Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gay Adoption Is Now Legal In Florida But Adoption is Still Problematic

Thanks in large part to pseudo Christian Anita Bryant, the LGBT community was barred from adopting in the state of Florida.  
Florida won't be appealing a court ruling that found the state's ban on adoptions by gay men and lesbians unconstitutional.


The Florida Department of Children and Families announced Tuesday evening that the state agency would not appeal the September decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeals. 

"We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties," said Joe Follick, the department's communications director. (source)
Let me start by saying that this is a decision that was long overdue.  Denying someone the right to participate equally in society because of their sexuality or gender identity is bigoted and counter to equality.

The following is the directive that DCF sent to department heads yesterday:
"Based on the ruling that the current law is unconstitutional, you are no longer to ask prospective adoptive parents whether they are heterosexual, gay or lesbian, nor are you to use this as a factor in determining the suitability of applicants to adopt. Focus your attention on the quality of parenting that prospective adoptive parents would provide, and their commitment to and love for our children"
I seriously debated writing this post, as regular readers know, discussing the problematic aspects of the adoption system is extremely important to me.  On one hand, I believe that it is extremely important to recognize that there should never be a right that a heterosexual cisgender person has, that someone who is a member of the BLGT community does not have, but on the other hand, because the adoption industry is rife with issues, it is a right that everyone needs to seriously think about before accessing.  Just because you want a child, does not mean that you have the right to have one.


Even as I write this, I know that the problematic issues of adoption do not stem from the TLBG community. There are those that will see this post as co-opting a long overdue celebration, but every opportunity must be taken to challenge a system that routinely robs birth mothers of their children.  What bothered me about the DCF statement, was that it solely suggested that a loving home was the one important criteria.  This as we know is erroneous, because poor mothers are often constructed as unfit, no matter how much love they have for their child.  Young girls are often forcibly coerced into giving up their children, by telling them that an adoptive family would be better because of class.  Child protection agencies also have a history of seizing children of colour and handing them over to White adoptive families.  The system is broken and even as we celebrate access, it is important to consider how the system oppresses women and children based in race and class.

Part of the issue, is that children are seen as commodities to acquire and not as the little people that they are.  We think nothing of the decisions that we make on their behalf, though they are the ones that will have to live with our mistakes for a lifetime.  A house, a car, and the 2.5 kids, are often seen as markers of success.  The fact that we can see parenting children as a right is in and of itself problematic. There can be no doubt that there are children in the system that are true orphans and are in need of any loving home that we can find for them, but what about the children that have essentially been kidnapped through lies, coercion and outright theft?  We think that because the system helps some, that it helps all kids and this erases the experiences of many birth mothers and adult adoptees. Ask yourself why it is that we don't want to hear their truth?  Ask yourself why it is always seen as an inconvenience talk about their pain.  To me this is nothing more than a reflection of privilege.