By Kenneth Brown of Beaverton, Oregon who describes himself as "a burnt-out software engineer."
Well the Oregon Legislature is back in session, and they've just gotten right to work, haven't they? Rep. John Lim, chair of the House Trade and Economic Development committee is sponsoring HB 2401. This feel-good, kick-em-while-they're-down measure targets adoptive same-sex couples.
HB 2401 focuses on providing preference to married couples over unmarried couples or singles in adoptions. The only exceptions made would be for blood relatives, people with emotional ties (like foster parents), or for special needs children.
Special needs is an interesting term in the adoption lexicon. Like a real-estate agent who uses terms like Character, Personality, or Fixer-Upper, it covers a spectrum of situations.
A special needs child could be handicapped, have emotional problems, or just be stuck with the wrong skin color.
What's insideous about this bill is how it would work in practice. While HB 2401 also gives preference to Oregon residents - it'll surely be read to give married non-residents preference over shacked-up locals. Between the law and bureaucratic inertia non-married adoptive parents would be offered only special needs children.
While gays have proven excellent parents to special needs kids, I really doubt Rep. Lim has the best interests of these kids in mind. I may be cynical, but this whole situation has a eugenics-y second-class kids for second-class parents feel to it.
Which brings me to another reservation about this bill. It has no provision for the rights of the birth mother. One of the things that makes Oregon popular on the adoption circuit is that Open Adoption is available here.
Open Adoption is a process where the birth mother, and the adoptive parents have ongoing contact. In these adoptions, the birth mother picks the parents via the adoption agency.
Under HB2401, these agencies would have to show preference to married couples. This would mean that if a birth mother wanted to place her child with an unmarried couple or single - and there was a married couple available, her choice would not be respected. (For anyone who wonders why/if a birth mother might choose a same-sex couple, try reading The Kid.)
Instead of closing this with a rant on how there is no evidence that married straight couples make better parents that same-sex couples (and there isn't), I want to instead draw out a scenario for you, one which disproves the notion that married couples are the best possible adoptive parents.
How many of you grew up around extended family? Hillary Clinton may be wrong about a lot of things, but "It takes a village" wasn't one of them.
If a married couple has an adult relative living with them, be it a mother, father, or sibling - DHS requires all adults living in a home to adopt together.
So congratulations, Rep. Lim! Not only have you written a law that discriminates against prospective adoptive parents, demeans the special needs children they do adopt, and denies birth mothers the right to choose who will raise their baby - You've also come up with the perfect excuse for husbands to refuse to allow their mother-in-law to come live with them.
You must be so proud.