Alternative Families; What’s the story?
There are over 542,000 children in foster care in the United States today. Of those, only 24% reside with foster homes that include relatives. Another 48% reside with non-relative foster homes. A resounding 18% live in group homes or institutions. The big question is what constitutes a healthy home environment for these children who no longer live with their biological parents. The conservative view is that gay parents are not equipped to raise children and provide a confusing home environment for young children, while the liberal view is that children would benefit from a loving home environment regardless of the sexual orientation of the parental figure(s). All said, children face foster care for various reasons, but most fall into the system as victims of abuse. Unfortunately, the system itself is not set-up to handle the enormous caseload it now has, so children removed from their abusive homes may find themselves in equally abuse foster families. Black children make up 38% of the cases in foster care, with Whites following at 37% and Latino children at 17%. Also highly disproportionate are the number of black families willing to take on black foster children. This little fact almost guarantees the vicious cycle of the growing number of black children in revolving foster care. Having gay parents posts its own set of challenges. Most of those challenges stem from societal views and ostracism by children who have been taught intolerance to home environments different from their own. A loving gay parental unit plays a greater positive role in the life of a foster child than an abusive straight family. Conversely, no study has proven that children raised by gay parents grow up to be gay themselves; mainly because sexual orientation is not learned. Having gay parents may teach children tolerance and serve to give them a different perspective on what behaviors define a loving couple, but it will never encourage a behavior that isn’t already there. Studies have shown that most gay individuals come from straight family environments. As a responsible society we have to ask ourselves whether it’s more important to maintain the parental unit “norm” or whether giving a child a happy and healthy home warrants us changing our dated views.
Pedophilia and Homosexuality; Danger for Children in Gay Family Environment?
Pedophilia is defined as an adult attraction or perversion to children. Sexual orientation (homosexual or heterosexual) is from one adult to another. A study of 269 cases of children sexually abused by adults found that only 2 of the attackers were gay. Of the other 267 cases, most of the attackers were in heterosexual relationships with either the mother of the abused or another family member. The study concluded that a child has a 100% greater chance of being molested by a relative’s heterosexual partner than by a known homosexual person.
Either They Are or They’re Not; You Can’t Make Them
A 1992 article in Child Development entitled Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents showed that children of gay parents had the same chances of being gay as those raised by heterosexual parents. Further, Psychiatrist Laurintine Fromm of the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital said that all facts show that children of gay parents do not fare any worse than those of heterosexual parents in any area of development – including sexual identity formation.
Ignorance is bliss, but the facts are the facts. Is it fair and safer to have children remain in foster care, rather than allowing willing and loving gay parents give stable homes to these children? Are we subjecting children to further psychological abuse by placing them in gay households? What is your view on gay foster care and adoption rights?
Keep passin’ the open windows…