Polling reports say that 53% of the American public supports adoption/fostering by gay couples, and 39% is opposed to it. In addition to religious or moral reasons, the arguments that these 39% often put forth as reasons gay couples should not be allowed to adopt children include the beliefs that homosexual men are more likely to abuse children sexually, more prone to drug abuse, and more likely to have mental disorders. The idea that gay men will sexually abuse children is very prevalent and has affected many people’s perception of how appropriate it may be to place children in foster homes with gay couples. However, this idea has been statistically disproven by studies and surveys. The belief that LGBTQ individuals are more prone to drug abuse and mental disorder, though, is not unfounded. Studies find that gay and lesbian people are much more likely to struggle with these particular problems. LGBTQ rights activists say that this is due to stress that members of the gay and lesbian community experience, because they are so often discriminated against or feel marginalized. Regardless of these reasons and whether or not they are valid, this problem still exists, as does the very legitimate concern that children of LGBTQ households are more likely to be bullied in school.
An Athens CASA volunteer, who is currently working on a case in which the foster parents are homosexual, says that the boy she is advocating for has been confronted in his school by a classmate about the fact that he has two fathers. However, the volunteer says that the boy is no longer experiencing the behavioral issues which he had been struggling with in the previous traditional-family foster homes where he was placed. She says that the foster couple is an adoptive resource and that both foster siblings in the family are healthy and well-adjusted. “My personal belief is that loving people and couples make great foster parents. I do not have any concerns,” she says about the issue of LGBTQ couples as foster parents.
Just as volunteers should not allow themselves to immediately dismiss gay foster parents as bad parents because of personal beliefs about homosexuality, volunteers should also not let the desire to be politically correct override feelings about issues that may need to be investigated. As a CASA volunteer, helping to decide honestly which placement is truly the best for a child should be the primary concern. The volunteer who I talked with explained that the information and resources included in the CASA training were helpful for times when volunteers might face issues that confront their personal moral or religious beliefs. This type of dilemma can occur about any issue; besides gender identity, CASA volunteers may have concerns about religions, disabilities, and lifestyles that they may feel are not best for a child. These concerns are not always unfounded, and the responsibility of a CASA volunteer is to investigate issues that they feel are worth looking into for the good of the child. As the aforementioned volunteer explained, CASA training encourages volunteers to work together with and communicate with their supervisors about challenging issues in order to come to a conclusion that is most beneficial for a family or child.
Do you have an experience confronting issues that were difficult for you to deal with from a moral or ethical standpoint? How did you deal with them or solve these problems? Share in the comments if you want to!