I’m more than a little flummoxed by this column by politically moderate columnist Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune, who wrote a scathing indictment of conservatives who use political means to prevent gays from adopting children. His thesis is that doing so is particularly spiteful because it means that more children are prevented from being in the homes of loving parents. I agree with his general point, although I also see the flipside to his argument, one that I’m adapting from a recent piece on transracial adoption in Seattle’s alt-weekly, The Stranger. (If that link and subject matter seems familiar, it’s because I just posted extensively on it.)
The flipside is this.
When it comes to transracially adopted kids that grow up and become adults, many of them do not want to talk about their fractured upbringing, because of their gratefulness. They don’t want to talk about the ways in which their parents were ill-prepared for the reality of racialization in America, because in their mind, the alternative would have been no home with no loving parents of any sort.
This sort of response is understandable, but it ignores the broader reality. Is a home with White parents better for a Black child than a home with no parents at all? Probably. But just because they are plucking these children out of abject poverty does not absolve them of the responsibility they have as parents to help prepare them for the reality of racialization in America. To assume otherwise is tantamount to sticking your head in the sand, and then wondering how you couldn’t see the storm coming.
To me, the issue of gay adoption is similar. Is a home with two gay parents better than a home with no parents or foster care? Maybe. Dare I say, probably. But that doesn’t mean that those gay parents are off the hook in their parental responsibility of providing a balanced outlook in the form of one or more key role models for their children of the opposite sex. Two loving men or women can do a lot to parent a child in a healthy manner, but blithely assuming that their good intentions will compensate for what they lack biologically is naive at best and perilous at worst. ]]>