For advocates of gay adoption, progress but also obstacles
With tens of thousands of children lingering in foster care across the United States, waiting for adoption, Illinois schoolteachers Kevin Neubert and Jim Gorey did their bit. What began with their offer to briefly care for a newborn foster child evolved within a few years into the adoption of that little boy and all four of his older siblings who also were in foster care.
The story of their two-dad, five-kid family exemplifies the potential for same-sex couples to help ease the perennial shortfall of adoptive homes for foster children. Yet, even as more gays and lesbians are adopting, there are efforts by state and federal politicians to protect faith-based adoption agencies that object to placing children in such families.Among the supportive agencies is Vermont-based Friends in Adoption. Its founder and director, Dawn Smith-Pliner, says she’s heartened by the overall trends of LGBT adoption in the past decade, but now worries about a resurgence of “frantic phone calls” if, given recent political developments, more agencies feel emboldened to refuse placements with gays and lesbians.
“Do we have to go backward again before we go forward?” she asked.