A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH

Dangers of Same-Sex Couples Adopting Children

Part 1

Dale O'Leary on the Risks

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, 4 NOV. 2004 (ZENIT)

Despite the large number of securely married people waiting to adopt children, same-sex couples are often regarded as desirable adoptive parents with equal qualifications.

So says Dale O'Leary, a writer and researcher for the Catholic Medical Association.

She shared with ZENIT how adoption agencies have disregarded evidence that persons with same-sex attractions are far more likely to suffer from psychological disorders than the general public, and how those risk factors can negatively affect children.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Friday.

Q: What is the growth trend of children being adopted by same-sex couples or individuals with same-sex attractions?

O'Leary: I do not have any research showing this, but the anecdotal evidence suggests a dramatic increase in such adoptions.

Recently, I spoke with a woman who has adopted a number of special needs children and is extremely active in the adoption movement. She said that she has observed a dramatic increase in adoptions by same-sex couples.

She believes that the social workers in the adoption field are disproportionately homosexual themselves or are extremely sympathetic to homosexual adoptions and are directing children to same-sex couples, when there are married heterosexual couples available. She is extremely concerned about this trend.

I asked how could so many same-sex couples qualify, given the evidence that persons with same-sex attractions are far more likely to suffer from psychological and other problems than married heterosexual couples. She replied that it appeared to her that many of the same-sex couples who adopted had psychological and other problems that would have disqualified a married man and woman from adoption.

This, of course, is only anecdotal evidence, but well-designed studies that compare persons with same-sex attractions with the general public have found that persons with same-sex attractions are far more likely to suffer from psychological disorders.

A same-sex couple has, by definition, two persons at high risk for psychological disorders. The studies published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that persons self-identified as homosexual in comparison to the general public had almost double the rate of suicidal ideation or attempts, substance abuse problems and psychological disorders. One of the studies found that 78.6% of the gay, lesbian or bisexual group suffered from multiple disorders.

And there are other problems: Domestic violence is more common among same-sex couples. Men with same-sex attractions are more likely to become infected with a STD, including HIV, hepatitis or HPV, which can lead to cancer. Thus, several studies suggest that 50% of men who have sex with men will become HIV positive before age 50.

Any of these problems would negatively affect an adopted child. When dealing with married heterosexual couples, agencies have been extremely strict in ruling out couples with risk factors, yet seem to be ignoring real risk when evaluating same-sex couples who want to adopt.

Consider the consequences of giving a special needs child or a child with an attachment disorder — something that is very common among children adopted from orphanages overseas — to a couple where one or both suffer from a psychological disorder or substance abuse problem.

There should be an investigation into whether social workers are giving vulnerable children to same-sex couples who would not otherwise be qualified and the long-term consequences of these adoptions.

Q: Would children linger unloved in foster care if not placed with a same-sex couple?

O'Leary: Given the increase in infertility due to late marriage and the consequences of the pandemic of STDs, the number of securely married couples who want to adopt is very high. Due to abortion and the acceptance of single motherhood, the number of healthy babies being released for adoption is very low.

Therefore, since the demand overwhelming exceeds the supply, agencies should have no problems finding a virtually perfect placement for every healthy baby released at birth by the mother.

There is no reason for choosing a second-best placement, and adoption by a same-sex couple is by definition second-best, since it deprives the child of a parent of one sex and all the experiences that having a father and a mother provides.

Because there are so few healthy newborns available for adoption, the number of securely married couples who will consider a baby with some health problems or an older child has also increased dramatically.

Most children in foster care have not been adopted because their biological parents have refused to release them for adoption or because the courts have not terminated parental custody. These parents and their children cling to hope that the situations that lead to them being placed in foster care will change and the family reunited.

Reform in the foster care system is certainly called for, but placing already deeply wounded children with same-sex couples is not the solution.

Because of the shortage of babies and available older children, many couples choose foreign adoption. Persons with same-sex attractions often do not inform the country from which the child comes that they are homosexual.

Recently an article in the Boston Globe reported on a lesbian couple that wasn't going to get "married" because then they would have to disclose this to the adoption agency and would not be able to obtain a second child from overseas.

They had already deceived the overseas agency in order to obtain their first child. Such deceptions will negatively affect married heterosexual couples seeking to adopt abroad.

Q: What does a child typically experience when adopted by a heterosexual couple?

O'Leary: While the public likes to romanticize adoption, the fact is that being surrendered for adoption by one's biological parents is a wounding experience.

