started a new, same – sex  (informal)  marriage, my ex – wife began to make it extremely difficult for me to see my children, and absolutely impossible to see them in the company of my partner.  In this, she was egged on by her family, who were convinced by Catholic teaching that our relationship was obviously sinful, and so I would be a morally unsuitable influence on the girls. As any father will know, to be deprived of access to one’s children is extremely painful, as it was to me.

The outcome however, was the reverse of what mother and her family had intended. As the girls grew older, they insisted on not just access to myself, but even asked to come and live with me – and my partner – , instead of with their mother (which at different times, each of them in fact did, for a period).  Today, they and their own children both have far stronger relationships with me and my partner, than they do with their mother.

As for the fears about my supposedly “poor moral influence”, I take immense pride in the conclusions of my younger daughter. While living with us for some of her high school years, she compared the example she was seeing in our relationship, with what she observed in her classmates’ families . Looking back later as a young woman, she concluded that the grounding in morals and values she had received from our same – sex relationship, was in fact superior to that of many others raised in more conventional families. On that basis, she has stated in print and on-line that “Gay parents? I recommend them” , and has told me that when she sees a young child out with two dads, her instinctive response is “lucky kid”.

  • What does having children, or not having children, bring to a family?

More important that what “having” children brings to the family, is what “raising” children does. 

  • What promises do we make to each other in families?
  • Through this story, what can we know and believe about the promises God makes to us in our own family lives, whatever our circumstances?

The key questions to draw the conversation together:

  • How does this story ‘speak’ to us about our ‘call’ to be a family?
  • How does it speak to our ‘journey’?
  • How does it speak to us about our ‘purpose’ or ‘mission’ as a family?
  • What support do we need from the Church?

For queer families, what we need above all is simple: acceptance and appreciation that same – sex couples can and do, make as good a job as others in raising children. Even though such couples are obviously not capable of creating babies, they are definitely capable of the more challenging task or raising and guiding them to maturity.  Many such couples are successfully engaged in that task, either with the biological children of one partner, or with adopted children.

It is hurtful and offensive to those parents, and especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to raise children whose own biological parents have failed them, that the Church opposes gay adoption and claims, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, that children are somehow harmed when raised by gay parents. 

For the sake of the children, It is essential that the Church should now end its hostility to gay adoption. 

  • What is already available? What needs to be developed?
  • From our family life experience, what do we offer that could enrich the life of the Church?
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Swiss edge closer to gay adoption

Switzerland’s upper house of parliament, the Council of States, decided on Wednesday by 21 votes to 19 to give same-sex couples the right to adopt children.
The Council determined that anyone should be able to adopt a child, regardless of their choice of lifestyle, so long as such adoption would be in the best interests of the child, Swiss news agency SDA reported.
In addition, although the type of marriage would not be a determining factor, applicants seeking to adopt must be in some form of registered partnership.
Those in favour of the change in regulations have pointed to the changing face of family dynamics, and the reality that many children do not grow up in what would be considered “traditional” family constellations.
Urs Schwaller of the Christian Democratic Party said that, while he did not doubt that gay and lesbian people could take of children as well as heterosexuals, there was in his view no need to give them rights to adopt, gay information website GGG.at reported.
Conservative politicians are concerned that the rights of registered partnerships are becoming increasingly aligned to those of traditional marriages, gradually eroding the status of marriage. Schwaller maintained that this is not what the Swiss people want, the website reported.
The lower house, the National Council, must now consider the motion before it can pass into law.
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Same-sex adoptions nod for Tasmania

“TASMANIA will allow same-sex couples to adopt local and overseas children under proposed changes to the state’s adoption laws.
At present, only married couples have full rights under adoption laws in Tasmania.
The proposed amendment has angered the conservative Christian Lobby as the group deems a mother-father relationship the best for raising children. Gay and lesbian rights advocates, however, argue a loving and secure family is best for children regardless of the gender of parents.
The move will allow same-sex couples and de facto couples who are registered under the Relationships Act to adopt an unknown child, whether locally or from overseas.

 

-full report at The Mercury

At present, the law only allows same-sex couples to adopt children who are “known” to them such as stepchildren or relatives.

The amendment will allow same-sex couples to adopt “unknown” children who have been relinquished by their birth parents and are available for adoption to suitable parents.”

‘via Blog this’

Penguin (Gay) Parenting: Lessons for Gay Adoption

A few months ago, the Toronto Zoo was in the news, taking flack for a decision to separate two male penguins who had formed a pair bond.

In China, the authorities at a zoo in northern China have taken the opposite approach.  When they saw that a male pair had been attempting to steal eggs, they took the obvious, rational, decision. They identified a chick in need of parents, and set up an adoption.

