Journalist Gilberto Scofield Jr. and his partner, Rodrigo Barbosa, adopted a four-year-old boy in 2014. In an open letter published on the blog "Ser mãe é padecer na internet," Scofield talked about the adoption process and the challenges of parenthood.
The little boy, who was born to a couple battling issues with alcohol, used to live in a shelter in Capelinha, a small city in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. When his mother died, his father abandoned him and he was later given up for adoption where he subsequently faced rejection from three straight couples. Their reason, Scofield, was that the boy was "ugly" or "too black."
Scofield sent a message to the Eduardo Cunha, a Brazilian Congressman and current Speaker of the Brazllian House of Representatives who is known for his conservative views and defense of the "Estatuto da Família", a project that can be compared to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which stipulates that only a straight couple can be considered a family.
"No, Congressman Eduardo Cunha. Heterosexual couples don’t have a monopoly on parenthood," Scofield wrote. "If your religion doesn't promote tolerance, try to pay attention to a simple fact: all children that are adopted by a gay or lesbian couple were abandoned, attacked or neglected by a heterosexual couple. The same kind of couple that you say is only capable of raising 'normal' children."
According to 2013 data from the CNA (National Adoption Database), more than 5,400 children are waiting to be adopted in Brazil and 80 percent of them are over nine years old. Even with fewer couples rejecting black children in the last few years, 29 percent of prospective adoptive parents are only interested in the adoption of white children while 42.5 percent are indifferent.
Scofield also wrote a post on Facebook, expressing his love for his adopted son:
The boy missed a female presence when he came to live with us. He was always asking if he had a mother. Of course the expectations of a kid that leaves a shelter include a mother figure, but not all families are made up of a mother and a father.
After two weeks, he stopped asking about a mother.
Today in the morning we were watching a movie on the TV and we saw a scene of a sad girl playing the piano. "She is alone daddy, she wants to cry." Then a squirrel came from a tree in her direction and my son said: "Good. Now she will be happy. He is going to be her daddy." Children can teach us a lot, my friends. The shape of the modern family is based on loving relationships. Is there true love? Call it family.
This article was originally published on HuffPost Brazil and was translated into English.