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May 28, 2009

Focus on the Family: 'The Obama administration is really listening'

A representative of Focus on the Family attended a faith-based office discussion on children in foster care, and a follow-up CitizenLink article seems cautiously optimistic.

Kelly Rosati, adoptive mother of four and senior director of Focus on the Family’s Sanctity of Human Life department, was among those in attendance.

“The Obama administration is really listening," she said, "and wanted to know from those on the front lines what could be better done to serve the kids in America’s foster care system."

Unfortunately, the president supports placing some of those kids with homosexual couples.

This takes a different tone from the pretend letter that Focus on the Family Action issued just a few weeks before the election, which said that several events would take place during an Obama administration, including terrorists attacks on four U.S. cities.

Comments

Nor is it different from their comments about the supreme court nominiee. They took several things widely out of context and while much of the press has admited that they were wrong, Focus on the Family has not.

The comments of earlier this week about the supreme court nominiee were not of a different tone. They took comments out of context and in spite of the fact that much of the rest of the press has agreed that the comments were appropriate in context, Focus on the Family has not altered their statement.

This is an example of Focus on the Family and others fighting for ideology not the actual kids that need help.

Children in the foster system have already experienced so much trauma and heartache through their biological family situation. Is it wise to cause them more confusion by initially placing them in a homosexual couple's home? What is truly best for the kid?

I don't think Focus and their ilk are fighting for an ideology. It's just that when helping these kids find a forever family, they want to make sure they're not contributing to a child being distracted from becoming all God wants them to be.

Consider a Reese's peanut butter cup. The differences and contrasts of the two flavors are what make the treat so appealing. Likewise, a child needs the unique attributes that both a mom and a dad can give a child they are choosing to adopt. Any other arrangement would make it just a "plain chocolate bar."

Focus on the Family and James Dobson continue to be the favorite whipping posts of liberal Christians and liberal secularists, which are increasingly indistinguishable. He simply cannot win with them, even if he is espousing what Christian tradition and scripture clearly teach.

The postmodern culture continues to unreasonably jettison historic Christian teachings, often without even studying them. One would hope and pray that some day Dobson will at least get an unbiased hearing in the popular culture. That's obviously not the case now since to be characterized a hatemonger Dobson need do no more that offer an amiable disagreement.

Did you really just compare foster care with candy bars?!?!

Your presupposition that placing foster children with gay parents is bad for them is just plain wrong. All valid studies show that what is important in raising children is love and security. It doesn't matter the gender nor the sexual orientation of the adults who give them the love and security.

No, foster care is not a candy bar. However, I was using the analogy to illustrate how two different aspects enrich something instead of just having more of the same as you would have in a gay parent home. If anything, I was comparing heterosexual parenting to a Reese's, as poor as that illustration may have been.

I didn't say placing children who have been in foster care with gay parents is bad for them. I asked "What is best for the kid?"

Your statement that every child should be raised in love and security is correct. However, it shouldn't be the only consideration. Men and women love children in different ways. They discipline differently, teach them with varying styles, their interactions and play styles lend themselves to enriching a child's life further. They communicate in different ways.

It's through such differences, that I believe they comprise a stronger team to help children cope with life's challenges, especially children who have experienced the loss and hurt most children do through the foster system.

John I do not theoretically disagree with you. But the reality is that there are thousands of children that are not being adopted and many children that are not being adequately services in the foster care system.

My experience with foster care was short. We took in 2 kids from our church. Their previous placement (an illiterate, developmentally delayed grandmother) had been arrested for domestic violence. Their mother was close to getting them back so we got involved in order to provide some stability for the short term.

The church based agency lied to the judge about important issues and eventually the judge removed the social worker (in part because I went to the boys lawyer and told her about the blatant lies.) We also asked to get certified (we were declared God Parents and were viewed as relatives by the court) and after three months and many requests for paperwork and follow up in the process we gave up because NO ONE would call us back or respond to our requests. This was a Christian agency.

My issue is that someone is better than no one. If you are willing to start working with foster children, then complain away. If not then let gay couples work with kids and do what is best for the kids.

Adam,

I last heard there are 127,000 children waiting to be adopted right now through the U.S. foster system. My wife and I adopted five kids, three of them through foster care. We cared for 25 different kids in two different states over the course of 3.5 years, with many of those children returning to their parents or extended family in a kinship care situation.

I'm sorry your experience with "the system" wasn't good. I can relate. (And I hope I haven't typed anything here that would be seen as "complaining.") The courts can only do so much, which is why it's up to married men and women to help out where they can. That's exactly what's happening at Focus, it appears.

I saw on their orphan care website(www.icareaboutorphans.org), that they're working with churches, adoption agencies, and social services to reduce the number of children waiting to be adopted through foster care. 1,300 people showed up at their first event last year with 260 of those families moving forward with the adoption process.

We all need to do what's best for hurting kids in need of a mom and dad.

To John and Mark

I'm so sick and ashame of some of you who call yourselves Christians that if I wasn't one myself I would have run very far from a belief in God.

1 Cor 6:8-10 that is used to state homosexuality is a sin. If you look at the two verses there are several sins identified alongside. Liars, fornicators and adulterers just to name a few.

Do you and FOTH also argue that kids who are desperately in need of love not be placed with such people as well?

