Topic: Should homosexual partners adopt?
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The most recent United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data reveals a total of 132 million orphans worldwide, 13 million of which have lost both parents. Many more children live in poverty abject enough to spawn child labor systems, with 168 million children worldwide—almost 11 percent of all children around the world—as child laborers (Worldwide Children’s Statistics, 2016). Given these alarming statistics, adoption should widely be promoted as an alternative to surrogacy, artificial insemination, fertility drugs, or even natural childbirth. Homosexual couples, both gays and lesbians, who want to start families need to look more closely at their adoption opportunities. Adoption can be framed as a moral obligation for gay and lesbian couples because of the global humanitarian need to alleviate childhood suffering. However, there are other logical reasons gay and lesbian couples should adopt. One is the fact that starting a family can be rewarding, offering the opportunity for parents and children alike to form close and meaningful personal relationships. Another is the ability for gay and lesbian couples to create a family legacy, without which they may end up giving their money to charity or to secondary relatives. There may also be some clear benefits to opting for adoption over alternative means of child rearing including artificial insemination and surrogacy. For example, some employers and some states offer tax credits for parents who adopt. Given the wide range of benefits to adoption, it is recommended that homosexual couples adopt.
For a gay or lesbian couple, adopting can in many ways be more rewarding, psychologically and socially satisfying than alternative child rearing or family planning options. Many homosexual couples use methods like artificial insemination or surrogacy, both of which offer the opportunity for at least one member of the family to pass on his or her DNA and create a biological child. Not all people need or want to propagate their own DNA through biological childbirth, but those who wish to do so can enhance their family through the introduction of an adopted member. The world is already overpopulated, and with 132 million orphans worldwide, the number of unwanted children—the vast majority of which live in abject poverty—is astounding (UNICEF, 2015). The only way to alleviate the suffering of unwanted children is to ensure that adoption is globally available and widely promoted as an alternative to other forms of family planning. Even heterosexual couples should be adopting in addition to practicing natural childbirth, whenever possible. Adoption is a humanitarian service. Even profit-driven family planning services that provide invitro fertilization and surrogacy say “adoption is also a great choice for both lesbians and gay men,” (Attain Fertility, 2016). Presented as an ethical duty, adoption encourages each person, gay or straight, to play his or her part in alleviating the suffering of children around the world.
Adoption provides the opportunity to form lifelong social bonds, with subsequent benefits for end-of-life caregiving for homosexual couples. A gay or lesbian couple that does not adopt or start a family in another way may face end-of-life fears, related to their not having children to care for their needs in their senior years. Although childrearing should not be viewed as a utilitarian proposition alone, the utility of children cannot be overlooked or underestimated. With an adopted child, a gay or lesbian couple can create opportunities for future financial security, while also providing for an heir. Without adopting or having children, a homosexual couple might lack end-of-life security, which could be especially traumatic if one spouse were to die. Children provide many lifelong caregiving needs to their parents, whether their parents are gay or straight. Raising a child does not guarantee the possibility of avoiding a nursing home, but it does increase the chances that a person or both members of the couple will be cared for in their elder years. Other social benefits of adopting include the fact that many people like children, and not having children might end up isolating the couple from their friends who have started families. Having children is widely considered a natural stage in life for adults, although children are not for everyone. Adoption should still be taken as seriously as natural childbirth for all couples, which is why adoption agencies do tend to screen their couples well before adoption.
Adoption offers psychological benefits for all homosexual couples, such as the personal satisfaction of child rearing and the life lessons learned from raising a child. Especially when the child is from a different cultural background or who has already established a mother tongue, homosexual couples who adopt expand their cross-cultural awareness and that of their communities too. Gay and lesbian couples who adopt from international agencies have the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural communication throughout their lives, which may inspire their friends to do the same. The adoption process brings together couples from around the world to engage in community service, as when a couple adopts they may also forge bonds with orphanages and other organizations in developing countries. Even when the adoption takes place domestically, from a child pool in an industrialized nation, the couple raising the child benefits from the life lessons that can only be learned through parenting.
Given the clear psychological, financial, social, and ethical benefits of adoption, gay and lesbian couples should adopt if they are already considering raising a family. Their having children will help them form lasting social relationships, not only with the child and his or her siblings and community of origin, but also with members of their local community who also have children. Adopting might help a homosexual couple achieve serenity in their later years, instead of worrying about who will take care of them. Finally, adoption is a genuine need because of the number of poor and unwanted children around the world.
Attain Fertility (2016). Retrieved online: http://attainfertility.com/topic/treatments-options-lgbt-procedures
UNICEF (2015). Orphans. Retrieved online: https://www.unicef.org/media/media_45279.html
Worldwide Children’s Statistics (2016). Worldwide children statistics. Retrieved online: http://www.sos-usa.org/our-impact/childrens-statistics