You are on page 1of 7

Cabrera 1 Jennifer Cabrera Dr.

Connie White QS 115 21 November 2013 Gay Couple Adoption The adoption of children by lesbians and gay men has been a controversial issue in the United States and many other countries; the arguments center around the capabilities of lesbian and gay adults to be effective parents and the question of whether a heterosexual mother and father are the most appropriate models for childrens development and gender socialization (Moore and Ruhstorfer 496). Though adoption is not about finding children for families, but finding families for children, adoption by gay couples is not tolerated. Records show thousands of children are awaiting placement with adoptive families in the United States. However, agency practices in selecting appropriate families are slow to change, with gay men and lesbians often facing barriers (Ryan 516). Should gay couple adoption really be such a difficult problem for society? Though many argue that gay couples can cause low self-esteem in adopted children and incite non-acceptance, hatred, and bullying from children outside the family, there are benefits, such as children being open-minded and close bonds forming within these unique families. This paper will explore those benefits and weigh their value against the perceived disadvantages of adoption by gay couples. Families with same-sex parents are open to a variety of diverse races when adopting children. The article Adoption Option by Dan Allen gives insight concerning the adoptive habits of lesbian couples and describes to the reader a variety of different families consisting of homosexual parents and adopted children. It states: Many lesbian parents make the best of what

Cabrera 2 is available to them, mixing and matching adoption types to create their families (Allen 45). This demonstrates that a homosexual couple is less likely to discriminate between races; instead, they are more concerned with giving these children a roof to live in and a safe environment to grow up in. An example of such a magnanimous family is that of Deborah Talen and Polly Talen, a household with two mothers and daughters of different races. Their daughters are Eliza, who is African American, and Lydia and Grace, who are Chinese American (Dan 4). It is wonderful that these women have mixed and matched in their decisions when forming their family; at the end of the day, it is undeniable that they have given these children a home and taught them the tolerance needed to open their minds and live outside the box. Nevertheless, society is not kind in judging lesbian couples who have adopted children. As said in the previously mentioned article Adoption Option, For women who have often experienced more societal parental conditioning than men, the struggles are a bit different (Allen 47). While families like the Talens can choose children of different races than their own with relative ease, it is not as facile for lesbian couples to adopt sons as it is for them to adopt daughters. Laura Rede, who spoke for Dan Allens article, admitted, We ran into people doubting that we would be able to raise boys. When Rede and her partner decided to adopt a little girl named Shanika and her three brothers, the boys foster mother prevented them from doing so. They had the stereotype that all lesbians are lesbians because we hate men, and if we raised boys, we would raise them hating themselves because we would give them a negative idea of men, stated Rede (Allen 47). It is a fallacy that lesbians hate men; they are sexually attracted to women and sexually impassive toward men. These stereotypes are detrimental to lesbian families who wish to adopt boys. They do not seek to cause harm, only to love and care for a son of their own. It is disappointing to see that society harbors such prejudices toward families that,

Cabrera 3 while different from an outside perspective, work in the same way as families with heterosexual parents. The similarities between families heterosexual parents and those with homosexual parents have been recognized by various studies over the years. Lesbian, Ga y, and Transgender Families, written by Timothy J. Biblarz and Savci Evren for the Journal of Marriage and Family, offers information from various studies conducted to compare homosexual and heterosexual couples raising children. The article states, Children raised by lesbian parents have been found across a large number of tests to be similar to children raised by heterosexual parents on dimensions of psychological well-being, peer relations, and social and behavioral adjustments. MacCallum and Golomboks study included assessment of the date on childrens socioemotional development by a child psychiatrist who did not know which children had lesbian comothers and heterosexual parents, and still found no differences (Biblarz and Evren 484). These study results, gathered from child psychologists who knew nothing of their patients parental situations, are profound because they are unbiased and clearly prove that children of homosexual and heterosexual couples are raised alike. In addition to the results of this study, it was found that 5 to 10 year old childrens perceptions of peer acceptance and relationships with peers were also not significantly different depending on whether they were living with lesbian mothers or heterosexual parents. Not only this, but when it came to researches done on 7th to 12th graders, there were no differences found by gender mix of parents in ratings of quality of relationships with peers, support received from friends, number of friends, and the presence of a best friend (Biblarz and Evren 484). Overall, the articles cited studies found no differences regarding adolescent depression; self-esteem; school connectedness; grade point average; tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use and abuse nor in

