Ware Farms

Speaking truth to prejudice

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

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Gay and Lesbian Adoptions

Dear Catherine & David,

You mention that we should not try something new like gay adoption or gay marriage until gays can "prove" that this would not lead to some harm in any way. This idea would lead to the end of all progress since one can never prove the negative, of course.

From the 2000 census we find that nearly 4,000,000 children are being raised by at least one gay parent. The majority of these, about 85%, are the result of a previous heterosexual marriage. There are 416,000 children being raised in households led by a same sex couple.

So children being raised by gays and gay couples already exist. These latter are the children in the studies comparing children raised by same sex verses opposite sex couples I mentioned earlier. When a divorced woman later remarries, the laws of every state allow the step-father to adopt the woman's children. Some states allow the partner in a recognized same sex relationship to adopt the partner's children. Many states say that only a person married to the child's legal (biological) parent can be considered in a potential adoption. Since gays cannot legally marry in all but one state, this automatically leaves them out. Other states say that gays in a civil union or who are registered domestic partners can adopt their same sex partner's children. Nine states and DC allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt jointly.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has always encouraged step-parents to adopt their mates children, since having two legally responsible parents serves the child's best interest far better than having just one. The AAP recognizes that these benefits would apply to children of gay couples as well and therefore supports legislation which would allow second parent adoption by gay partners.

Family court matters have always been the jurisdiction of each state. Reciprocity agreements among the states have, in the past, always ensured that domestic matters settled in one state's courts would be honored in every other. Custody, child support, divorce, adoption and so on are each state's prerogative. The Defense of Marriage Act has thrown this civility into abject confusion.

In an adoption, the judges court order, the adoption agency's investigation, the original birth certificate and so on are placed under a seal of confidentiality. The state of birth then issues a new birth certificate listing the adoptive couple as parents. This is needed when entering kindergarten, applying for a passport and so on. This is to ensure that these children are not discriminated against as a result of their status and allows the adoptive parents to determine when and how these children will be informed that they are adopted.

Yet it took a federal court order to get Virginia to issue a new birth certificate for a lesbian couple who adopted a child in one of the 21 states that allows both parents in a gay couple to adopt as recommended by many health organizations. This birth certificate is for the child's benefit, not the parents. It allows the child to be included on either parents health insurance, for example. Delaying this birth certificate certainly showed no concern for the well fare of the child in this instance.

So letting gays adopt would not be an experiment, it's already a fact in the many cases sited above. More information is available at the About Adoption web site.

Love, Dad

22 Comments:

At 7/13/2005 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just so you know Bill, I check your blog every day. I always enjoy your commentary, but I don't comment often because you rarely leave anything unsaid.

Keep up the good work.

 
At 7/13/2005 3:36 PM, Blogger On Lawn said...

This idea would lead to the end of all progress since one can never prove the negative, of course.

Of course you realize that can prove a negative.

Striking again however that your plea for being excused from a requirement is based on a falsley posited inability.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has always encouraged step-parents to adopt their mates children

Again this is odd advise. The consensus of the scientific data shows that re-marrying poses additional hardships on children. Indeed a step-family statistically looks like a single-parent family. Only step-families have an increased risk of abandonment issues and sexual molestation.

Also the re-bandaging of the family is most often moot as homosexual couples are far less likely to stay together.

Sowing the wind and reeping the whirlwind, the loss of family intactness is a growing burden on our society. As is pointed out elsewhere there is even a growing demand for potential fathers who will never play a role in their children's life. It seems that establishing marriage as even more of a bandage (which it does not work very well in this capacity) instead of a foundation for a family is just sowing more hot air.

 
At 7/13/2005 4:29 PM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

The AAP advice is not "Odd." It is based on the idea that having two parents who are legallly responsible for the child's wellbeing is better than one.

Results from Vermount which has had Civil Unions for five years and Mass which has had SSM for one show no differences in the rate of breakups of SS couples than OS couples who married during the same time periods. The fact that uncommitted SS couples break up at a higher rate is not relevant.

