Call me crazy, but I can’t remember a first date I’ve had not involving the topic of children. I always bring it up, and it probably goes against every dating rule. “What do you do for work? Oh nice, so do you want kids?” Not exaggerating – I bring it up out of nowhere and see what reaction I get. In my years of dating I have received split reactions to this question. Some guys definitely see kids in their life. I am one of those guys. 20 years from now I think I will have lost my mind if it were still just me, myself, I, and my dog. Other guys fall into the “not for me” category. Some of them love kids and just do not want them, some of them hate kids and do not want them. Finally, you have the “I’m not really sure” guys. I completely understand these guys. There is a lot to consider when raising a child as a single gay man or part of a gay marriage. Since I bring it up so much when dating, I want to spend this post (and many in the future) discussing gay adoption.
My personal views on this have changed vastly over time. A long time ago, I remember having this debate with an aunt of mine. This was far before I ever came out or even realized I was gay. I vividly remember discussing gay parenting. We both came to the conclusion that gays deserve all of the rights that other people have, but they should not be allowed to adopt because it would make the life of their child very difficult. We felt that the child might be confused by the hetero parents of their friends or feel incomplete because they don’t have a two gender team raising them. At the time, I could not contemplate being raised by just my father without a mother, or vice versa. It just didn’t seem fair.
Things have certainly changed since then. Not just for me, but this country as a whole. Let’s talk about me first (#same). Since coming out and experiencing a lot more in life, I certainly feel that gay parents should have all of the adoption rights that straight parents have. Back when I didn’t feel this way, I had a very myopic view of the world. I just figured it was normal for every child to have a mom and dad and generally pleasant and loving upbringing. Then you think about the millions of children who don’t. The children who lose a parent (or both parents) very early on in life. The children with abusive parents, absentee parents, or parents who do not have the proper resources to care for them. You start realizing it wouldn’t be “unfair” at all for a child who is up for adoption to be raised by fully qualified, stable, and loving gay parents. Those adopted children would actually be better off than many children who have the so-called “benefit” of straight parents these days.
To drive this point home – I have spent the last 5 years of my life mentoring a child whose dad has never really been around. His dad is alive and local, he is just absent in his life for reasons I never really even found out. I am this child’s male role model, I check on this child’s grades, I talk to this child about girls, the future, driving, sports, and constantly show him new places outside of his community. As a gay man, I feel that in the past 5 years I have been more of a “father” to this child than his birth father ever has or will be. Gays know how and deserve the right to parent, often times more so than the straight parents that bring children into this world. My opinions on gay adoption have clearly done a 180.
Now let’s talk about this country. We live in a time where laws are changing every day. In doing research for this post, I came across multiple sites that had not even been updated to show that every state in America has now legalized gay adoptions (with Mississippi being the last to join the party in April 2016). Every day we hear about states passing new “religious freedom” laws trying to think of creative ways to discriminate against gays, but the fundamental law is that gays can now adopt through at least some agencies in every single state. The only real way that is currently being challenged is by religious adoption organizations (these cases and laws remain developing). I want to spend many more posts discussing the details of gay adoption and the actual laws at hand, but I thought this would be a good introduction. To those of you considering going half on a baby, please stay tuned and submit your questions for future coverage.
Questions, comments, concerns, think you may need an attorney?