Katy Faust is an angry, fired up Seattle mother of four, and a pastor’s wife. She wasn’t always this way. For the most part, she was a shy woman who kept to herself. But then something set her off. Big time. She says she “straight up snapped.”
What set her off started a women-led, influential, international movement on how we view the family. Here is the story.
Katy’s mother and father divorced when she was 10 years old. It was difficult on her, even though she maintained a very close relationship with both her parents. Her dad remarried and her mother moved in with her female lover, who was not the cause of the divorce. She continued to love her mother and counted her partner as a close friend. But if Katy could have waved a magic wand, that young girl would have had her parents’ marriage mended. These new families left a deep wound in Katy’s heart. She is not alone in this.
Forward to an average day in 2012 and what made Katy really snap. It had to do with the cultural evolution of language over the make-up of family. She explains that right around the time President Obama mysteriously “evolved” on the subject of same-sex marriage – he was against it until he was for it, one evening after talking to his school-age daughter at bedtime – the nasty word “bigot” became attached to anyone who believed what humanity had always believed: Children need the love of a married mother and father.
Instead, activists were saying children only needed two parents, any two parents.
She knew this was a lie. She knew it first-hand. And she knew the lie was created for political and ideological purposes. She, her husband and their many friends in uber-liberal Seattle simultaneously held that it is a tragedy when any child loses access to their mother and father while also deeply loving their same-sex attracted family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
Katy was deeply offended at the cheap and baseless accusation that people who believe children need a married mom and dad are bigots. All to push an anti-child agenda.
Katy explains in her recent book, “As someone who has been working with kids for two decades, I know these claims are politically motivated lies” adding “the push to make mothers and fathers optional in order to forward a political goal sickened me.” She continues, “To imply that kids don’t care if they’ve lost a relationship with their mother or father, and to claim gender is irrelevant to parenting, is dangerous and non-sensical.”
This is what Katy Faust spoke about at a special event this week co-sponsored by the Colson Center and Focus on the Family, entitled Lighthouse Voices. Katy explained the work of her non-profit organization which also shares the same name with her new book, Them Before Us. She and her organization are collecting and telling the stories of adult children who were intentionally denied access to their own mother and father because their parents desired certain types of families. These are voices that must be heard.
Katy breaks down three disturbing family trends that are harming children deeply. She has started an international movement to encourage all nations to rethink their positions on these three family developments and develop strong policies and attitudes that discourage them.
The three trends are the spread of divorce, artificial reproductive technology/surrogacy, and same-sex marriage and parenting. She says that each of these intentionally robs every child they touch of what they need most: the daily love and care of their own mother and father. In fact, she says the absolutely false accusation of “bigot” should be replaced with a proper understanding of “rights” in this debate. People who believe every child has the right to a mother and father are not bigots. They are pro-child and pro-family. Faust reminds us with great passion that no adult has a right to a child. That is a truth we all need to come to terms with.
What Every Child Needs
Nature gives children, through the union of a specific man and woman who become the child’s unique father and mother. That is the first principle of humanity. Nature has worked it out so that these are the two people who are most likely to do the best job raising, caring for, feeding, protecting, and educating that child into successful adulthood. Married mothers and fathers legally adopting children who do not have either is the second best option.
Every functioning society is established on this truth and ignores it at their own peril. Faust correctly asserts that a child’s right to be loved by his or her own married biological or adoptive mother and father is absolute. It is the first human right, after the right to life itself. There is no adult right to children. There is only adult responsibility to their natural or adoptive offspring.
And this is where we have gotten in trouble, thinking that if adults can create new kinds of families based on their own wishes and sexual interests, then the children who result from these “modern families” will adapt and be all right. After all, we are constantly told that “love makes a family.”
This is another lie that really set Katy Faust and those who work with her at Them Before Us off! Katy explains that every time you hear the term “modern family” celebrated, each of us should realize what that means. The modern family exists because at least one child lost access to either their mother or father because of adult desire. Faust contends, based on reams of university-based sociological, medical, and psychological data carefully catalogued in her book, these new family forms are seriously harmful to children. She hears it in the stories of such children as they have reached adulthood.
No-fault divorce spread across the nation in the 1970s and 80s with the grand promise that if unhappy parents could leave their marriage in search of happier ones, then the children would become happier. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After 40 years of this experiment, we know it was a lie. The best research we have shows us how profoundly divorce has impacted children in ways no one ever anticipated. This is because divorce is driven by adult desire, rather than the needs of children for their own married mother and father. Katy says divorce has put the hard work of new families on the children rather than the adults doing the hard work to keep the original family together. She says this is precisely backwards.
ART and Surrogacy
Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART), by artificial insemination, sperm and egg donation, and third part surrogacy all seem like wonderful ideas because they help everyone and anyone start families and have children. What’s wrong with that?
Faust contends this is only “pro-family” if you take it from the perspectives of the interested adults who are trading money for children as commodities in order to separate those very children from their own actual mother and father. This commodifies children to satisfy the desires of adults who want untraditional families and expect the children to just make do. Katy’s organization and others have documented the deep emotional and physical suffering of such children who see themselves as biological orphans, regardless of how loving the adults in their lives are.
Adults who go through the extremely virtuous adoption process must prove their worthiness to parent by passing rigorous and costly checks by the state. All of this is in the best interest of the child. Katy explains that the “only check that needs to clear for anyone to become a parent through ART is the check to the bank.” The serves the desires of wealthy adults. Biology and adoptive law make someone a parent. When its for sale, that is never good.
Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting
Advocates for natural marriage of male and female were chided constantly with this cheap question: How will my same-sex marriage hurt your hetero-marriage? It was meant to be an argument stopper that marriage is a wholly private institution involving only the couple. It was all about the adults, and we were told all children needed were loving parents, regardless of sex. That was a lie too, in service of adult desires.
Same-sex marriage neutered parenting. If a marriage doesn’t need a husband and wife that family doesn’t need a mother and father either. And children lose because every child in a same-sex home is denied his or her mother or father by intention and design.
Faust tells us the story of Heather who was raised by two loving moms, “The pain in my life did not stem from the state not recognizing the relationship between my ‘two moms.’ It stemmed from the turmoil of desperately wanting a father,” Heather said.
She adds, “I ached for my father to love me. I ached for the father I knew I would never have.” All the love in the world from two moms can never replace a father.
Faust explains that each of these trends – divorce, ART, and same-sex parenting – deny every child they touch their fundamental right to their own mother and father and her book and talk are a compelling case for just how harmful this is to all of us. She is calling us to rethink what our society has created by choice.
Katy is angry on behalf of children because we have not been putting Them (the children) before Us (the adults). And we are accusing those who insist we do of bigotry. Focus on the Family was proud and delighted to co-sponsor her critically important talk with our very good friends at the Colson Center.
You can see Katy Faust’s entire talk and Q&A here: