Won’t someone please think of the kiddies?

Hello all. This is Robynn, Terence’s daughter, responding to his invitation to comment for myself on the terrible, terrible hardship I suffered growing up with a gay father. Wait, that’s not quite right…I feel a little out of place writing here, as I am not Catholic; indeed, not a believer at all. Normally I am happy to stick to what I know and keep my opinions on Church policies to myself, but then, the Church doesn’t seem to follow the same principle, insisting as it does on telling us all that gay couples make terrible parents. Not only do the bishops not have any special knowledge on the subject, they seem to be denying what evidence and experience is in fact out there. And they’re certainly not keeping their prejudices opinions to themselves.

I can of course only speak from my own experience, and from common sense. I was not adopted; my parents divorced when I was around 7 years old and, like most children after divorce, I was raised mainly by my mother. However, I spent a lot of time (including one full year as a teenager) with my father and his then partner, Bruce, with whom he shared an 18-year relationship. I consider myself entirely unscarred by the experience. In fact, to confirm Dad’s report, I do feel that I was privileged to be part of this unusual family.

It’s hard to explain why, without sounding terribly patronising – not my intention. But in high school, particularly, I was very aware of having a different perspective to my peers. I enjoyed this and I believe it was very valuable in forming my worldview, a view perhaps less limited than that of many suburban kids. My family was unusual, but stable, and very supportive. Gay parents: I recommend them.

Of course not every couple will be stable; not every couple will make supportive, loving parents. That’s terribly unfortunate, isn’t it? If only there were some way to screen for the suitability of prospective parents… if only couples wishing to adopt had to undergo some sort of screening, be interviewed by social workers for instance, convince the authorities of their commitment to and suitability for raising children… OH WAIT A MINUTE.

Really it’s ridiculous. Anybody at all can have a baby (I should know, I just did). But not anybody can adopt. A gay couple who want to raise a family will certainly have to work hard to get those kids; it won’t be undertaken lightly and no one will simply hand a baby over, no questions asked. That’s the case for adoption by straight couples, and I expect that, fairly or not, the authorities will look even more closely at gay would-be parents. So common sense tells me, as strongly as my own experience, that the bishops are… well… not firing on all cylinders here. What on earth are they afraid of? I really can’t understand.

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