Adoption, After Boston Changed Marriage
Dale O'Leary, a writer and researcher for the Catholic Medical Association, sees a dangerous trend afoot.
Despite the large number of securely married people waiting to adopt children, in some states same-sex couples are regarded as desirable adoptive parents with equal qualifications. 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, she said.
O'Leary spoke with Zenit news service and the Register about the problem.
What's the difference between a child being adopted by a same-sex couple and by a heterosexual couple?
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 motherless or fatherless family?
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?”
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 there is something wrong with their natural desire for a parent of opposite sexes.
Are we seeing this happening?
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, “Okay, 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 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.
What dangers threaten children who are adopted by same-sex couples?
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 adoptive parents.
A friend who adopted a child from Eastern Europe discovered her adopted son had a severe attachment disorder. The specialist told her 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 they be placed in the most stable situation possible. Same-sex couples are the least stable arrangement. Homosexual 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 homosexual 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.
Have there been any studies done?
An article by Barbara Eisold titled “Recreating Mother” in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry reports on the effects of a moth-erless 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 okay and that he must accept it. But the therapist missed the obvious: Children need mothers. This child was artificially deprived of what he needed.
What are some of the other problems with homosexual couples?
Well-designed studies published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (Herrell 1999, Fergusson 1999 and Sandfort 2001), in comparison with the general public, have found that persons with same-sex attractions are far more likely to suffer from psychological disorders.
One of the studies found that 78.6% of the gay, lesbian or bisexual group suffered from multiple disorders. Commenting on the studies in the same journal, J. Michael Bailey wrote: “These studies contain arguably the best published data on the association between homosexuality and psychopathology, and both (Herrell and Fergusson) converge on the same unhappy conclusion: Homosexual people are at substantially higher risk for some forms of emotional problems, including suicidality, major depression, and anxiety disorder. Preliminary results from a large, equally well-conducted Dutch study (Sandfort) generally corroborate these findings.” A same-sex couple has, by definition, two persons at high risk for psychological disorders.
Domestic violence is more common among same-sex couples. Men with same-sex attractions are more likely to become infected with an 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.
What does a child typically experience when adopted by a heterosexual couple?
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 on 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 might 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.
- Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2004