Ethan and cousin on a boogie board in Ocean Grove, NJ – Summer 07.
I know that over the holidays it is often hard to remember all of things that we should be thankful for, especially when you are wanting a child so badly that it takes over your very being. But, we all need to remember that having hope is a blessing in itself. The very fact that you can create your family through adoption, surrogacy, third party family building, IVF, or one of the many other medical procedures that are now available should provide us the hope that we can all be thankful for. So, while your dream of a family may still be just that – let us all be thankful for hope. Happy Thanksgiving to all! And, remember, your dreams also provide me hope each and every day as I walk into my office and start my day helping to create families one child at a time.
The Florida Department of Children and Families announced that they will not be appealing the decision that struck down Florida’s ban on gay adoption. This announcement brings gays in Florida one step closer to being able to adopt children.
“We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties,” said Joe Follick, the department’s communications director. “But the depth, clarity and unanimity of the DCA opinion — and that of Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman’s original circuit court decision — has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited chance of a different outcome.”
The Department of Children and Families has removed questions regarding sexual orientation from their adoption forms.
Florida was the only state with an explicit ban on gay adoptions.
Sunday New York Governor, David Paterson, signed a bill which allows unmarried partners, including gay couples, jointly adopt children. The bill “also substitutes the gender-neutral term ‘married couple’ in the adoption statute for ‘husband and wife.’” The bill became law effective immediately.
Single gay people have been allowed to adopt in New York but the new law now allows unmarried gay couples to adopt, which is beneficial to gay couples since New York does not allow same sex marriages. The bill also “partly codifies state appeals court rulings and clears up complications from joint adoption as a two-step process. It’s also meant to help ensure children get support, insurance and other benefits from both adults, as well as lifelong relationships even if couples split up.”
Linda Rosenthal, the chief sponsor of the bill, stated “[b]ecause same sex couples can’t get married and some heterosexual people don’t want to get married, they were not allowed to adopt a non-related child together.” With the signing of this bill, they can.
Gay and lesbian couples are finally allowed to adopt in New South Wales, Australia, after it was first proposed 10 years ago by MP Clover Moore.
The bill to allow same-sex couples to adopt in New South Wales, Australia, has narrowly passed in the lower house.
It passed a vote 46-44 last week, and after amendments were made, passed 45-43.
The bill was introduced by independent MP Clover Moore, who agreed yesterday to insert a clause allowing faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples.
Another amendment was added today to allow birth parents the right to state their preference that their children are not adopted by gay couples without breaching anti-discrimination laws.
Church groups welcomed the amendments, saying they were necessary to prevent people and organisations being sued for expressing their beliefs.
However, gay rights groups in the state have said they are concerned that the gay community is not being vocal enough in supporting the laws and has urged people to write to their MPs.
The bill will go to the Legislative Council this week.
To read more go to http://bit.ly/d2SDRH
The bill allowing same sex couples to adopt in New South Wales has been passed the NSW parliament.
The bill was amended by the lower house before it was passed. “The amendment, made by Planning Minister Frank Sartor, frees up adoption agencies to act on the wishes of parents regarding where their children are adopted.” The amendment was made in response to changes that that upper house made to the bill that narrowed the exception for faith based adoption agencies.
NSW is now the third state or territory in Australia that allows same sex couples to adopt. The ACT and Western Australia also allow these adoptions.
However, Queensland’s MPs say that they are in no hurry to follow NSW’s lead and will keep the ban on same sex adoptions intact in Queensland.
“Queensland Premier Anna Bligh referred questions on the matter to Child Safety Minister Phil Reeves, who said the current arrangements would remain unchanged. ‘The government doesn’t have any intention of changing the laws to allow same-sex couples to adopt Australian-born children,’ he said in a statement.”
Same sex couples are allowed to act as foster parents in Queensland and, earlier this year, same sex couples were given the right to use altruistic surrogates as a means of having children.
The Bligh government’s stance on the issue has attracted criticism from equal rights groups and one MP who opposes the ban accused the government of hypocrisy since they allow same sex couples access to altruistic surrogates and allow them to be foster parents but will not allow them to adopt.
“Mr. Reeves said altruistic surrogacy was different from adoption because the biological mother made a personal choice about who the parents of her child would be. ‘This is an individual choice that the government does not seek to influence.’”
Update – A U.S. Appeals court on Thursday temporarily lifted a judge’s ban on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research until it rules on the merits of the Obama administration’s argument against the ban. The court ordered that briefs be filed by Sept. 20, when the three-judge panel will decide whether to extend or end the temporary stay. Read more here:
Surrogacy – No, it is not Friday yet! But, I am taking a much needed holiday, so Friday updates are today.
The debate on a bill that would allow same sex couples to adopt children in New South Wales has started in Australia. There should be a vote of the Legislative Assembly sometime this week.
The debates have led supporters and protestors of the bill to ramp up their lobbying. “As church groups held a fiery rally at Parliament House, it emerged that the head of Uniting Care NSW.ACT, Harry Herbert, had urged MPs to support the bill… ‘While due diligence should certainly be exercised to ensure the rights of the child are properly protected, the mere fact that prospective parents are in a same-sex relationship should not, of itself, be a barrier to adoption,’ he said.”
