As a resident and voter in Virginia, as well as an informed therapeutic foster care case manager, I encounter children who are in need of adoption on a daily basis. While the needs of these children are great, the need for potential parents who have the heart, desire, and willingness to accept a child into their home forever is greater, as there are over 1,000 youth in the foster care system in need of permanency. As I am a firm believer that all children deserve a loving, safe, and supportive home, I am not in favor of discriminating against a potential parent due to their sexual orientation, religion, race, gender, or national origin. We are essentially eliminating hundreds of willing individuals and partnered couples who cannot have children of their own, and have been diligent in their wishes to adopt a child who needs a stable home to flourish. Sexual orientation should not play a part in any state-, locality-, or private agency in the business of providing permanency to children through adoption. Sexual orientations of the minority are not "contagious", meaning that a child raised by one or two sexual minority parents will not necessarily identify as a sexual minority. Children who are raised in a lesbian or gay home routinely do better academically in school, and give back to the community. We, as citizens who want to err on the best interests of children - that is to provide a permanent, loving, and willing home to those who have not had permanency in their lives, should not prohibit members of the sexual minorities to become adoptive parents. It is almost as if the Commonwealth of Virginia is saying "NO" to people who want to donate time, money, and assistance to those in need because of the "type" of help is being offered. This is simply a ridiculous argument with no scientifc basis. I would appreciate reconsideration of this disciminatory language and prohibition of allowing perfectly wonderful parents not be able to adopt children that so desperately need a forever home to look past each others differences and let go of the fear associated with baseless conjectures as to the parenting capacity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals and couples. Please consider removing the hateful language of exclusion to allow those fit to parent, based on their overall well-being, and not based on their inherent sexual orientation.
I appreciate your extension of the public comment period that has allowed me this opportunity to voice my concerns and opinions. I am hopeful that Virginia can be on the forefront of allowing LGBT adoption to take place, thereby reducing the burden on taxpayers and helping those who need it most - the KIDS!
Angela P. Callahan, MEd, NCC