|Action||Adopt new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies.|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/1/2011|
With respect to the proposed changes in adoption law, 22 VAC40-131-170, Part B, states that “The licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status.”
Historically, adoption agencies have always had criteria that sought to insure an ideal, stable situation for the child to be adopted. This meant that there were guidelines such that any couple who did not meet certain criteria because of family instability, inadequate income, advanced age, etc. were not considered for adoption. These criteria were commonly recognized as being in the best interests of the child and did not constitute “discrimination.” These standards were reasonable as well, so as to insure that the child to be adopted would have the best chance to grow up well-adjusted emotionally and with a normal upbringing, that is , with two parents—mother and father.
Research does demonstrate that having a mother and a father constitutes the best environment and provides the most advantages for a child’s optimal emotional development. Therefore, to override not only what has been commonly held to be a norm for children’s upbringing, and to try to legislate a false norm—that another type of family arrangement is of equal validity—would constitute a grave injustice, not only to the child, whose well-being would be greatly affected, but to mothers giving a child up for adoption. Traditionally, if a woman from a particular faith background wanted to have her child raised in that same tradition, she could do so. With the proposed new standard, that respect for a birth mother’s wishes would be essentially disregarded.
Moreover, if the new norm becomes law, the very ability of faith-based organizations to offer their services could come to an end in our state (as has happened in other places where social engineering has trumped the well-being of mothers and children). If so, this would fly in the face of our country’s traditions of freedom of conscience and religion, as well as those of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Therefore, I most urgently recommend that the proposed rule change exclude the words “sexual orientation” and “family status.”