While zookeepers at the Toronto Zoo were quick to separate Buddy and Pedro for mating purposes, keepers at Harbin Polar Land embraced their eccentric penguins by not only giving them a same-sex wedding ceremony worthy of Leslie Knope but also providing them with their very own baby chick to care for.
Adam and Steve had a history of stealing eggs from more-traditional couples during hatching season. So when keepers noticed a mother of recently hatched twins struggling with her parenting duties, they decided to give Adam and Steve the baby they were looking for.
While it might seem, well, different for a penguin chick to have two male parents, in fact, all penguins are known to have natural instincts for parenting, as males and females equally share in the responsibility to incubate and care for their chicks, before and after they’re born. For this reason, keepers at Harbin Polar Land  
Read morenewsfeed.time.com
Ignore the “wedding” – that’s just an obvious, gimmicky PR stunt. There are more important lessons here.

First, there is the simple fact that same – sex pairing and sexual behaviours are common in all branches of the animal kingdom. The keepers at Toronto Zoo justified their decision by arguing that the two males had paired only because their were no females available, but this common explanation for animal homosexuality is false. The published scientific research makes it clear that while animal same – sex behaviour may be more common in the artificial conditions of captivity, it also occurs widely in purely natural conditions. (For some species, and for some animals, it may be more common than heterosexual mating).

The parenting impulse is common to all species, and is not restricted to opposite – sex couples. The Chinese penguins’ attempts to steal eggs has been widely observed among same – sex bird pairs of many species, just as many human couples, of any sexual orientation, may seek to adopt when they are unable to conceive themselves.
The Chinese zookeepers  “are confident that Adam and Steve’s chick will grow up to be just like its penguin peers”. They have good reason to be. The empirical evidence from the animal world is that the parenting abilities and success rates for same – sex couples are no worse than for opposite – sex couples, and sometimes better: exactly the same as the findings from empirical research on human gay and lesbian parents.
The commonly repeated argument around gay adoption that it should not be about the equal rights of gay parents, but about the best interests of the child, is sound. Only the usual conclusion is false. The best interests of the child require that s/he be placed with the best available adoptive parents, who just might happen to be a same-sex couple.
In northern China, one penguin chick’s mother was struggling to raise it. The best available adoptive parents were the pair named by the keepers Adam and Steve. Lucky chick, to have found suitable adoptive parents.
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Gay adoption, New Zealand: It "will happen" -Shelley Bridgeman

“A recent Herald-DigiPoll survey found that 54 per cent of people think gay couples should be allowed to adopt children while 36 per cent disagreed. Two years ago a Herald website poll had 41 per cent in favour and 59 per cent against, according to Derek Cheng’s article Majority back gay adoption.
Our collective attitudes towards the rights of gay people are clearly becoming more liberal. Most of us see this as a simple human rights issue. The fact that adopting a child isn’t an option for same-sex couples is discriminatory and doesn’t sit well with our aims of achieving an egalitarian society.”

full report at NZ Herald News 

New Zealand: Majority back gay adoption

A majority of (New Zealnd) voters support changing the law to allow gay couples to adopt children, according to the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey.
Labour and the Greens have pushed the rights of gay people as an election issue, but the National Party has sidelined them as not a priority.
Adoption in New Zealand is governed by the Adoption Act 1955, and Labour and the Greens say the law needs of an update.
More than half – 54.3 per cent – of the poll respondents said the law should be changed to allow gay couples to adopt children, 38 per cent disagreed, and 7.7 per cent did not know or refused to answer.

Green MP Kevin Hague

Green MP Kevin Hague, who has started a cross-party group to find political consensus on gay issues, said the result was pleasing.
“It’s great to see that most New Zealanders now support this, and I’m confident that once it’s in place, that majority will increase even more.
“What should be at the centre of adoption laws is putting the interests of the child first. To do that you’ve got to have all the options on the table.”

Number of gay couples who adopt tripled over last decade

The number of gays and lesbians adopting children has nearly tripled in the last decade despite discriminatory rules in many states, according to an analysis of recent population trends.
“It’s a stratospheric increase. It’s like going from zero to 60,” said Miami attorney Elizabeth Schwartz, who has coordinated more than 100 adoptions for gay and lesbian families in the last year. “I think many really dreamed of doing this but it wasn’t something they ever thought would become a reality.”

About 21,740 same-sex couples had adopted children in 2009, up from 6,477 in 2000, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. About 32,571 adopted children were living with same-sex couples in 2009, up from 8,310 in 2000. The figures are an analysis of newly released Census Bureau estimates.
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