|Schollar and Altman in better times|
From the New York Post: "Manhattan Judge Gloria Sosa-Lintner said, 'Although . . . [Brook] Altman is the biological parent, this does not give her an automatic priority over the adoptive parent. This is analogous to a father getting custody of his own child, where only the best interests of the child are paramount.'” Custody was awarded to Altman's former partner, Allison Scollar, who had formally adopted the girl.
BIOLOGY IS IRRELEVANT. NOT
Wait one moment! What we don't know yet from the story is whether Altman, 47, a former TV producer and now a life coach, is an inferior parent, as a divorcing father would have to show about the mother before the judge awarded the father custody, but in any case--he would still be a biological parent. So much is wrong here my head is spinning. More from the Post:
“Love doesn’t just come from biology,” a relieved Scollar, 50, said days after being awarded custody and decision-making authority for her daughter, who turns 6 tomorrow. [Today] “And the minute I saw this little baby, I knew she was mine.
Lorraine and daughter post reunion
“'It’s a step closer to the gay community being acknowledged as parents,” Scollar said in the offices of her lawyers Marilyn Chinitz and Brett Ward.... 'The law needs to catch up to diverse families — and it has.'”Chinitz went on praise the judge for “a great decision” that focused on the fact that, under the law, “the biology of the child is irrelevant."
The law needs to catch up to diverse families? The biology of the child is irrelevant? Tell that to the thousands of adoptees of all ages who are trying to find their biological parents. Tell that to the mothers who are anxiously and hopefully awaiting to hear from the children they surrendered long ago to adoption. Tell that to the centuries of history that inform us otherwise. Biology matters. Genetics count.
And the minute I saw this little baby, I knew she was mine? You want to run that by us again, Allison? The baby that your partner gave birth to, whose genes she carries? You saw her and you knew she was "yours"?
In the ruling, Judge Sosa-Lintner stated that Altman acted more like a friend or a big sister, while Scollar was the more responsible parent. The girl was conceived with sperm from a then-close friend of Scollar, Robert Frame, who signed away his parental rights so that Scollar could legally adopt the infant. Although that was a legal contract, Frame continued to act as if he "had a say" over how the girl was raised, and Altman, the mother, took his side, causing friction between the couple. Altman is appealing the decision.
IMPACT ON THE BABY MARKET
These kinds of stories are difficult to read because they are incredulous to first mothers who--because of biology--so desperately want to have a relationship with their long-gone children. While we believe that gay and lesbian couples should have all the rights of straight folks, marriage and all, the impact this has on adoption is troubling. More gay couples adopting puts more pressure on the market to produce more children available for adoption. Just the other week friends were discussing that a son of another friend was possibly gay, but hadn't come out of the closet yet. The conversation went like this: How did his parents feel? Since he is an only child, would they be concerned about grandchildren?
Well, they can always adopt, said one of my good friends. (See, IRL I don't talk about adoption much.)
"Cue the birthmother, stage left," I forcefully responded, trying to make a joke of it. Ha ha.
Then I had to explain that there were not enough babies to fill the growing maw of a market for them, that the idea that "he can always adopt" serves to ratchet up demand, that because there are profits in adoption, agencies and surrogates look for a way to fill the market. The way to do that is to encourage teens and women to give up their babies to all these nice wanting couples. Oh, said everyone. Right. I made my point, but I don't think I made much of an impact.
FROM TV TO REAL LIFE and vice versa
Consider the new tasteless TV comedy, The New Normal, about a gay couple having a baby with a cute sweet surrogate. Or the nice gay couple of Modern Family, which wins Emmy after Emmy, including several for the actor who plays one of the gay parents. I can't help myself, Modern Family is funny. So is The New Normal. And while I'm not watching because I can't stand it, certainly I'm Having Their Baby must have included one gay couple by now. Adam Pertman and David Brodzinky (see below) have written a book about gay and lesbian adoption.
Attention such as this does impact the mind of the general populus, increasing acceptance of gay parenting, and there is nothing we can do about it. In the village where I live, I often see gay couples pushing babies around. It's not gay parenting per se that I object to; it is how the kids come to be available. Certainly gay couples giving love and a home to children who would otherwise be homeless is a good thing. But the overall acceptance of same-sex parenting adds more pressure all around to find more children available for adoption. Once again, it turns the original concept--finding homes for needy children--on its head, for now the market is finding babies for needy couples and single people.
Just as gay marriage, gay adoption is an hot button issue, particularly among conservatives. Recently sociologist Mark Regnerus published a study showing that same-sex parents put the children at a disadvantage, though many social scientists deemed the study deeply flawed. Most conservative organizations with "family" in the name oppose same-sex parenting. Openly gay Rupert Everett has reportedly been on the receiving end of hate mail and death threats after he criticized it, according to the Huffington Post.
But we cannot turn back the clock and stop gays and lesbians from adopting; if they have the money and the will, they will proceed. What we must do instead is reach the baby-makers, the women, and convince them that the adoption option is not a good choice for a happy, satisfying life. That selling your eggs and creating a child who will never know you is not good for the mental health and well-being of that individual so created. That being a surrogate for cash is creepy, and no matter how you try to sugar-coat it, it is still creepy.--lorraine
See: Judge rejects birth mother & gives custody to partner
Allison Scollar, New York Adoptive Mother, Wins Full Custody Over Birth Parent In Same-Sex Legal Battle
Related Posts from FMF:
Response to The Adoption Option
Who's the IVF Daddy? Opps, I only have a 'second parent'
High number of adoptions in the US is a national disgrace
Adoption Posters at Abortion Clinics...Why Not Truth-Counselors at Adoption Agencies? We volunteer.
Corruption in International Adoption? Highly Over-rated.
About the book above, Adoption by Lesbians and Gay Men: A New Dimension in Family Diversity? We have no comment at this time. At Amazon there are a bunch of positive blurbs from academics. We have liked a book about adoption that Brodzinsky co-authored, Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self but about this one, we only present it as an example of a trend that is already here.