Step families are not a good model for SS families since they introduce a person who is a rivel to the absent parent while SS couples do not.

 
At 7/14/2005 3:15 PM, Blogger On Lawn said...

The AAP advice is not "Odd." It is based on the idea that having two parents who are legallly responsible for the child's wellbeing is better than one.

As a political statement, it may not be odd. But as a research group based in science it is. From Barbara Defoe Whitehead in 1998:

-- Clearly, [some naturally assume] most children are better off economically when they are able to share in the income of two adults. When a second adult joins the household, there may be a reduction in the time and work pressures on the single parent.

The research overturns this optimistic assumption, however. In general the evidence suggests that remarriage neither reproduces nor restores the intact family structure, even when it brings more income and a second adult into the household. Quite the contrary. Indeed, children living with stepparents appear to be even more disadvantaged than children living in a stable single-parent family. Other difficulties seem to offset the advantages of extra income and an extra pair of hands. However much our modern sympathies reject the fairy-tale portrait of stepparents, the latest research confirms that the old stories are anthropologically quite accurate. Stepfamilies disrupt established loyalties, create new uncertainties, provoke deep anxieties, and sometimes threaten a child's physical safety as well as emotional security. --

Results from Vermount which has had Civil Unions for five years and Mass which has had SSM for one show no differences in the rate of breakups of SS couples than OS couples who married during the same time periods.

I can guess where your research comes from, and right now the common belief is that the number is deflated due to the number of people in that group that have already shown longevity in relatinoships by waiting for gay marraige in the first place. In time it is expected to match research from Sweden that shows:

-- The survey revealed a high rate of legal divorce among homosexual couples in Sweden. Gay male couples were 50% more likely to divorce within an eight-year period than were heterosexuals; and lesbian couples were 167% more likely to divorce than heterosexual couples. --

What is important to note is also that even in your studies lesbians seem to divorce more often and more likely to have children in the home. Whether the difference is gender based or a correlation to the children may be speculation at this point.

My guess, a couple that does not learn to love someone of the opposite sex is less likely to extend the love neccissary to withstand the demands of children. However it appears that couples without children are more likely to divorce, just as with heterosexuals.

 
At 7/15/2005 6:14 PM, Anonymous John said...

I've read all the studies; I've looked at the statistics. Irrelevant all.

Adoption decisions are made on a case by case basis.

To ban gay couples from adopting a chils seem to me to be just plain bigotry.

 
At 7/16/2005 9:21 AM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

John beat me to it. The biased Whitehead study is irrelevant.

However the two people got together, marriage, remarriage, gay or straight, it's better for a child to have two legal parents rather than just one.

 
At 7/19/2005 6:20 PM, Blogger On Lawn said...

John: I've read all the studies; I've looked at the statistics. Irrelevant all. [...] seem to me to be just plain bigotry.

Bill: John beat me to it. The biased Whitehead study is irrelevant.

There is a word for those that dismiss evidence to forward a pre-conceived notion, just as you two are doing. This is the part I always feel so dubious about. Sooner or later even the most rationally presented arguments presented in favor of SS"m" and the like melt in the scrutiny only to find petty name calling.

Its called "prejudice" when people try to say studies are irrelevant but name-calling is, and apparently I'm not the one who suffers from it.

 
At 7/20/2005 12:18 AM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

The Whitehead study which is about step families is irrelevant to the topic at hand which is gay adoption. Please stay on topic.

 
At 7/20/2005 12:52 PM, Anonymous John said...

Actually I meant that I think that all of these studies are irrelevant.

We are all just people. Some of us will make good parents, some will not.

Adoption is case by case. You can't predict a couple's parenting ability based on a study.

 
At 7/20/2005 5:59 PM, Blogger On Lawn said...

Bill: The Whitehead study which is about step families is irrelevant to the topic at hand which is gay adoption. Please stay on topic.

Adoption and step families? The tie-in was provided by yourself:

-- The American Academy of Pediatrics has always encouraged step-parents to adopt their mates children --

Thus the study became relevant in why the AAP was engaging in political agenda rather than research based results in that very statement.