Mr. Herbert was joined in supporting the bill by The Benevolent Society and The Minister for Community Services and the Education Minister both stated that they would be voting for the bill.
“Discussion of the bill dominated caucus yesterday, with one MP describing it as ‘another stem cell debate’. The MP said that the Labor MLC Greg Donnelly spoke against the bill, ‘but the majority support it.’ Ms Moore, the independent MP for Sydney, will reintroduce the bill today – one day earlier than initially planned – to include an amendment that allows faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to provide services to gay and lesbian couples without breaching anti-discrimination laws.”
Last week in England the Charity Commission rejected a plea from Catholic Care, a Leeds based adoption group, to restrict adoption to only heterosexual couples. “Catholic Care sought an exclusion from the 2007 sexual orientation regulations and began legal action to change its constitution so it could continue helping married couples only. The commission initially refused to give its consent, but the charity won the right to appeal against its decision.”
In the appeal, Catholic Care relied on a statement of the Pope from 2003 which stated in part “… the absence of sexual complementarity in these (homosexual) unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such person … Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development,” to suggest that allowing same-sex couples to adopt children would conflict with “the tenets of the church”. However, the charity commission found that this statement was social commentary rather than doctrine.
Andrew Hind, the chief executive of the Charity Commission said “In certain circumstances, it is not against the law for charities to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. However, because the prohibition on such discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law, such discrimination can only be permitted in the most compelling circumstances. We have concluded that in this case the reasons Catholic Care have set out do not justify their wish to discriminate.”
Philanthropist-Author Releases Second Book Benefitting We Hear The Children Inc.
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SOURCE We Hear The Children Inc.
PORTLAND, Maine, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Brian J Tessier Esq. released his latest book benefitting We Hear The Children Inc. (http://www.wehearthechildren.org). Tessier founded the charity after releasing The Greatest Wish (http://www.thegreatestwish.com). Tessier, a single gay father, and his two adopted sons are currently living in Maine after losing their home in Massachusetts to black mold. Tessier states, “We may be only one family but, we can make a difference.”
In The Intentional Father-Adventures in Single Adoptive Parenting, Tessier chronicles his decision to become a parent. The book outlines the adoption process and is layered with practical and legal advice, contains an adoption journal and example documents essential for those considering becoming an adoptive parent. The central message is to never give up the dream of becoming a parent.
Excerpt from The Intentional Father
In the initial visit with my son, I witnessed a child who was bright, smiled, yelled, stomped his feet and screamed. It was not that he could not talk, he would not talk. He had his own language, created in his mind to get his needs satisfied as a result of them not being met prior. I was told he could only say 7 words, all in Spanish. I went to a corner on this initial visit and sat there with a book and a stuffed bear and waited. Ever so slowly, he approached me, would touch me and run away and giggle. Eventually, he sat in my lap and looked at me for a while, with his social worker, foster mother and my adoption worker looking on he put his hand on my face and said, “daddy.” This was not one of the words he knew and it was not in Spanish…so it began.
The motivation for the charity comes from events which caused the Tessier family to flee their home, as their savings and personal possessions were destroyed as a result of black mold caused by the alleged negligent installation of central air conditioning. Ultimately, Tessier was forced to give up a career spanning more than a decade with a large mutual fund company to care for his young children. Tessier states, “you can lose it all but gain perspective.”
Earlier this year, Tessier and artist Donna Estabrooks (http://www.donnaestabrooks.com) collaborated to release The Greatest Wish. His first book is a heartwarming story bringing forth an inspiring message of hope. Because of the depth of this story’s message, it can be shared by anyone who wants to convey to another they are their greatest wish. With vivid colors, abstract images and vibrant paintings, the artist adroitly captures the essence of the story. Tessier and Estabrooks are working on two more powerful messages, The Poet and the Painter and The Wildest Dream, also benefitting the charity. Fifty percent (50%) of the profit from all works go to the charity. Books can be purchased by visiting http://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/author.aspx?authorid=58925
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Parenting – Interesting study for review. Let me know your thoughts.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia and George Washington University, has found that “it’s the quality of the parenting that creates a psychologically healthy child, not the sexual orientation of the parents”.
The study titled “Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?” appears in the August issue of the journal Applied Developmental Science is different from the other recent studies that have announced the same findings because” for the first time, research on the social development and psychological health of children was not based on the opinions of their parents alone but also of outside observers (teachers and care givers.) And, also for the first time, a control group of heterosexual families was used.” The study focused on preschoolers who were adopted at birth by 27 lesbian couples, 29 gay male couples and 50 heterosexual couples.
Another major difference is that for the first time the researchers conclude that their new findings should lead to the end of existing bans on adoption by same-sex couples in the United States. “From a policy perspective, our results provide no justification for denying lesbian and gay adults from adopting children,” Rachel H. Farr and Charlotte H. Patterson, of the University of Virginia, and Stephen L. Forssell of George Washington University stated.
Currently, there are three states that have an explicit ban on same sex couples adopting, Florida, Mississippi and Utah. There are 29 states, plus the District of Columbia, that explicitly allow such adoptions with the rest of the states having laws with ambiguous language neither banning nor permitting same sex couples to adopt.