Pretending that adoption is just like having your own biological child and that there are no additional problems to overcome does a disservice to the adoptive child's struggle to understand and to the adoptive parents' heroic love.

Adoptive parents tell their children how their brave mothers made the courageous decision to give their babies good homes with a mommy and daddy and all the advantages that brings.

However, in spite of the reassurances from the adoptive parents and all their love and care, an adopted child almost always asks: "Why? Why did my mother give me up? Where was my father?"

These questions often persist well into adulthood. It takes emotional and psychological stability in the part of the adoptive parents to allow children to ask these questions.

Adoption by a happily, faithfully married husband and wife provides a healing environment for the child who has been surrendered by his or her biological parents. The faithful committed love of the father for his wife and children teaches the adoptive child that all men do not walk away from their responsibilities to their children.

The strength under pressure of the adoptive mother teaches the child that even though his or her biological mother may not have thought she had the resources to bring up a child, the adoptive mother is strong enough to face any crisis and never stop loving or surrender a beloved child.

The day-to-day experience of seeing a loving married father and mother sacrifice and persevere gives the adopted child an image of true marital and parental love that can serve as a model for his or her own life.

This is undoubtedly why, in spite of the initial wound, the majority of adopted children grow into healthy and happy adults who marry wisely and become good parents. ZE04110424


Part 2

Dale O'Leary on the Stress for Kids

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, 5 NOV. 2004 (ZENIT)

Adopted children of same-sex parents face the deprivation of either a mother or father and the strain of living in an unstable and unnatural situation, according to a researcher in the field.

Dale O'Leary, a writer and researcher for the Catholic Medical Association, shared with ZENIT how same-sex parents give their children a second-class upbringing by exacerbating normal problems that adopted kids experience.

Part 1 of this interview appeared Thursday.

Q: What's the difference between a child being adopted by a same-sex couple and by a heterosexual couple?

O'Leary: If children adopted by married couples ask, "Why was I given up for adoption?" what will the children who are given to same-sex couples ask? Will they not wonder why their mother would give them over to a permanently and purposefully mother-less or father-less family? And how does adoption by a same-sex couple—which gay activists admit can expose the child to social stress—protect a child from the stigma of being raised by a single mother?

Sooner or later the child will ask, "Why was I deserted by my father, given up by my mother and then treated by society as a second-class baby who could be placed in a second-class situation?"

Persons with same-sex attractions who adopt love their children, and the children love their adoptive parents, but because there is love there will also be denial. The same-sex couples will not be able to admit to themselves the harm they have done to the children they love, and so will blame "society" or "homophobia" for the problems they face. The children will not be able to voice their dissatisfaction and will at the same time feel guilty for not being grateful. The children will be made to feel that there is something wrong with their natural desire for a parent of opposite sexes.

We have already seen an example of this. Rosie O'Donnell, a very public lesbian and advocate for lesbian adoption, was asked what she would do if her adopted son wanted a father. According to O'Donnell, her son had already expressed that desire. When he was 6, he said, "I want to have a daddy."

O'Donnell replied, "If you were to have a daddy, you wouldn't have me as a mommy because I'm the kind of mommy who wants another mommy. This is the way mommy got born." He said, "OK, I'll just keep you."

While O'Donnell undoubtedly sees this as a positive affirmation of same-sex adoption, there is another interpretation: She made her son feel that his natural desire for a father is a rejection of her. That is a terrible burden to place on a little boy.

And it gets worse. In the same interview, O'Donnell recounted how she explained adoption to her son: "... he understands that there are different types of people; that he grew up in another lady's tummy, and that God looked inside and saw there was a mix-up and that God brought him to me."

In other words, in light of this and the previous conversation between O'Donnell and her son, it is wrong for him to want a daddy because God decided that he shouldn't have one.

Q: What other dangers threaten children who are adopted by same-sex couples?

O'Leary: Children surrendered for adoption have been separated from their biological mothers and often from transitional caregivers. This can lead to attachment disorders. Attachment to a single maternal figure during the first eight months of life is crucial to emotional development. Raising a child with an attachment disorder requires special sensitivity on the part of his or her adoptive parents.

A friend who adopted a child from Eastern Europe discovered that her adopted son had a severe attachment disorder. The specialist told her that his ability to trust was so damaged that she should not leave him for any extended period for several years.

Because children surrendered for adoption have already suffered one major loss, it is very important that they be placed in the most stable situation possible. Same-sex couples are the least stable arrangement.

