Thursday, April 14, 2011

Possible Change in Virginia’s Adoption Policy

Getting to the Semantics
There is currently a movement in the state of Virginia where progressive gay and lesbian groups are urging Governor Bob McDonnell to support a proposed non-discrimination provision for the current adoption policy in Virginia. The change has to do with simple semantics. It calls for a modification of the language of the policy, which currently excludes unmarried couples from adopting. The new proposed language would prohibit delaying or denying someone the chance to adopt based on race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. This provision does nothing more than ensure that a person who seeks to adopt a child is not denied the opportunity simply because of who he or she is or what he or she believes. One positive outcome from this change is that hundreds of homes could potentially welcome children from the foster care system desperately waiting for a family.

The National Adoption Center has, for decades, been an advocate for the LGBT community and their rights to adopt. Through our proactive programs, we help spread the word to the LGBT community about their opportunities to adopt and welcome them as potential adopters. There are currently 5,000 children up for adoption in Virginia and we see the gay community there as one that widens the pool of prospective parents for these waiting children.

Governor Bob McDonnell currently not supportive of the language improvement and has until Saturday to give his official recommendation to the Social Services Board which has the final say in the matter. You can help push this provision forward by writing to Governor Bob McDonnell via his website (listed below) and urging him to lend his support. You can also visit the website for Equality Virginia, a leading gay rights group in Virginia, and send a letter to the Chair of the State Board of Social Services via a link on their homepage (link also listed below).

Equality Virginia:

http://www.equalityvirginia.org/

Write to Gov. Bob McDonnell:

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/aboutthegovernor/contactgovernor.cfm

Learn more about the National Adoption Center LGBT Initiative at:

http://www.adopt.org/assembled/lgbt_initiative.html

2 comments:

Linda said...

Seriously? How bout we end discrimination of adoptees by giving them their original birth certificates when they are 18? Our legislators need to work on THAT. Oh, and adoption is not a "right"- gay, straight or married.

Beth said...

Linda,

You are right. Advocating and putting pressure on legislators to ensure that adopted adults have access to their original birth certificates and medical records, is vital. We at the National Adoption Center believe that it is an inalienable right of all citizens, including adopted adults, to have unencumbered access to their original birth certificates. In keeping with this position, we believe that copies of both the original and the amended birth certificate should be given to the adoptive family at the time of finalization.

It sounds like you have been personally affected by this issue. Have you been involved in any efforts advocating for open records? If so, could you share some of these experiences?