As an adopted person myself, I know how much a difference being raised in a stable, two-parent home can make on an individual when they’re a child. All I need do is point out the difference between the home in which I was raised and the home in which my other two biological siblings were raised. We found each other when we were in our jmid-30s, by the way, and our lives couldn’t have turned out more opposite. I attribute that to the type of homes in which we were raised.
My siblings, though raised together with each other (unlike me, who was adopted by a different family) were not raised in a traditional two-parent home. I was. I grew up to be a loving, caring, responsible member of society. My siblings did not. Even into their 50s, they’ve never had good interpersonal relationships with others, both experienced divorce and a series of bad relationships, lack trust, delved heavily into substance abuse, and the list goes on.
As a 20 year teaching veteran, I can say I’ve also seen the same pattern repeated over and over again with the thousands of students who I taught over the course of my career Overwhelmingly so, children who were raised in stable, traditional, two-parent homes have fared much better overall than those who were not raised in such a home.
Children who are placed in a family situation that best reflects a natural family unit (one having both a mother and a father), have benefited the most from that type of home situation. To be sure, there are some who will argue otherwise, but again, I need to point out that I’ve seen the difference in the children myself, countless times, over and over again. Thus, I firmly believe that if the regulations are changed to allow prospective parents who don’t represent traditional family units (again, that means a father and a mother), it will NOT serve to be in the best interest of the children – rather, it will work against their best interest.
Still, even if the regulations ultimately are changed to allow non-traditional family placement, then I implore you not to eliminate faith-based placement agencies from being able to serve as agents in the adoption process and, at the very least, not to force them to abide by regulations that violate the religious beliefs of those who run those agencies, nor those who choose to use them as their placement agency of choice. Federal and state laws already protect such placement agencies from religious discrimination, so please continue to allow them to make decisions that are consistent with their religious beliefs – including their beliefs about marriage and family life. This right MUST be respected and preserved.
If faith-based agencies and their clients are forced to choose between following their own values or following the proposed discriminatory regulation, that would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in Virginia. Faith-based agencies provide vital services to our communities. Therefore, they must be allowed to continue the great work they are doing.