Gay male couples are very likely to break up; even if they remain together, they are rarely sexually faithful to one another. Lesbian couples are more likely to remain together than gay male couples, but they are not nearly as stable as married heterosexual couples.
Because of this, a child placed with a same-sex couple is at greater risk for a second major loss during childhood. The research on the effects of divorce on children is clear and unequivocal-divorce is profoundly damaging. The damage is necessarily greater for the adoptive child.

Michael Reagan—who was adopted by President Ronald Reagan and his first wife, who later divorced—speaks of divorce as two adults going into a child's room, breaking everything of value and then leaving the child to try to put the pieces back together. Michael Reagan in his vulnerability became the victim of a pedophile who took pornographic pictures of him and then used them to blackmail him into silence.

While the press presents a happy picture of same-sex couples adopting babies, there is a different side of the picture: nasty breakups and custody fights.

An article by Barbara Eisold entitled "Recreating Mother" in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry reports on the effects of a mother-less family on one little boy. This boy was conceived for a male couple using a surrogate mother who was paid for her service.

His father, the older member of the couple, hired a nanny to care for the boy. When she became too emotionally involved she was fired; another nanny was hired and then a third. The boy was then sent to nursery school. By the time he was 4 he was suffering from profound psychological problems and a therapist was hired to treat him.

One of his problems was that he wanted to "buy" a mother. The therapist asks "How do we explain why this child, the son of a male couple, seemed to need to construct a woman-'Mother'-with whom he could play the role of loving boy/man? How did such an idea enter his mind? What inspired his intensity on the subject?"

The therapist was hired to convince this little boy that what was done to him was OK and that he must accept it. But the therapist missed the obvious: Children need mothers. This child was artificially deprived of what he needed.

A recent article in the New York Times Magazine on Ry and Cade—sisters now 22 and 24 years old who were born to a female couple—appears designed to present a positive picture of how having two moms is a "big, messy, incredible experiment" that "worked." However, the lengthy article reveals the many ways in which the experiment has not worked.

Their two "mothers" did not provide the girls with clear models of femininity or masculinity. According to the article, "Ry remembers Cade pouring over Seventeen magazine as if it contained a code she needed to crack." Cade apparently didn't find what she was looking for, and at age 18 came out as a lesbian.

One gathers from the article that Ry's "mothers" were part of an active radical feminist community that held extremely negative views about marriage, and those views affected their daughters.

At one point, Ry was "repulsed" by heterosexual relations and afraid of the "sexist soul-losing domain of oppression" she associated with male-female relationships. At 16 she wrote, "I cannot understand or relate to men because I am so immersed in gay culture and unfamiliar with what it is to have a straight relationship." Ry's mothers encouraged her to have sex with her boyfriend, which she did, but at the same time she felt conflicted about having "sex with a man, which meant 'growing up and away from my mothers.'" Since then she has become more confident with men, but still feels as though she is "passing" for straight.

The experiment has clearly placed a burden on the girls. According to the article, "For most of her life, Ry has been both parent and child to her mothers." If this is supposed to be a success story, one can only imagine what the failures are like.

The adoption controversy is growing as courts and agencies favor same-sex couples over heterosexual couples. Social workers and foster parents who protest are sometimes punished.

Laurie Ellinger, a foster mother who protested the adoption of a black little boy by a white gay male couple, was temporarily suspended from sheltering foster children because she made the case public. Two married Christian couples had tried to adopt the boy, but the baby's natural father protested to the social workers, who had control over the adoption.

Q: How will same-sex couples adopting children affect society?

O'Leary: Our first concern should be the welfare of the children turned over to same-sex couples, but this policy also negatively affects our families. By sanctioning adoption by same-sex couples, the government is sanctioning homosexual behavior. It is one thing for the state to tolerate what goes on behind closed doors and quite another to say that it is equal to marriage.

How will the schools, particularly the elementary schools, handle this problem? The question is not theoretical. Schools in Massachusetts and other areas are already teaching elementary school children to accept same-sex relationships as equal to marriage between a man and woman.

This puts religious parents in an untenable position. They have a duty to teach their children the truth, namely that homosexual behavior is always and will always be contrary to God's plan. On the other hand, they do not want to go into the details of homosexuality with a kindergartner. Nor do they want to subject children being raised by same-sex couples to additional pain.

The only answer for many parents is to withdraw their children from public education. When public schools are used as instruments of indoctrination against religion, religious parents are discriminated against. ZE04110522
 

This article has been selected from the ZENIT Daily Dispatch
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