Early in my Journal, I wrote often about our adoption process. When I made my first post, we were a week away from submitting our application, and we're just now getting our seminar scheduled before we move on to our home study, so it's been on my mind often. We're in a little bit of a waiting phase, but something else has brought my attention strongly back to the subject.
While discussing Prop 8 and DOMA with friends, one of the age-old arguments against homosexuality was brought up. It centers around the idea of an "unproductive" relationship, one that doesn't procreate. Of course, the argument states that the reason for romantic relationships is procreation through sex, and a homosexual relationship has no chance of reaching this goal. There are plenty of rebuttals to this argument, some involving an "overpopulated" planet, or at least one where humans aren't struggling to survive as a species anymore. Others boil the issue down to biological processes, that while those processes evolved to meet the needs of a growing species, "survival of the fittest" is no longer a significant factor in human survival.
Either side may be logically correct here, but it's something else entirely that cuts to my core. If a homosexual marriage is wrong just because they procreate, then how can my marriage be right?
I've told the story before, but in short, I have a fertility issue. My wife would probably tell you that "we" have a fertility issue, but according to the medical tests it's all on me. Something went wrong to the point where I have little-to-no chance of becoming a biological father. Sure, we could spend tens of thousands of dollars to let the doctor try to help, but even that would put us against tough odds. When it comes down to it, I am the causing factor of an "unproductive" marriage.
In the older days (even currently, to an extent), there was an assumption that women were the cause of all fertility issues. It's unfortunate and unfair. In the early days of the bible, stories were told about the Father of Nations sleeping with his wife's maid (on his wife's suggestion), because he hadn't conceived a child with his wife. Even Hebrew kings often had multiple wives, and the ones who didn't bear children were usually disgraced. The more medicine has explored the world of infertility, the more we've understood that the issue isn't gender specific at all! In fact, the current estimates indicate that about 1/3 of infertility is caused by the male, 1/3 by the female, and 1/3 by a joint issue.
In my infertility journey, I've come to empathize with the women who have taken the short end of this stick over the ages. First of all, I don't agree with placing blame on people for their medical issues, but more importantly, I hate that women have taken near 100% of the "blame" when only 1/3 of the time it was actually their "fault!" I'm amazed at the character of women, who sat quietly submissive, showing themselves as the bigger person over and over again while the world put them down. It adds a new level of respect for the gender as a whole.
Now, I see my struggle with infertility projected on the gay community. People proclaiming that because they can't have a biological child with the love of their life, their relationship is unimportant. Irrelevant. Wrong.
During our pursuits of adoption, we've taken interest in the adoption stories of others. Some of these involve same-sex adoptive parents. We've learned that our adoption agency, and many other faith based agencies, do not accept same-sex couples into their program. Maybe they see this issue similar to adopting out to active alcoholics or drug users, or maybe something like adopting out to a couple in which one spouse is always in and out of prison. They view any of these as a lifestyle of sin, and they decide it isn't a healthy place to raise a child. But there's a problem with this perspective.
These other issues keep a parent from spending quality time with their child, or even put the child in harm's way. Abusive alcoholics may cause harm to their child. Drug addicts can lose their sobriety and become neglectful. An imprisoned parent won't have time to spend with their child. But being gay doesn't reduce the effectiveness of a parent, does it?
For the sake of argument, let's just assume that it is a sin (see previous posts for my opinion on this subject). Any parent is imperfect. I know I have my flaws, and I shudder to think that my flaws will somehow rub off on my children. But I know they will, because that's part of parenting. I can try to be perfect every day, but my bad habits, my screw ups, and my bad days will be noticed by my kids, and they will cause my children some amount of pain. Unfortunately, this is true for every parent in the world.
So how do you choose who is good enough? Do you draw a line in the sand and exclude anyone who crosses it? Or do you write in the sand as Jesus did, standing up for people like me, screw ups and all?
From my experiences, I believe that any couple who is willing to spend the time, money, and emotional energy to pursue adoption will be an amazing parent regardless of their flaws. We will remember the sacrifices we made to become a parent. We will remember the months, even years, of waiting for all the puzzle pieces to fall into place. We will remember the nights we cried, because that child was not yet in our arms. And more days than not, we will channel those memories into the well being of our children.
Yet the line in the sand causes so many same-sex couples pursue adoption with a lawyer instead of an agency. It's harder, the wait is longer, and the finances are much riskier, but it's the only way to reach their dreams. We push these people aside, making them fend for themselves as they pursue their dreams. And we do it all because of who they love.
As the causing member of an "unproductive" marriage, this hurts me. And I hope it changes soon.
Always moving forward,