Saturday, December 01, 2007

Freddie Mac hosts adoption expo in Washington DC

Today, Dec 1, 2007 (also World AIDS day), Freddie Mac sponsored a brief (4 hour) Adoption Expo at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 11th and H Sts. NW in downtown Washington DC. The link is this.

Many organizations were present. These included Lutheran Social Services, the Dave Thomas Foundation, ThinkingofAdopting, Adoptions Together, the Barker Foundation. The free event seemed to be heavily attended.

Most materials were free, including copies of “The Pumpkin Patch: A Single Woman’s International Adoption Journey” by Margaret L. Schwartz. (One illustrated booklet, however, was $14.95 when it looked free at first glance.) Most of the handouts presented basic information about social services agencies and the “Homestudy,” which is a self-description followed by a thorough background investigation of the applicant and his or her (and the family’s) home environment. Most of them discussed the “family” as if were assumed and understood. Few of them discussed single applicants.

However, Lutheran Social Services indicated that it welcomes qualified single applicants, and the article in the 2007-2008 magazine “Adoption Guide” (free at the expo, but normally $14.95) “What’s new in adoption?” by Susan Freivalds indicates that 60% of agencies accept applications from GLBT applicants and 40% (in a 2004 survey) indicated that they had placed children in GLBT households. Most states allow adoption by single gay parents, and only a few will give both partners full parental rights. Florida still prohibits gay adoptions, a policy that the Supreme Court upheld in 2005. In some cities, like Minneapolis, social service agencies have advertised aggressively for single applicants.

The media constantly reports on the need for foster and adoptive parents. A good example is the NBC4 series “Wednesday’s Child.” Usually the topic is presented with an appeal to emotion, and assumes that most adults really want to become parents, and not everyone is able to. Sometimes the issue takes on such earnestness that there is a suggestion that parenthood is a moral obligation of adulthood and of equal citizenship. Until a few decades ago, most people did not question that. The capability to adopt has come to be perceived as part of the fight for gay equality in some quarters: equal rights == equal responsibilities.

Update: On Dec 5, the NBC Today show had a segment on older people adopting. It presented a career woman in her forties (there was no mention of a husband). It discussed international and domestic adoption, and mentioned a program for "hosting" overseas children, possibly leading to adoption. It mentioned the need for older foster children and teens to be adopted. It said "the child adopts the parent."

The Washington Post, on Nov. 28, 2007, had a second paid insert from Russia with a big story about adoption in Russia.

Picture below: Bus stop seat ad in Minneapolis (2003) in the Uptown area. Note that single parents are OK in Minnesota.

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