Further questions are raised by the American College of Pediatrics on the issue more specific to adoption:

-- Given the current body of research, the American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting... This position is rooted in the best available science. --

Though your change in attitude that brought about this attempt to dismiss evidence by means other than name-calling is encouraging. You are welcome to check out the studies involved by clicking on the link provided. I hope to continue to see you dealing with science and put aside the invectives.

John: You can't predict a couple's parenting ability based on a study.

Rather than the futile attempt to engage the government in fortune telling, we write laws based on principles that we find bring us success. I wrote this just a little while ago:

--The reasoning for this is not too difficult to grasp. It seems that children born in households that have parents who are committed to married are less of a drain on society. In fact, it would appear that with every qualifier we use to modify "parent" marks a step away from this ideal arrangement. And subsequently they don't do as well at parenting.

Generally, adoptive parents experience obstacles in raising their child that the ideal situation does not. Step-parents married to divorces experience even more. A step parent who is simply co-habiting with a parent, or parents who were never married seem to have an even tougher row to hoe. Foster parents seem to have even more obstacles to rearing children than the rest. The more obstacles the more we see a greater risk failure.

So while it seems like a wacky plot line in a Joseph Heller book or Pogo cartoon, the answer we are told is the socially conservative option is to do away with the obstacles. If we simply call them all parents, and in so doing make them all marriageable. The obstacles, one would conclude, are created by the distinctions rather than the distinctions created to demarcate the obstacles.--

In establishing and supporting principles of good governance and family, studies are not irrelevant.

 
At 7/21/2005 7:20 AM, Anonymous John said...

If your position is as I think it is, that children are best served in a family with parents who are committed to each other and the well-being of their children, then you'll get no argument from me.

All of these studies may indeed show that non-traditional families have to face greater challenges, but so what?

In my view, if the government needs to get involved at all, it should be to help, wherever possible, alleviate the challenges that non-traditional families face.

 
At 7/21/2005 11:29 AM, Blogger On Lawn said...

Interesting you should say that John, take for instance the group with the highest set of challenges -- Foster parents.

Foster parents in most cases that I know of get money from the state to raise the children, are accredited through training and checked up on regularly by the state.

Yet, they have the *worst* record of the groups I mentioned. I also happened to have had a foster brother.

But then we are seemingly devolving back into the apparently "off-topic" look of how little to no value marriage is as an imposed solution, whether it by poppa with a shotgun or the state as a bandage.

(Odd that, the argument that "they have kids get them married" is the rational of the shotgun wedding, and one of the main reasons divorce is so high in the south.)

But I remain that correct principles do far more than laws in establishing happy societies. We take things case by case and that is good, but what do you have other than principles in making such decisions?

 
At 7/21/2005 3:23 PM, Anonymous John said...

On Lawn,

I support same-sex marriage.

Other than that, there is little disagreement between us.

I agree with you comletely that the law is often not the best tool. (Indeed,I think you were impying that it can make things worse)

When I say the government might be able to help, I don't mean just throw money around.

 
At 7/24/2005 10:43 AM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

Again, your diatribe about step families is not relevant to the topic of second parent adoption. Families that result from the remarriage of a parent and those which involve same sex couples are simply a reality in any society. Regardless of the prejudices involved, which you seem to have in abundance, the question is what to do in these situations which will be in the best interests of the existing children. Clearly having two parents who are legally responsible for a child is better than having just one, which is the AAP position in both cases.

 
At 7/26/2005 12:03 PM, Blogger On Lawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7/26/2005 3:37 PM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

OL Again, your comment is not relevant and has been deleted. This blog is not a democracy. I decide what comments are relevent and which are not. If you wish to post here, keep your comments on topic and constructive.

 
At 7/26/2005 4:51 PM, Blogger On Lawn said...

As I clearly cannot trust posting any comment here that dissents with you any more, I have posted my reply as an update to my post on Opine.

 
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