BEING PART OF THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY SHOULDN’T TAKE AWAY YOUR CHANCE TO ADOPT OR OF BEING ADOPTED
An estimated two million LGBTQ+ individuals are interested in adopting —a lot of potential parents for a system constantly aging out children instead of finding them adequate homes. The reason that LGBTQ+ people are not adopting is not due to lack of interest, but because of constant legal blocks preventing them from giving a home to a child who needs it.
In 2020 there were still states fighting against LGBTQ+ individual’s rights to adopt. For a country that claims to have separation of church and state, there is a lot of influence from the church in policies.
The current case making its way through the Supreme Court is Fulton v. The City of Philadelphia. This particular case is about more than simply adoption rights, as it discusses not only adoption centers but private agencies that receive taxpayer-funding to provide government services (such as food banks, homeless shelters, etc). The court will rule whether these services can deny people who are LGBTQ+, Jewish, Muslim, and/or Mormon.
There is danger in denying LGBTQ+ parents the right to adopt as Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, told NBC News:
“While this case involves rejecting LGBTQ families if the Court accepts the claims made in this case, not only will this hurt children in foster care by reducing the number of families to care for them, but anyone who depends on a wide range of government services will be at risk of discrimination based on their sexual orientation, religion or any other characteristic that fails a provider’s religious litmus test.”
Not only is the threatening of adoption rights harmful to potential parents, but it naturally has an effect on the children. It is hard enough to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, but it is a different, more challenging experience to be LGBTQ+ and in the system. The Storyboard Project interviewed a now-adult Kristopher who talks about how he was told from an early age that it would be hard to place a gay child. Nia Clark shared her story on the Human Rights Campaign site. She details her experience as a transgender girl going through transitioning and attempting to find a home.
“I was forced to choose between my gender identity or having a permanent home and family,”
Nia writes. “When I finally gathered the courage to tell my adoptive mother my truth, she terminated the adoption, just six months after my placement. I was forced back into foster care.” Children face discrimination within the very system meant to protect them and advocate for them.
Gloria Brown Burnett, director of Prince George’s County Department of Social Services explains what has been found “many children come into foster care because their families are unable and unwilling to accept who they are.” These children come into foster looking for a home because they have been rejected and find themselves rejected again within the system.
As we move forward with the massive changes within the U.S., a focus needs to be on the foster care system. These children and parents deserve a right to a family without having to pull up the map on The Movement Advancement Project that details the rights of adoption within each U.S. state. Pay critical attention to Fulton v. The City of Philadelphia and any other cases which threaten the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.