In Florida today, nearly 20,000 children are living in what's nicely called "out-of-home care." Approximately 850 children are waiting to be adopted. Because parents cannot care for them, they live temporarily with a grandparent or other relative, in foster care or some other kind of temporary shelter. These temporary homes are better than nothing, but most are not the best environment for a child, especially one whose life has been disrupted by family violence, loss of a home or other traumas.
A year ago, on Sept. 22, 2010, the courts struck down Florida's law that banned gay people from adopting. For the past 12 months, that has meant that more children have gone to live with caring people or have had their family formally recognized and legally protected.
To me, a faithful Christian and a fiscal conservative, it made no sense whatsoever to deny any of these children a loving family because some people might not be comfortable with what the family looks like. Nor does it make sense to me to spend tax dollars on temporary homes when there are caring adults who want to adopt and some of them happen to be gay.
Research confirms that gay people can be good parents. I already know this.
I raised two children with a gay man. He fathered them, loved them and helped them learn right from wrong and 2+2. And then he came out. It didn't change his love for them, or theirs for him.
Our children both graduated from good colleges in four years -- not every child does that. Both have held good jobs -- not every young person does that. They are building lives of fulfillment and giving back. They are compassionate, joyful, loving human beings, in part because of their father's influence. He loved them, set limits, laughed and cried with them, just as I did. He took them -- and made them go -- to church and soccer practice and dance class and did the things that help children grow up into whole human beings.
I don't know how we could consider ourselves Christians if we deny children a loving home because of a parent's sexual orientation. I don't know how we could talk about being fiscally responsible if we prefer to have taxpayers pay to care for these children rather than allow them to be adopted into a loving home, when foster care is far more costly. I don't know how we could say we want less government if we send government snooping into people's private lives.
I hope for a world where people like my former husband could be themselves and where good parenting is the only standard in deciding who can adopt.
Or, as one of my children put it, "if gay people could marry each other and have families, they wouldn't feel pressured into a conventional marriage because they want children. How the heck is more love a bad thing?"
It's time to open our eyes and our hearts.