WASHINGTON, June 15, 2011 — Two stories making national headlines yesterday have elevated the plight and case for adoptive and Foster children: Minnesota Congresswoman and presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann’s reference to her 23 Foster kids during the GOP debates in New Hampshire Monday and a New York times story about the increase in adoptions by Gay parents.
During Monday’s televised debate, Bachmann, a mother of five, weaved into her responses some heartwarming stories and lessons she has learned while caring for 23 teenage foster children in her home over the years. Many political analysts declared her the winner of the debates and her Foster care stories may have helped elevate her in the mind of viewers and potential voters.
There are 700,000 children in Foster care in the United States, according to US Census and approximately 115,000 children waiting for loving adoptive families according to the Times.
Despite a legal patchwork of rules, regulations and laws that slow down and impede gay adoptions, homosexual couples are nonetheless increasingly adopting children, the Times reported. To their credit, Gay couples are doing their part to decrease those numbers of anxious children wanting homes, irrespective of the hurdles they have to surmount to do so.
“About 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in the house in 2009, up from just 8 percent in 2000,” Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law at the University of California, Los Angeles told the paper.
Currently, only two states Utah and Mississippi expressly forbid gay adoptions.
The Bachmann and Times stories represent an interesting juxtaposition of sorts.
The interest of those who consider themselves fiscally responsible and want the government to cut spending in all areas may be at odds with those who are against homosexual individuals. No doubt, adult couples opting to help alleviate the financial burden of caring for our neglected, abandoned, and orphaned children should be championed and praised, especially those who prove that they can provide warm and nurturing environments for those kids.
Despite what people feel about homosexuals, the fact that more gay couples are stepping up to fill this void should be welcomed. The alternative for those who do not approve of gay adoptions would be to have those same children remain in overburdened government-run Foster child programs and continue to anxiously wait until that “ideal” heterosexual couple arrives to open their home to them. We all know that story well that for many, that day will never come. They will age out of the system never knowing what it is like to grow in a one family home.
Obama administrator for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Bryan Samuels has recognized that Gay and Lesbian families can fill the adoption void and told the New York Times, “The child welfare system has come to understand that placing a child in a gay or lesbian family is no greater risk than placing them in a heterosexual family.”
As for Bachmann, a champion of Foster care, she is among several federal lawmakers in Congress who have created a new Foster Care Caucus. They are working toward passing the Foster Care Mentoring Act, which if passed would promote awareness about the Foster care sysstem and fund a mentoring program that would offer federal student loan forgiveness to participants.
Politics sometimes make strange bedfellows. What these stories both did was elevate what Moira Weir, director of the job and family services department in Hamilton County, Ohio, said best in the Times piece, “The reality is we really need foster and adoptive parents, and it doesn’t matter what the relationship is. If they can provide a safe and loving home for a child, isn’t that what we want?”
Read more Politics of Raising Children in The Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Jeneba Ghatt at @JenebaSpeaks. Her work can also be read at JenebaSpeaks and Politic365. She also co-hosts a Blog Talk Radio show called Right of Black which tackles current events and politics from a perspective not often seen in the mainstream media.
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