As organizations like Bethany Christian Services, one of the largest and longest operating adoption agencies in the world, succumb to legal pressure by gender activists to place babies whose primary human need is a loving, nurturing mother and father into inherently motherless and fatherless families (i.e.. same-sex), we must confront and reject the accusation that favoring one family form over all other options in public life is bigoted and unfair. For that is precisely what is at work here: an emotion-laden claim to “fairness” is being employed to demand that no particular form of family configuration is valued over another in terms of well-being outcomes.
Focus on the Family is of the deep and long conviction that some family forms indeed do a better job than others at providing the things children and society need for healthy development. Therefore, some family types should be favored and encouraged over others when it comes to public policy and personal life choices.
We believe this family form is the married, mother/father family raising their own biological or adoptive children. We believe this because of our Christian faith. But also because the leading academic research, published over decades, regularly prove it true. This conviction is not bigotry. It is rooted in common sense, compassion, and science itself.
There are four factors to consider in properly dismissing this incorrect accusation of bigotry. First is the issue of rights.
1. There is No Right to a Child
This topic has been strategically established upon the issue of adult rights for rhetorical and political affect. But let us be clear. Outside of biological parentage, there is no right to a child. None. That is a wholly novel claim that has been posited by family revisionists today and uncritically accepted by the larger culture. But it is untrue.
Children, as the vulnerable ones, have needs and rights. Adults, as providers, have responsibilities toward the children they create. This is a defining and fundamental fact of what it means to be human and humane. Children are not a reward to fulfill adult rights and desires. Assuming they are is a form of adult-centric narcissism.
An orphan is a child that has lost its mother and father. Adoption is the heroic and compassionate effort to replace, in the best way possible, that child’s most fundamental and immediate human need: a new mother and father. Adoption is inherently child-centric. It exists for the child, and the child alone. Adult considerations are always secondary.
2. Children Need and Have a Right to a Mother and Father
Every child is the result, ideally, of the love between one mother and one father. As a rule, research consistently demonstrates children do best in every essential measure of well-being and development when they are raised by their own married, biological or adoptive mother and father. And for the absolute wealth of research documenting this fact over the last five decades, no reliable efforts have disproven this fact. They continue to affirm it.
Research coming jointly from Princeton University and the center-left Brookings Institution explains, “most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide range of outcomes.” The leading scholarship in this field, they explain, is primarily focused on why, rather than if this is true. The scholars at Child Trends, one of the world’s leading non-partisan child advocacy think-tanks, explain:
Both mothers and fathers play important roles in the growth and development of children. The number and the type of parents (e.g., biological [vs.] step) in the household, as well as the relationship between the parents, are consistently linked to a child’s well-being. …Children living with two married adults (biological or adoptive parents) have, in general, better health, greater access to health care, and fewer emotional or behavioral problems than children living in other types of families.
Even the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child explicitly rejects any celebration of family diversity. In Article 7 it contends every child in every nation, regardless of culture, politics, religious or ideological belief, has “the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.” They certainly are not using “parents” generically.
3. Lesbian-Headed Homes Have Dramatically High Dissolution Rates
It is well established that same-sex couples, particularly lesbians, have dramatically higher break-up rates compared to married mother/father homes. This remains true even in extremely gay-affirming cultures like the Netherlands and Sweden.
This means placing children in same-sex homes is to place them in situations that are tremendously more likely to break up compared to married mother/father homes. All adoption professionals know family stability is one of the most important factors for child well-being and the orphan’s greatest need.
4. The Charge of Bigotry is Mere Name Calling
It is beyond any dispute that it is good and noble to give an orphaned child what he or she has tragically lost: a mother and father. A way to make such a basic thing sound bad is to call it “bigotry” and that is what activists have done.
The word “bigot” is a slur rather than a reasoned case against something. Sure, someone could be a bigot and believe that all children should have a mother and father. But it is the height of illogic to believe the two are related. The accusation of bigotry is merely a rhetorical weapon to silence disagreement or discussion.
The closest and most effective replacement of a child’s missing mother and father is an adoptive married mother and father. This is not complicated. Agencies that provide this service, and this service alone, are doing mandatory work and it requires no apology. To claim otherwise is a twisting of brute facts and common-sense and should be denounced as such.
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