SAN FRANCISCO — Dawn Stefanowicz understands why people want to condone homosexual adoption.
She also says she knows why they shouldn't.
She spoke out as San Francisco Catholic Charities admitted to placing children with homosexual couples, even as a Vatican representative reportedly has urged a halt to the practice in Boston.
Stefanowicz was raised by a homosexual couple with, in her words, “the appearance of long-term monogamy but actually with multiple sexual relationships.”
She doesn't understand why the Boston and San Francisco archdioceses don't simply stop the practice.
Catholic Charities CYO in San Francisco, which serves the northern California counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin, told the Register Dec. 5 that the agency has placed five children out of 138 with same sex-couples.
That's even more than reported last month by the Advocate, a national homosexual magazine, which said the organization had placed three children out of 136 with same-sex couples since 2000.
Maury Healy, spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, said the controversy highlighted “two compelling interests.” The first: the Church's “responsibility to promote and protect the dignity of marriage.” The second “is a desire to find caring homes for hard-to-place children. The most significant challenge in adoption today is the placement of special-needs children, many of whom languish in foster care.”
But Stefanowicz, who is writing an autobiography, said that being raised in a household with many transitory adult relationships on display wasn't an appropriate alternative. The experience left her with the belief that “relationships are disposable. People could just be dropped for whatever reason. Sex is gratuitous and connected to nothing.”
Healy went on to say that while “San Francisco Catholic Charities works predominantly with married couples in placing children for adoption,” a few exceptions have been made to place “the hard-to-place child.” Also, “the agency's state license prohibits it from discriminating against any prospective parent because of sexual orientation.”
But homosexual couples are inherently unstable, said Stefanowicz. “The last thing a kid who has been in foster care needs is to be placed in an unstable home.”
News reports suggest that the Vatican wants to protect people like Stefanowicz.
The Boston Herald reported Dec. 7 that a letter from the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C., urged Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston to stop Catholic Charities in the archdiocese from facilitating adoptions unless homosexual couples are excluded. The newspaper cited an anonymous source. If the report is true, the papal nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, could have been reacting to a flurry of news media coverage in October about Boston Catholic Charities’ practices.
At that time, the Boston organization's president, Father Bryan Hehir, said that “it is never a good fit” to place children in homosexual homes but if Boston Catholic Charities lost the government contract it would be unable to perform its many other services funded by the state.
Neither the papal nuncio nor the Archdiocese of Boston would confirm the report. All an unnamed spokesman for the archdiocese would admit was that the matter of same-sex adoption was under review.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the conference “had no policy on this issue. We leave it up to the charities.”
However, the Church's position has been explicit since the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's 2003 declaration that same-sex adoptions “mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.”
Science, when freed from the pressures of political correctness, agrees, said A. Dean Byrd, chairman of the scientific advisory committee to the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. He is a clinical psychologist and a professor of medicine at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.
“It is the best interests of the child and not the civil rights of the parents that ought to come first,” said Byrd, who consulted for an adoption agency for 27 years. “And what is in the best interests of the child is to have two, married parents of different genders.”
Research indicates that fathers and mothers parent differently and impart different, complementary values: “Women provide nurturing and love; fathers teach objectivity and independence,” said Byrd. Research into lesbian parents indicates “their daughters grow up acting like boys, including being more sexually adventurous; the boys act more like girls” than boys raised by heterosexuals. Moreover, male homosexual relationships are unstable compared with heterosexual marriages. “The average homosexual relationship lasts 18 months,” said Byrd, “and has eight partners outside the relationship.”
Steve Weatherbe is based in Victoria, British Columbia.