Monday, October 18, 2010

The journey they all took was different from one another – the underlying stories ….all the same.

I had the privilege to attend a workshop over the weekend at the Philadelphia Family Pride conference called Family Matters! A Conference for LGBTQ Families, Friends and Allies. The workshop, Adoption Options, featured a fantastic panel of parents and experts who answered questions and told their adoption stories.

One panelist adopted from treatment foster care, one adopted boys from Guatemala, there were open adoptions, closed adoptions, inter-state adoptions, and local foster to adopt adoptions.

Each adoptive parent on the panel was gay or lesbian. Each offered a unique perspective. Each came from a different family history. Each experienced a different adoption journey. But the thread that was consistent throughout each story was the tangibly fierce love, commitment and belief that their children came to them and they to their children, for a reason and the deep desire to become parents.

Many of the experiences that the panelists talked about; the need of the adopted child to understand where they came from in a sensitive, honest and truthful manner, initial attachment issues, and the frustration around the adoption process were issues that any adoptive parent may encounter.

Other experiences and issues that the panelists talked about; questions around which adoption agencies are LGBTQ friendly, how to decide if the long wait to be placed with a child was about their sexuality or just a normal part of the process, or laws around second parent adoption – these were specific to the LGBTQ prospective adoptive parent.

The workshop allowed us to hear different adoption scenarios, learn about support services and resources, busted many myths and allowed participants to network with those that went through the process.

One left feeling inspired, as well as understanding that a lot more work needs to be done to provide quality, supportive, LGBTQ friendly adoption services to our community.

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