In his last post James mentioned the German gay couple we met at the NFS drinks. Now what really endeared them to me was the fact that this couple had moved to the UK purely because they were not allowed to adopt in their native Germany. So strong was their desire to become parents, that they’d left behind home, family, friends, security and familiarity to move to somewhere where they had no jobs in place, no friends and one of them has a very limited command of English. Now I think I should point out that a person has to have lived in the UK for at least one year before being eligible to start the adoption process. These guys haven’t simply hopped on a plane to come and pick up a British child. They have committed to significant life changes in order to fulfil a dream that I guess so many people take for granted.
So why do gay/lesbian people feel the ‘need’ to become parents? Surely a child needs a mother AND a father?! Can’t ‘they’ be content with the ‘tolerance’ they’ve been afforded in the last few decades?! Believe me, these are questions that I’ve asked myself in the last few years. But it is only recently that I’ve truly found the answers and made peace with them. The fact that I am a homosexual doesn’t and hasn’t magically erased my innate sense that I should be a parent. Being gay and wanting children isn’t something that is mutually exclusive. A family member told my sister that “if Ethan chooses to be gay, he has to relinquish his right to be a parent….”. Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with me, but I’ll tackle that family member at a later date!
Speaking from a personal point of view, I’ve always loved children. I love their innocence, their energy and zest for life. I love that because they’ve only been on the planet a few years, they’re truly learning, discovering and developing everyday! I’ve spent about 10 years teaching dance and drama to kids right from the age of 3 up until 20/21 alongside my acting career. Whenever I’m not acting or performing the bulk of my work is made up of being a teaching assistant in mainstream state schools, often working one to one with kids with learning/behavioural difficulties. I’ve even worked within specific special needs schools and colleges and have absolutely loved my time in these places. I think I have a gift for working with young people – this is something that is reinforced by the various institutions I work at time and time again. I just get it. I know how to connect with children in a way that lots of adults don’t. It seems to me that it would be a crime to not get to nurture and parent a child – especially a child that might otherwise remain in care for the duration of their childhood.
Children who remain in care suffer a huge amount of set backs. A high proportion of people in prison or homeless on the streets are a product of the care system. They didn’t have loving parents, biological or otherwise, to steer them and guide them and most importantly LOVE them! The emotional and mental effects on young people who remain in care should not be underestimated. Surely a child being raised in a loving, stable same sex family is preferable to a life where they feel unwanted and their future is uncertain? There simply aren’t enough adopters in this country – especially for those children in care who are black or minority ethnic boys. James and I are 2 people in a committed, loving relationship who long to raise a child/ren. James works in education as an inclusion manager, specifically working with kids who might otherwise remain on the periphery because of their difficulties. It’s his job to make sure every child is given as much support as possible in order to thrive in a school setting. Now, if James and I were a heterosexual couple on paper, my guess is that most people would agree that we potentially have what it takes to be great parents. Should it really matter that we’re both men?!
The EXTENSIVE studies show that so very many children brought up by same-sex couples lead completely ‘normal’ lives and are no more likely to be bullied or suffer more disadvantages than other children. Perhaps most importantly for those who oppose gay adoption, children brought up in same-sex couples are no more likely to be gay/lesbian than those brought up by heterosexual couples.
So should gays be allowed to adopt? For me it’s a no-brainer……!