Cabrera 4 adolescents odds of having had sexual intercourse, age at sexual initiation, and number of sexual partners (Biblarz and Evren 484), hence demonstrating that there were no vast differences between having lesbian or heterosexual parents and the impact on a childs life. However, as the article Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Families went on to explain, gay couples often face more difficulties than lesbian couples. When 101 gay (92) and bisexual (9) male parents were asked about their childrens experiences, the responses given were uniquely interesting (Biblarz and Evren 487). In this study, Gay fathers were asked how their eldest child felt about their sexual orientation, to which they responded stating that their daughters were significantly more sympathetic and supportive than their sons (Biblarz and Evren 487). This slight disappointment is expected because boys grow up wanting to portray societys idea of being machistas, rugged, masculine men, and it is difficult for them to accept their families when the world outside their home does not encourage it. They have to choose between their family and their friends and community, and they may choose the latter two so as not to feel threatened or unwelcome. However, the fathers believed that having [them] as a gay or bisexual male parent is highly beneficial in helping [their] children have tolerance of other people, but here again fathers felt the effect occurred more so far for their daughters than for their sons (Biblarz and Evren 487). Nevertheless, the fathers felt that having [them] as a gay or bisexual male parent is more beneficial to [their] sons than to [their] daughters in helping [their] children's acceptance of their own society (Biblarz and Evren 487). This demonstrates that, although the fathers may not connect as well with their sons as they do with their daughters, their sons can still develop socially and live within societys expectations despite their family not meeting societys definition of ideal. Additionally, regardless of the childrens feelings on living with two mothers or

Cabrera 5 fathers, it is really up to the parents to stand up against society to defend their families. Parenting forces you to come out again, and you cant be shy about it. If youre uncomfortable coming out and youve got a toddler who is yelling Daddy and Papa in a grocery store, you are not ready to parent says Kershaw. At the end, the confidence that the couples project helps people look past the fact that theyre both men and focus instead on whether theyre good parents (Allen 45). This is the perspective from which all families should be observed; there are heterosexual parents who abuse their children, yet they are more socially accepted than homosexual parents who love their children. Gay Parents, an article written by Ellen C. Perrin, M.D., for the journal Contemporary Pediatrics asserts, The risk of physical or sexual abuse is lower in families whose parents are of the same sex than in heterosexual families. Additionally, there exists evidence that whatever risks to well-being a child encounters because his or her parents are of the same sex are caused primarily by the isolation and discrimination society's heterosexism imposes on such families, not difficulties intrinsic to the families themselves (Perrin 41). Here, once again, it is concluded that homosexual families are generally less chaotic than heterosexual families and the majority of accusations made against homosexual families are propagated by society rather incurred by the families themselves. The article LGBT Sexuality and Families out of the Start of the Twenty-First Century, written by Mignon R. Moore and Michael Stambolis-Ruhstorfer for the Annual Review of Sociology, declared, Despite the courageous confrontations with society made by same-sex couples, they still face obstacles that pose barriers to their full recognition as families. The article mentions: In interviews with young adults raised by lesbian and gay parents, Robitaille & Saint-Jacques found that youths experienced both direct and indirect forms of stigmatization. They were more likely to have been teased or belittled because they had same-sex parents. They

Cabrera 6 reported feeling stigmatized when teachers and other adults discussed same-sex marriage or homosexuality in negative ways" (Moore and Stambolis-Ruhstorfer 501). This interview shows that the uncomfortable situation in which children with same-sex parents live in is cause by societys negative opinions. The article goes on to add, Of those who had experienced bullying because of their mother's sexual orientation, reported feeling hurt and angry, as well as embarrassed (Moore and Stambolis-Ruhstorfer 501). Faced with such experiences, lesbian and gay parents have had to develop methods to combat the stigma. They begin by teaching their children how to discuss their family structures with others, which helps them understand that families come in many forms and being different is not bad. In final consideration, there are many arguments that surround the issue of adoption by gay couples. The opposition claims that the drawbacks include low childhood self-esteem, bullying, and hatred or non-acceptance from adopted childrens classmates. On the positive side, there are the benefits of children growing up open-minded and forming close bonds with their parents and siblings. The argument grows more heated day by day, but simple, unprejudiced logic would lead anyone to the decision that adoption by gay couples should be permitted just like any other family adoption for the sake of the former orphans and new parents happiness.

Cabrera 7 Works Cited Allen, Dan. The Adoption Option. The Advocate (2002): 42-50. ProQuest. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. Biblarz, Timothy J. and Savci, Evren. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Families. Journal of Marriage and Family 72.3 (2010): 480-497. CSUN Library. Wiley Online Library. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. Moore, Mignon R., and Stambolis-Ruhstorfer Michael. LGBT Sexuality and Families at the Start of the Twenty-First Century. Annual Review of Sociology 39 (2013): 491-507. CSUN Library. Annual Reviews. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. Perrin, Ellen C. GAY PARENTS. Contemporary Pediatrics 16.6 (June 1999): p41. CSUN Library. General OneFile. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. Ryan, Scott D. "Examining Social Workers' Placement Recommendations of Children with Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents." Families in Society 81.5 (2000): 517-528. CSUN Library. CSUN E-Resources. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.