6/29/2001 12:00:00 AM - Armstrong Williams
The adoption system in this country is broken. Thousands of kids languish in substandard facilities that lack the resources to properly educate and nurture them, thus perpetuating the cycle of underachievement.
OK, so far I'm in agreement.
One possible solution is to open adoption up to homosexual couples.
The suggestion, currently being considered by several states, is remarkable on several levels. Not the least of which being its disregard for the unique characteristics of a loving union between husband and wife. That is to say, a loving union between man and woman provides a child with a maternal and paternal balance that helps a child navigate his own equal and opposite impulses. So that beyond love or finances, this sort of emotional stability is crucial to building a child's self-esteem. For this rather straightforward reason, a union between man and woman has always been central to our understanding of "family."
For an adoptive child, establishing an identity that meshes with social conventions is essential to constructing a healthy sense of self.
To abruptly break with social conventions, however, could saddle the adoptive child with severe identity confusion. An example: Data analyzed by Paul Cameron, psychologist and author of "The Truth About 'Gay Parents': An Analysis of the American Psychological Association/National Association of Social Workers' Brief in the Virginia Court of Appeals in the Pamela Bottoms Case," Family Research Institute, and published by the Family Research Institute revealed that "8.9 percent of children in homosexual households became homosexual while only 2.4 percent of the children raised in heterosexual households became homosexual." A 1989 survey of women previously married to men who practice homosexuality found a 12 percent incidence of homosexual behavior in their children, despite the fact that homosexuals account for only 2 percent of the general population.
Plainly, the social pressures associated with this sort of gender confusion are tremendous. That is the reality that confronts us. To subject adoptive children to this sort of emotional trauma by design is worst than misguided, it amounts to socially martyring a large segment of children, just to make a cultural statement about homosexual rights.
Nonetheless, advocates for homosexual rights in this country continue to place themselves at the center of adoption law. Their justification: that the eroding nuclear family - through divorce and the general liberalization of the culture - has precipitated a change in traditional social structures. They have a point, they simply miss it: The crucial issue is not whether traditional social structures are changing, but whether embracing these changes are in the best interest of adoptive children.
Get it? Adoption law ought not to be about cultural statements in general or gay rights in the specific; it ought to be about the best interest of the children. While debate regarding homosexual rights has its place in the national dialogue, such issues are not central to the issue of adoption.
What is central to the debate, is a proper understanding of cultural norms and how they influence our sense of self. Or, more to the point, how common law, common sense, history and science all tell us that the very nature of a homosexual relationship deprives a child of the emotionally stable environment that he or she requires.
While I am deeply sensible about the need to place adoptive children with families, this need does not justify placing them in any home.
Nor does it justify risking the emotional well-being of adoptive children, just to make a political statement.