Them Before Us supports adoption, when it is properly understood. Adoption must always be viewed as a child-centric institution, not simply as a means for adults to have children.
No adult – heterosexual, homosexual, or single- has a “right” to adopt.
Rather, every child has a right to parents.
In adoption, the intended parents are not the clients. The child is the client.
Them Before Us understands that children are made for a relationship with their biological mother and father and do best when raised within the loving home of their married parents. Any other family structure, including adoption, exposes children to increased risk and diminished outcomes. Adoption should be sought only when all avenues to keep the child with their family of origin have been exhausted. The trauma a child faces when they’ve lost a relationship with their biological parents should not be minimized or ignored.
For the child, adoption begins with great loss. Adoption is society’s attempt to mend that wound. However, while adoption is the best case scenario for a child in need, adoptive parents- no matter how loving- cannot fully compensate for the loss of the child’s first family.
With that in mind, placement agencies must evaluate which parents are best for the child. Placements should not cater to what the adults want, but should prioritize what the child needs.
When evaluating prospective placements, there are several variables involved. Each criteria must be weighed and considered prior to placing the child with a family.
– Biological connection whenever possible- identity and kinship matter.
– Biological sex of parents– offering both paternal and maternal love.
– Marital status- familial stability matters.
– Strong mental, emotional, and physical health of adoptive parents
– Financial readiness
– The child’s desires- especially older children.
– Children placed with biological siblings whenever possible
– Parents readiness to manage the child’s particular diagnosis/special need
Social workers often have to make subjective decisions about placements, weighing each of these values in light the child’s particular situation and needs. Especially when placing older children, special needs children, and/or sibling groups, seldom will every above factor be available to every child.
We support adoption agencies who prioritize placing children with married heterosexual couples, especially when those couples also fulfill other needed criteria. We therefore reject the assertion that gay couples or singles should have “equal access” to adopted children. Adoption agencies need the freedom to evaluate all factors when placing a child, including the gender and marital status of the adoptive family.
Likewise, after taking into account the values above and weighing them according to available adoptive parents, an agency may find that a same-sex couple or single adult is the best placement for the child. Again, the focus is on the child’s best interest, and in some cases that may be a same-sex couple or single parent.
In summary, placement decisions are often complex with numerous variables. Social workers must be free to make the placement which is in the child’s best interest- not the placement that satisfies the desires of the adults involved.