April 11, 2011 (HLI.org) – Adoption is an ancient institution which we find in the historical records of many civilizations. On some occasions it was done to take care of orphans or abandoned children, in other cases it was a means of giving continuity to a family that lacked descendants. Under the influence of Christianity it was accepted that the main reason to adopt a child was for the benefit of the child, when he lacked parents or his parents were unable to perform their parental duties. It is also perfectly legitimate that when a married couple judges that they can raise more children than they were given naturally, that they may adopt out of a spirit of charity and generosity to foster the good of the children.
With activists campaigning for adoption rights for homosexual couples, however, it is time to consider some basic truths, and recall why it is both just and crucial that we prevent such false and destructive “rights” from being codified in the laws of our states and our nation.
A child is a free gift from God; thus, we do not have a right to this gift. It is up to the Lord to grant a child to couple, or for reasons that He only knows, deny this gift. This is why a couple that does not receive the gift of children through natural means cannot use artificial means that are against the unitive nature of marriage to obtain a child. Reproductive technologies which seek to ‘take’ a child apart from sexual intercourse do not treat the child as what he truly is. Moreover, recognition of children as gifts underscores the most proper context for receiving that gift.
In the same way that a couple does not have a right to receive children naturally, a couple that is unable to have children does not have a right to receive children through adoption. Thus,to speak of the “right” of all couples to be treated equal with regards to adoption is misguided, because we cannot protect a right that does not exist. A couple that desires to adopt children has to fulfill the objective conditions established by natural law and revelation. They must demonstrate a capacity to provide a stable home for children through diverse objective conditions. A couple that does not fulfill these conditions, and thus is not able to adopt, should not be considered as having suffered unjust discrimination. Per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.
It should be evident that the healthiest setting by far to raise a child is a traditional family: one in which a father and a mother lovingly and faithfully live out their vocation as protectors and exemplars for their children. This is why adoption agencies carefully evaluate and certify the moral, psychological and economic capacity of a couple to adopt children.
Allowing a homosexual couple to adopt, on the other hand, presents the children with an unnatural model of adult relationships that does not foster normal, healthy psychological growth and instead will most likely harm the children.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states that, “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.”
And speaking specifically to the issue of whether those in homosexual relationships should be able to raise children, the CDF is very clear:
As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. 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.
It is a grave offense to both religious freedom and freedom of conscience to force religious social service organizations to violate their principles and grant custody of innocent children to adults whose values are radically opposed to their own. There are only two reasons that activists are seeking to expand adoption rights to homosexual couples, and force all adoption agencies to comply with this regulation: First, to grant further legitimacy to homosexual unions in society, and second, to limit the scope of the charitable services religious organizations are able to perform in society.
We are also particularly concerned by the decision of the Arkansas’s state Supreme Court on April 7th to strike down a voter-approved initiative passed in 2008 that forbade unmarried couples, including homosexuals, from adopting or fostering children. The act had established that “A minor may not be adopted or placed in a foster home if the individual seeking to adopt or to serve as a foster parent is cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of a marriage which is valid under the constitution and laws of this state.” The Act clarified that the prohibition “applies equally to cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals.” The court, in overturning the will of Arkansans, said that their desired law was unconstitutional because it violated the rights of privacy of possible adopting couples.
Here we have the unacceptable situation that the so-called right to privacy trumps the rights of the children to be raised in a stable home by a natural family. The court’s decision tragically places more importance on the sexual interests of adults than on protecting children. It should be evident that children deserve the safest and most stable home possible. The voters of Arkansas voted to ensure that children wouldn’t be deprived of the best possible family environment and have again seen their wishes rejected by a small band of activist judges. This trend in American politics is deeply troubling.
All persons of good will should oppose any proposal to give legitimacy to adoption of children by homosexual couples. Not only does it give legitimacy to an unnatural relationship, which is the true end of the activists promoting such laws, but it places children at risk for the sake of a radical and destructive agenda.