John, I have a great deal of respect for someone that has a position and follows through with it. I also agree with you that what is best is a stable loving home. My fear is that in the process of trying to do the right thing, there will be hundreds (although in reality probably not more than that) of children that will not be adopted or placed with anyone, instead of placing them with a gay individual or couple. The other side of this is that there are now many, many singles that have adopted and/or been involved in foster care. We do not currently restrict those individuals based on the idea that it would be better to place them with a married couple instead. I have a good friend that has adopted two boys. She is single in her early 30s and does not have a husband in sight. She is the director of an after school program and has adopted two boys that were in desperate need. It would not have been better for her to wait for a couple to adopt these kids. They were 7 and 9 year old African American boys with significant learning disabilities. The likelihood of anyone adopting them is very low.

Justin,
We're all sinners, including me. However, there are different consequences for our sin. This isn't a "ranking" of any person being any better than another, of course. It's just that the consequences for murder, for example, are much more severe than the ramifications of stealing cookies from mom's cookie jar.

Likewise, the home in which a child is placed for adoption shouldn't center on what the parents want, but what the child needs. What are the ramifications of a child living with an unrepentent adulterer? A liar? A child abuser?

Again, it goes back to what is best for the child.

To Adam's point, I also have single friends who have adopted. However, I don't know that any of them would say that's what is best for their child. I'm encouraged by more moms and dads opening their homes to children from foster care.

I disagree with your assumption that people wouldn't adopt African-American kids or those with special needs. One of my boys is deaf and the other two that we didn't adopt from foster care are African-American.

John, surely you understand the percentages of kids that are adopted. Yes, there are people that will adopt African American kids and special needs kids. But the chances of a 7 and 9 year old African American boys being adopted together are extremely small except for a family adoption. Those 127,000 kids that are in the system are disproportionately minority and older kids. What people in generally want to adopt are infants and children that look like them. That is reality. Claiming different doesn't get us anywhere. That is a major reason why people are willing to pay $10 or 20K to adopt an infant from overseas but will not adopt an older child from the US even if it is free.

Do you really think that most single people that adopt think that it would be better for the kids to stay in the system and wait for a couple to adopt them. I just do not believe that.

Granted, the 127,000 kids are older, but not necessarily heavier on a certain ethnic group than the general population. Either way, does that mean they're somehow not as valuable to adopt?

Yes, I find it sad that white people want a blonde-
haired, blue-eyed baby straight from the hospital when there is such a huge need to care for older children, disabled kids, and those of a different race than their own who need a family now. But which makes more sense - allowing anyone to adopt or re-educating the church on the need to adopt so moms and dads in heterosexual homes can train up these children in the way they should go? Adoption is not so much about adults becoming parents as it is the need to ensure orphans will have a home.

However, the only way many Christian parents may ever see the need is for them to start out as a respite care provider or become licensed as a foster home. By experiencing life with these children, a bond is created. I encourage all married men and women reading this to consider how God could use them to help a child.

John maybe your area is different but the statistics do show a racial disparity. (And African Americans are more likely to be foster parents and to adopt.)

According to a 2009 study 40% of foster care children were White, non-Hispanic, 32% were African American (approximately 3 times the rate of what their population is in the US) and 19% Hispanic children.

What I did find hopeful is that the disparity is dropping from 2000 to 2006 and the reunification rate has increased.

Those that left foster care, usually left within a year. Beyond that their chance of getting back with their parents was very low.

Here is the study if you are interested http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/foster.cfm

What's even more disheartening is that Christians are the least likely of any identified group to adopt a kid. So here we have a set of people arguing against a same sex couple providing a child with love and caring he or she so desperately needs and yet they would not even step up.

john

if you are somehow arguing that placing kids with same sex couples would somehow turn them gay. i would advise you to don't go there.

To Christian Lawyer's point, yes the data is varied around the country so perhaps my myopic view was in error. Thank you for sharing the stats and your experience from Florida. As I sometimes do, I was speaking from individual experience, using local/state stats.

However, your final comment of "I'd rather see children adopted by qualified, loving gay couples (or singles) than by a married complementarian couple." is quite alarming. Are you saying it's better for children to be in gay homes than in heterosexual homes with a married mom and dad?

I bring this up not to argue (we've all seen plenty of other sites with name-calling and arguments that don't get anywhere.) Help me understand your rationale for why you think gay parenting is better than straight parenting. I don't think there's any data that would suggest the opposite of how culture and society have traditionally functioned for thousands and thousands of years.

To your other point, I agree too. Obviously men and women everywhere have different personalities and strengths. Sometimes the traditional male and female roles are reversed, but as a married couple, they still complement each other.

However, a discussion focused on suggesting that these differences justify a homosexual relationship is tangential from the original point here. We can't put people in a box, including calling homosexuals "fundamentally disordered," which I can't believe you would suggest. I think a lot of it comes down to each of us (including me) trying to justify our sinful choices...but that's a tangent too.

Adam, I saw the similar stat of how children in foster care aren't staying there as long and the number is dropping as more children are being adopted. I feel for the kids who are aging out of the system without anywhere to call home. I appreciate your feedback on this topic.

Justin,
Who are you referring to here that is "a set of people arguing against a same sex couple providing a child with love and caring he or she so desperately needs and yet they would not even step up"? I'm also curious if you have a study that shows Christians are the least likely group of people to adopt. I don't think that's correct.

Look, there are good reasons why marriages are men and women only. I like the list given at MarriageNewsNow, which addresses lots of these types of "why" questions. http://www.marriagenewsnow.com