There are nearly 500,000 children in the foster care system. We think it is time to dig deep into the roots of an imperfect system. We think it is time to create lasting change for the children in our communities who need it the most. We think gay dads are the perfect partner in this work!
Here is how we think the foster care system could be reinvented:
Keep families together and care for the whole family
It's a simple concept, really. Build family. Build community. Isn't that what gay people so naturally do?
Pregnant people (and partners, if they have one) should enter into care with their children – building family with the foster care family. Yes, you heard us right – the entire family enters care. So families in crisis would enter the home of a foster family, who in turn would teach them how to be good parents, introduce them to addiction care programs, provide domestic violence support, address neglect — and so on — all while keeping the family unit together and loved as well as building family and building community around them.
Ensure all adoption agencies are open to LGBTQ families
We know there is not enough access for LGBTQ families looking to adopt, which means more children wait. In fact, only 1/5 of all agencies are LGBTQ friendly. Agencies and states unwilling to creating barrier-free access for LGBTQ families should be held accountable through legislation. It's time for bold legislation that acknowledges well-documented research, honest stories, and the inherent truth that love makes good families. It's time we step up and call out those who are keeping children from safe and stable homes.
Change the hearts and homes of the 36:1
At any given time, there are as many as 36 families waiting for every one baby who is placed for adoption. What if we could change the hearts of those 36 families by showing them the beauty in adopting older children? What if we provided families with the support and resources necessary to address their fears about handling the challenging effects abuse or neglect of older foster care children? We need to tell the stories of foster care kids in a way that makes them the humans they are — deserving and ready to be loved. We need to re-create them. Opening heart, again something gay families so naturally do.
We believe that gay dads can help solve the orphan crisis by opening people's hearts to a new way of building family and building community; choosing LGBTQ affirming agencies and lobbying on legislation that matters; and opening hearts to older kids. Want to join the fight? Contact Gays With Kids or Choice Network today for more info.
Molly Rampe Thomas is founder and CEO of Choice Network, an adoption agency that trusts people and their choices. The agency is on a mission to change the definition of family by welcoming all pregnant people, all children, all families, and all choices. Choice Network truly believes in the power of love and never backs down to fight for good. For more information, visit choicenetworkadoptions.com