I have the impression, from a very small sample of evangelical families, including one I have known many years, that their religious leaders urge them to adopt children as a way of adding more converts to their flock. I expect, if this is true, that they press this cause in more idealistic terms. But, from the outside, it looks like adoption is something social conservatives are motivated to do first as their duty to increase their church’s power and wealth by adding to the numbers of the faithful, and only secondly to increase the happiness of their own family.
I could be wrong. It’s the way it looks to me as an outsider.
So, when I read Little Miss Attila’s explanation today that adoption is one of the objections social conservatives have about lesbians and gays in general, and about gay marriage, it occurred to me that they may believe we are adopting children for the same reason many of them might, to add converts to the gay and lesbian community.
OK, let’s think this through. Lesbians and gays are brought up in a straight culture, which did not succeed in converting us to being straight, and some of us who really tried to be straight found the effort to be damaging and stunting and futile. This means we really have quite a negative attitude about anyone getting converted to a sexual orientation — you figure it out and go with it, that’s our experience.
Perhaps this is a good place to mention that I’m an ex-ex-lesbian. That is, I came out as a lesbian at 18 in 1972, became an ex-lesbian for spiritual reasons (and a break-up with an anorexic, emotionally abusive partner) in mid-1976. When I was 30 I decided that trying not to be a lesbian was adharma, which is the worst thing you can do spiritually because you lose your connection with your own path of spiritual evolution when you try to be someone else. So I came out as a lesbian again in the spring of 1984 just before I met Margaret.
Bottomline, lesbians and gays feel really solid about the fact that you can’t convert anyone from one sexual orientation to another and that it is abuse if you try.
That means that the idea of adopting a child to “convert it to the gay lifestyle” never even crosses the minds of lesbians and gays, so we don’t see the objection coming. It really is a completely unjust and unfounded accusation.
So, why do lesbians and gays fight for the right to adopt children?
Because there are some of us who love children and feel financially and emotionally and psychologically prepared for the challenges and joys of raising them. Because their hearts go out to children who are without parents and a home. Because their life partner had children before coming out and they want to be fully a parent to those children, too. Because children make a family. Because it is rewarding to go through grocery store aisles planning your family’s meals. Because it is fulfilling to provide for your children and watch them grow. Because it is fun to have family dinners. Because Christmas is merrier with children than without.
Maybe we have a completely different attitude about children than straight people do because when you guys have sex, the possibility that you could be making a baby is always there and MOST of the time, you are thwarting the babymaking aspect of the experience. Not that that’s a bad thing. You’re just pushing it away, or running from it. I think straights are more negative or ambivalent about having children than they realize, so they may doubt that we have pure motives when we want to adopt.
Straight people may have a hard time believing how prepared lesbians and gays are for children when we seek to adopt because straight people can bring children into their lives without thought or preparation or gladness and often shrink from the responsibility. Again, perhaps they question our motives about adoption because they believe we would have the same mixed emotions they have.
However, gays and lesbians have sex without worrying about babies. So we’ve never, or hardly ever, had the negative or ambivalent feelings about having children that straight people have. So when we want to add children to our families, we are really behind that plan. It is on purpose. We are 100 percent on it. What adoption means to lesbians and gays is that we want to adopt children to love them and raise them and be a family and someday see them have their own families that they bring to visit Mom and Mommy or Dad and Daddy. That’s it and all about it. To give love and be a family.